TED Conversations

Henry Woeltjen

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Are you happy?

Are you happy with your life? Do you think all of your hopes and dreams will come true eventually?

What are your goals in life? Do you even have goals?

Who are you, and who would you like to become?

Are you experiencing road blocks? What are they? How do you plan on overcoming them?

Discuss!

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    Jun 14 2013: "Better to travel hopefully than to arrive" (R L Stevenson)
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    Jun 16 2013: I'm happy most of the time, but every now and then I get quite depressed.
    I'm happy with my thoughts, who I am, but not my place in life, what I am.
    My dreams and hopes are way to many and too big for me to see them come true, I've lowered (yes lowered) my personal hopes and dreams that I may see happen to achieving world peace and being a part of that.

    I don't know my goals yet, every time I've made a life plan some information or opportunity has presented itself that seemed better, so I follow that until I find something better. I guess my general goal is to do good for humanity and our planet, to expand the human knowledge and alleviate the suffering of the poor. But the way in which to do this best has still eluded me.

    I'm Jimmy Strobl, the way I am is best described by the name I carry. But you'll have to know who I am in order to understand what my name means... I'd like to become Jimmy Strobl 2.0 and then 3.0 and so on.

    Road blocks are everywhere, since I want to "save the world" in the most general term everything is a roadblock. The current political model that most nations have is perhaps on of the biggest hindrances as I see it.
    I'm spreading the knowledge of an alternative system for politics, when enough people know and agree most of those road blocks will be overcome.
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      Jun 16 2013: Jimmy,

      I read your posts all over TED. I love your insights and general perspective on everything. I like the idea of Jimmy 2.0 and Jimmy 3.0. Growth is the cornerstone of fulfillment.

      I think you are intelligent enough to accomplish anything you dream about. You may not see it that way now. However, I can guarantee that perspective changes as you accomplish more and more.

      You want to spread knowledge of an alternative system for politics. That's your goal. Now you just need to structure smaller goals around that to support it.

      I think you will do great things. It's all a matter of time. When you become famous remember to send me an autograph.
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        Jun 16 2013: Thank you so much Henry, it's nice to be appreciated.

        I have many smaller goals concerning this, I just didn't add them here. Having a Conversation about it is one thing I'm doing right now. And I'm gathering support for this here at home among other things.

        And thanks for the confidence on me being able to do anything I put my mind to, I feel the same way. I have no problem with my self-esteem, I actually have a bit of hubris at times.

        For now I'll just continue being me.

        And you'll be the first to get one whenever you feel that I'm famous enough ;-)
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      Jun 17 2013: Henry and Jimmy,
      Hey guys, I just want to say I appreciate both of you, the explorations you are doing within yourselves and with all of us. It creates joy in my heart to see young people exploring life as you guys are doing.....thanks:>)
      Hope I don't offend you by calling you "young", but to me, almost EVERYONE is young.....LOL.....it's all a matter of where we are with the age number!

      I'm maxed out on thumbs for you Henry....I'll catch up again when it is allowed:>)
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    Jun 15 2013: I choose to be always happy, no matter what.
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      Jun 15 2013: I wholeheartedly agree Adesh....it is indeed a choice. There are several TED speakers who reinforce this well known belief. I don't know why some folks are unaware of it!
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        Jun 16 2013: Eyes see the things but mind do not register them.
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          Jun 17 2013: So true Adesh:>)

          "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes..."
          (Proust)
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    Jun 15 2013: Even if you are not happy

    pretend to be happy

    It becomes your habbit .

