The media loves to tell us how to “be happy,” and the solution usually has something to do with a new car, a new lipstick, a new pair of shoes … a stick of gum? Doesn’t matter, as long as it sells! I’m happy to report that things are changing in the media’s messages, maybe too slowly for some of us. But you’re beginning to see ads (even Super Bowl commercials!) that show more respect for us as informed consumers who know there’s no “magic bullet” to finding happiness, and that deep relationships and experiences are more important than fads.
At the Little White Lie Movement, we talk about the “inner game” of beauty, age, success, and happiness — and we’re asking the question: “How can I make happiness my go-to, everyday state of being?”
So of course I would invite Mark Jaffe, author of the popular book Suitcase of Happyness to talk with us on my Little White Lie FB Live Show.
You can watch the full episode here:
Mark is a former Senior Executive at the Walt Disney Company where he spent many, many years creating happy moments. At a young age he realized that his happiest life was not something out of reach. He studied, observed, cultivated, and now enjoys an enduring happiness, and shares his insights with us.
Mark: “Everybody says happiness is so fleeting. Why can’t I have more moments of happiness? The truth is, happiness is a go-to state, that you actually can have a state of being that is happy. Now, granted, of course there are moments of unhappiness. There are tragedies — we’ve all had them in our lives.” But when we’re in the state-of-being of happiness, we’re able to look forward and back from those times and genuinely say, I am a happy person.
So, how does someone get started on this journey to happiness?
1. Say YES more often
Mark believes the “simplest, easiest way to find happiness is to try to say ‘yes’ more often.” How many times do we have opportunities and we choose to say no, for whatever reason? And, Mark adds, “How many times have you unexpectedly gone down a different way back from work or from home, and you discovered a cute bakery, or saw kids playing in the park and it brought a smile to your face? Say ‘yes’ to something different. Say ‘yes’ to your partner more often. You don’t know the happiness that will be on the other side of that word ‘yes’!’”
2. Show gratitude — “Bottle” happy moments
Mark: “Gratitude is such a powerful part of happiness. In the roots of happiness is gratitude for that happiness. The more grateful you are for what you have, the more you realize that you have.” He shared a wonderful lesson learned as a child from his mom: “We would go hiking a lot as a family. My mom would all of a sudden stop us on the trail, and she’d say, ‘Mark, bottle it!’ Which meant, bottle that moment! Bottle the smell of the pine trees. Bottle the vista over that next ridge. When you stop and bottle it, something happens. You stop and express gratitude for being in this moment, at this time, in this place. That memory crystallizes and it’s something you can always go back to and smile.”
3. Move from negative to positive with the power of acceptance
Of course, life can’t always be a happy experience. We all have tragic events, limitations, challenges that stop us in our tracks and make it hard to see the positive. What can we do to shift into a positive, happy place again?
Mark suggests something he learned after a tragic event in his own life — the power of acceptance. “By accepting those limitations, we give ourselves permission to be happy with what is not limited,” says Mark. What if we lost something precious like our sight or hearing? “It’s hard to imagine how we could be happy without sight. But there are millions of people that don’t have sight who are incredibly happy. How is that possible? It’s possible because they’ve accepted the limitation they have and embraced those things that are not limited.”
Of course, it’s easier said than done — we’re not promising “magic bullets.” It took him many months to get past the tragedy he experienced, but accepting what happened was the first step in giving himself permission to be happy again.
4. What you focus on, you find — and make it meaningful
Mark believes that what you focus on, you find. If you’re focused on seeing happy moments then you will find them. And the opposite is also true — You make the choice.
Perhaps it was no accident that the first half of Mark’s career at Disney was dedicated to the happiness of children! Choosing to focus on what makes you happy also leads to another aspect of happiness — the search for meaning, your legacy. To Mark, legacy means “the people we touch and those that they touch in turn who are in some way affected by the impact that we had. Our impact outlives our name…”
5. Embrace the simple moments
Another step on the happiness journey is embracing the magic of simplicity. Mark says: “What a joy it was this morning when I woke up with my window open and a cool breeze literally bathed my face. It was such a simple, nothing moment — yet it framed my entire day. How often do we let those little moments just go away and we don’t appreciate them? Right now, look out your window. It’s probably amazing. There’s something interesting out there … There are so many little things you could do to engage your senses and appreciate the present moment in which you’re sitting.”
Aaaaaah, doesn’t it feel good just to read that — thank you, Mark Jaffe!
OK, Little White Liars, How can you make happiness YOUR go-to, everyday state of being? Share your thoughts with the Little White Lie Movement community. Get in on the conversation that’s happening all over the country and beyond!
How to do it:
1) Answer the question or comment below.
2) Join our email list at www.TheLittleWhiteLie.com. On the site you can learn more about what our Little White Lies are and how we can embrace our authentic selves. Also, we have some big plans for this movement that I guarantee you’ll want to know about. (You can unsubscribe anytime but I bet you won’t want to!)
3) Share your thoughts on Facebook and of course, don’t forget to use the hashtag #LittleWhiteLie.
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