    Than it becomes your character.
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      Jun 15 2013: Adesh,

      Very good point Adesh. It's hard to pretend at times, but I definitely agree with your logic. If you want to travel along a path towards happiness you must begin walking in that direction. You cannot reach a destination by wishing you were there.
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      Jun 15 2013: Adesh and Henry,

      As this wise man says....fake it 'till you make it!

      http://www.ted.com/talks/swami_dayananda_saraswati.html

      Happiness/contentment is a feeling which needs to be practiced. It's not likely that we can think it, and immediately experience unlimited happiness/contentment. It is a practice....or not....as we choose:>)

      Well said Henry....I like that....
      "If you want to travel along a path towards happiness you must begin walking in that direction. You cannot reach a destination by wishing you were there."

      I will add..
      Happiness is a way of travel, not just a destination.
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    Jun 15 2013: yes, I'm pretty happy. I just noticed you mixed several substantial questions together here, Henry. Well, I think some happiness comes from being assertive, pro-active, if you have a problem stand up to it and try to fix it. As an example, when I lived in L.A. I would occasionally while out walking come upon people spraying graffiti on walls. Most people would walk on by, I think, but if it felt safe, I would ask them to stop doing it, point out that they are making the community ugly. I can't say any of them ever stopped, but I felt good at least trying.
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      Jun 15 2013: Greg,

      Most people don't take action like you. It's a great feeling to stand up for what you believe in. Just be careful Greg.
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        Jun 15 2013: Yes, I encourage people to take action, it feels good. Yes, one should be careful, a couple of people have been killed here in Los Angeles for asking taggers to stop spraying graffiti. Possibly they were killed at nighttime, whereas in my case it was always during the day that I spoke to people.

        There are many things you can do to be safer if you were to speak to taggers. One is to check their dress, demeanor, grooming. How do you feel about these people, do they feel approachable, or too dangerous? Do they have any bulges in their pockets that might be weapons? I watch their hands when I speak to them, do their hands seem to be sneaking into a pocket to get a weapon? I stand a distance off, and I give them an escape route, in other words they may feel pinned in by me and do something crazy, so I want to give them some room to get away if they want to. It still is a little risky, but also gratifying.

        You can learn from these encounters how taggers think. For example I said to one "you know you're making the community uglier, don't you?" He said "I know." So will you stop? "No."

        Another one chased me down the sidewalk with his spray can, although not spraying paint. I see some humor in that scene.
  • Jun 15 2013: Henry,
    at this moment, I'd say I am.

    I've been through the ringer, many of us have been, or are going through it right now... Personally, I needed that experience to appreciate what I have, and who I am. I needed to hit rock bottom before I could find the strength I didn't even know I had, to climb out of it. It's bizarre, how you can really kid yourself sometimes. In retrospect, I was living an unauthentic life, and I feel I have found a way now to genuinely be who I am.

    We often ask each other: Hey, how are you? When, we don't expect (or even want) an answer. It's become a sort of salutation, instead of a question. This bothers me to no end. When we ask how we are, we are asking how we're feeling, it can be confronting, so it has become a rhetorical question, one that doesn't require an answer.
    Here in Holland, it's a different story. When you ask someone here how they're doing, man, they tell you! Whether you want to hear it or not! But that sincerity is refreshing, and more often than not, it provides a deeper sense of communication.

    I'd like to become exactly who I was when I was 5, when I was 11, when I was 22... Essentially, I don't think we change all that much. Road blocks to me, are now 'cross roads'. I don't see obstacles anymore, I see opportunities. But it took me a long time to get here, and I've still got a long way to go.
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      Jun 15 2013: Lizanne,

      I always love reading your posts. I think you are an amazing individual, full of compassion and intelligence. It takes time to build character. I am 30 and still have no idea who I am. Eventually I will figure everything out. For now I try to hold my little boat together as the storms come in. Even if I am left with a strip of wood to float on...I will never quit.
      • Jun 15 2013: Henry, I agree, I think it takes a lifetime to build character... but you know, I also think it's all in there the minute we're born. It all just needs time to come out.

        For some reason, I thought you were much older! Wise beyond your years, apparently... and I'm glad, because I can call you 'sonny'!! ;)
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      Jun 15 2013: Lizanne Hi again. Just wanted to say I sure wish you were my neighbor so we could have coffee in the morning and I could pick your brain. I love the way you think and give advice and want you to know it makes a difference! Amy
      • Jun 15 2013: Me too, Amy!
        That's the great thing about TED. Here's a place where minds are non-judgmental, helpful and literally brimming over with empathy!
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      Jun 15 2013: Well said.
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      Jun 15 2013: LaMar and Henry,
      It is well said. One statement I do not agree with is..."...like most people I have good days and bad days!"

      I haven't noticed that "most people" label days as good and bad, and I personally do not do that. A day, is simply a day.....some with more joy.....some with more challenges....and it is not the day that is good or bad, but rather our perception of the day and how it unfolds for us?

      I accept life challenges, just as I accept joy and beauty, and it seems like a self fullfilling prophecy to label a day one or the other. We may wake up in the morning and think.....this is going to be a bad day because such and such a thing is happening today. With that, we program our mind to see everything we experience that day through that lense.

      We may wake up and think.....this is going to be a good day because of something special. What happens when there are challenges that interupt our "good day"? We may get disappointed?

      I like what you say LaMar about being in the present moment.....one day at a time.....one moment at a time, without labels. For me, that leaves the day open and unlimited to evolve with a curious mind and heart:>)
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          Jun 15 2013: I respect that it may be your normal LaMar, it is not my normal. I do not label feelings "good" or "bad", while fully experiencing and expressing ALL feelings.

          Looks like you jumped on the bandwagon of the folks who want to label me passive aggressive....LOL:>)

          I totally agree..."
          "Learning to accept your own human emotional response and recognizing that these things are just an short term event in life and not catastrophize it into something bigger is part of maturity." That is EXACTLY why I do not need to label days good and bad:>)
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          Jun 15 2013: Some people do suffer catastrophic and traumatic events as well and feel the pain and loss intensely. Some have such empathy that, even if they are not the ones immediately affected by the trauma, they suffer from it that day and in subsequent days.

          These are examples of what many people would label a "bad day." The label is not meant to suggest there would not be learning from these traumatic events or that the day didn't go well, lightly, or cheerfully for others.
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          Jun 15 2013: Fritzie,
          I agree that we (humans) experience catastrophic and traumatic events and feel pain and loss intensely. Feeling emotions intensly, at a very deep level, does not make a day good or bad for me, and I know many other people share this perception. I focus on the learning as I feel deeply. It is just another way of "being"....neither good/bad.....right or wrong.
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          Jun 15 2013: Not a "lot" of people saying it LaMar....just a couple people here on TED say it when I do not agree with them. I have looked very carefully at it, because I evaluate all feedback, and I also pay attention to the source.

          I was/am simply expressing my belief about labeling a day good or bad. Neither of our opinions is "good" or "bad".....they are simply individual perceptions/opinions. You apparently have YOUR perspective, and I have MY perspective....equally as valuable in my perception:>)
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        Jun 16 2013: For what it's worth, I do not see how the description "passive-aggressive" applies to you, based on my limited understanding of the term, or how anyone could even tell. In any case, I am sure you don't worry about long-distance diagnoses!
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          Jun 16 2013: It's worth a lot Fritzie.....I appreciate all kinds of feedback. Passive aggressive does not apply to me. It is only used by a couple people when I do not agree with them, so it's very obviously a projection on their part, and it does not appear that they even have an understanding of the term.

          Right Fritzie....I don't worry about the long-distance diagnoses....I find it amusing:>) One good thing about my head injury, is that because I lived, and function at a high level, which surprised the medical professionals, I was the subject of a LOT of cognitive and psychological testing at the medical center/university where I was a patient.

          Starting from a couple weeks after regaining consciousness, throughout many stages of the recovery process, I was constantly tested, probably more than any "normal" human in a lifetime. The tests continued to indicate high average/superior, and I often asked....."how the heck did THAT happen???" LOL

          I have all my very extensive test results, so when someone tries to give me a mental/psychological label, I see it as a projection of their own insecurity. Then these folks tell me I'm in "denial". It is amusing that this ONLY happens when I am disagreeing. As long as I agree with them I guess I am mentally ok!!! :>)
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      Jun 14 2013: In order to progress you have to step outside your comfort zone. If you are not prepared to do that, you can bet life will stay the same. If you want to continue getting what your getting, continue doing what your doing. If you want something different you need to change the way you see things.

      It does not matter how much you messed up. A solution exists. You may be missing it at the moment. However, the great thing about life is we can choose our path. That does not mean it will be easy, and you may have to step outside your comfort zone, but you can achieve anything you are passionate enough pursue.

      I realize all of that does not help much. So let me give you some steps that help me.

      1. Put the problem inside of a box, in your head.

      [Problem]

      Now analyze the problem. Ask yourself a few questions.

      1. How does it impact me?
      2. Do I have any options that I know of?
      3. Do I need to research options?
      4. What can I do, right now, to progress towards a better state?

      You seriously have to take a step back and analyze your situation objectively. Do not let yourself sit around and pity yourself. Stand up, dust yourself off, and start moving towards your goals.

      You need goals. Goals are important because without them you have no direction. You need short and long-term goals. Actually write them down. I know that probably sounds corny. However, I bet if you started writing down goals and to-do lists centered around those goals, you would change everything.
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          Jun 14 2013: ZX,
          Do you think it helps to focus on what you "should have done"? You've heard of hindsight? We all have better information once we have experienced something. We can use the information to "should" on ourselves.......or.......we can learn from the experience and move on....it's a choice:>)
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          Jun 14 2013: ZX,

          This is not just good for one problem. Let's face it, most of us have multiple problems that plague us daily. The real challenge is managing these problems at the same time.

          I have been through quite a bit in my life. I wont go into details, but I can tell you that I am not just speaking in parables. These are things I have learned over time.

          1. The universe is a cause & effect environment.

          Your actions have direct impacts on the state you are in. Knowing that, we can also state with confidence that we should be able to change our current state by acting on variables around us.

          2. Some of us do not understand what our problems are.

          [No Money] [No Companion] [Career Confusion]

          Writing it down like this is not helpful. It doesn't really give you an idea of what the problem is. The box model only works if you have an in-depth understanding of what issues plague you.

          Let's take a look at [No Money]. The box itself is only labeled [No Money] because that is the impact it has on your life.

          [No Money]
          - [Debt]
          - [Negative Living Conditions]
          - [Addiction]
          - [Depression]

          It's important to understand that your "problem boxes" contain even smaller boxes that make it very difficult to decipher what the real issues are.

          Even one problem, as you stated, is actually a multitude of smaller problems that we may need to confront. We cannot move forward with general ideas like "I want more money" or "I want a better lifestyle". It's like saying "I wish upon a star" and doing nothing to bring that dream into fruition.

          In order to move forward, even under the pressure of multiple problems, you must dissect the problems you have and take steps to solve each of them individually.

          If you cannot do that I can promise you nothing will change in your life. Get a piece of paper and a pen. Begin writing all of your problems out. What do you not like about your life?

          Then, you need to take each of those problems and analyze them individually.
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      Jun 14 2013: ZX Style,
      You KNOW you need to step out of your comfort zone to create something different in your life, and that is a HUGE step, in my humble perception...give yourself credit for that my friend:>)

      Dreams, wishes, goals....you don't have to know in every single moment if you like something more "as a dream or as reality". Try it....explore it....whatever "it" is. Many people like to "know" everything. I like being in a state of not knowing because there are no limitations....the unknown can be the most powerful, unlimited feeling.....really.....it can.

      The life adventure is an exploration. You say..."shortcomings seem to rule my life right now". First of all, you have to label something as a "shortcoming", and second, you would have to give up your ability to choose thoughts and feelings to allow shortcomings to rule your life.......make any sense?

      I'm wondering.....are you running "away" from something by participating on TED? Or maybe you are running TO something? It's all a matter of perception my friend:>)
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          Jun 14 2013: ZX,
          There ARE good people around, and you are one:>)

          There are many times in my life, when I realize something, discovered new information, etc., when I thought.....why didn't I know that before?

          We do not recognize or discover information until we are ready, and sometimes, it takes a very challenging situation to "alert" us to certain information. Blame serves no useful purpose in my perception.

          YOU are the only one who knows your "self", and with exploration, you will discover what those "blockages" may be. It's important to be kind and patient with your "self".

          I do not perceive a "single solution" to any challenge. As I said....it is an exploration. To find our solutions, is a constant exploration. Believe in yourself, and your ability to find solutions. In my perception, ALL challenges are part of the life adventure.
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      Jun 15 2013: As it is difficult to help in an abstract way, ZX, I encourage you to talk things through with someone offline whom you trust. From your participation here, you seem to be a very decent person, so you have good prospects to lead a fulfilling life in many ways.

      Because you are young (as I recall, about the age of my eldest child), messing up this year may seem like it was a huge set-back, but many if not most of us in our lives try lots of things that don't work. Later on, they don't loom so large in the big story arc.

      If your mess-up means you missed an opportunity, there will be others. If you hurt someone you love, you can try to make amends. Intentions do matter.

      You mention having a to-do list and not completing it. Maybe you have too much stuff on it at once. Why not pick out a couple of big, important things to chip away at every day but a few easier things that you can complete on a regular basis to get that sense of having finished something? For example, a painter working on a big painting often has smaller things on an easel as well. I know painters who have a habit of making a very small daily sketch or painting and poets who do a daily poem, just to have something they finish while they move along more difficult or risky projects at a slower pace.

      Maybe at the end of each day or week jotting down a few things, large or small, that you accomplished or did that you are pleased to have done would place the spot light more on what is going right rather than on what has not yet happened. Count stuff like Drew Dudley includes in his TED Talk.
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        Jun 15 2013: Great point here "If your mess-up means you missed an opportunity, there will be others." I think this applies to much more than opportunities. Even if you mess-up by getting in trouble, you can bet a chance to redeem yourself will arise in time.

        Enjoyed reading your post, as always.
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    Jun 14 2013: Very interesting question Henry.
    Interesting because my answer to your first question is in the affirmative despite:
    1. I don't think all my hopes and dreams will come true eventually.
    2. Goals in my life keep changing every now and then. I do have goals.
    3. I am a human being and I would like to be one who left the least footprint on exit.
    4. Oh, I am seeing several road blocks. Life is boring without them. Time is my principle road block, I am running out of it. I plan to overcome it by passing on my dream and unfinished work to my son and people who are interested.

    I hope you can see that I have no reason to be happy. Yet, I am.
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      Jun 14 2013: I would check out Randy Pausch's lecture on time management. Great lecture by a great man. That is something I struggle with as well.

      I find it difficult to get anything done when I burden myself with so many issues that do not belong to me. It is frustrating. Do you have daily to-do lists or schedules?
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        Jun 16 2013: Yes I have. But I don't beat me up if I fail to do the jobs some day.
        I think the DNA of happiness is detached engagement. Like pretend play by kids.
  • Jun 20 2013: My idea is being satisfied with what you have and optimistic to what you want to achieve, then you will always be happy. Do your best to reach your goal, then you will be happy regardless of success of failure.
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      Jun 20 2013: Bart,

      You summed things up quite nicely here. Be happy with what you have, and stay confident that you can achieve anything in your sights. Great post. Thank you for the contribution Bart.
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    Jun 20 2013: A nutty friend of mine and a very well known friend of mine believe but with a skeptics view that where ever you are drawn to strongly in this world but have not been there yet, for whatever reason, means you were there in another life.
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      Jun 20 2013: Ken,

      That's interesting. So what your saying is, we are drawn to the same environments in each life. That could be the case. Very interesting to think about. I don't necessarily believe in reincarnation, but I also realize how little we understand about life. Anything is possible.
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        Jun 21 2013: It's silly but it's a good psuedo answer to why some are drawn all through their lives to other places, is it a meme? I think so. Now, here's a kicker. What if you are drawn to another timeframe? Have you ever heard of the old term "A man born out of time?" My young niece every time in summer, when we go out, does the usual young lady thing and fusses about with her " Getting ready" ends up in a strange way wearing her clothes in a similar fashion to the early 20's. She, is definitely not interested in fashion as she is an Intro geek or we as humans are cyclic or.....(cue the twilight zone theme music).... It's most probably me and not having clue about their "Getting ready ritual"

        Happiness for me is having those rare moments when six different paths are presented to me to take with my life, that's when i feel truly free. The nodes are there yet not there....yet to be.

        In our male world, we are too concentrated with our toys or gathering for an "Ave" from the other males around us, can't help what we are but it can lead us to do stupid things and bad choices.

        Please don't become a logic bot Henry as so many young people and the top echelon thinkers in the world are opting for to relieve themselves of their natural built in affinity towards other humans.

        (I'm not saying that you are one but you are a tinker thinker)
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          Jun 21 2013: Ken,

          I have been through quite a bit in my life. In that, I see myself as a unique individual. I also believe the trauma I have experienced is a gift. It has defined my path in life, and I shall use my skills to help others. That's what I was put here to do. In what capacity I will help, has yet to reveal itself.

          I don't have toys and never have been interested in them. I love people, learning, and the idea that we are all going to finally come together at some point.

          I get what your saying about being presented with different paths. It is exciting when you realize how many doors are open for you. Some of us have a problem with that.

          I appreciate your responses Ken. Your views are definitely interesting.
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        Jun 21 2013: Ah! Then you're a great councilor because you've been to the "There" and back, It sounds ominous but it encompasses all "There's" relative to your natural past. Sadly this knowledge can be torture as the best action sometimes, is to stand by and watch.

        When you write a book, tell us and i'll buy it.
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          Jun 21 2013: Ken,

          It's really funny you say that. I am writing a book. It isn't even close to being done, and I have no idea if it will be published. We shall see. I appreciate the comment though. You just gave me a little more motivation to keep writing.
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    Jun 20 2013: To be happy, is it necessary to have goals, to have dreams, to have anything beyond the basics for life?
    To be happy is to fulfill a challenge posed natural or artificial. Within natural circumstances it secured you another day of living after a kill for food or bounty that promised life. It was the incentive to take on another hunt or search party.

    In our cultural world however it would be much more satisfactory to be at peace.
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      Jun 20 2013: Frans,

      I definitely agree with you. Goals are very important. I also believe we need to progress towards more peace. That's for sure. You mentioned fulfilling a challenge. I like the fact that you used the word challenge. It's a more neutral word than "problem" and may be better to use.

      Great post Frans. Thank you for taking the time to contribute.
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    Jun 18 2013: My Goal in life is to be happy and thats how i pursue it.

    I may not be able to change external factors all the time, but I can always seek the change within.
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    Jun 14 2013: Oh Henry.....I think you know my answer huh? YES!

    My hopes and dreams are coming true in every moment of the life experience because my biggest hope/dream is to live life fully, in every single moment.

    I am "becoming" something different with each and every interaction. This moment has never "been" before, and will never "be" again, so it is the most important moment.

    I do not even consider that life has any road "blocks". There are lots of speed bumps, but I do not perceive "blocks".
    I do not overcome them.....I move through them with as much consciousness, curiosity and love as I can muster in the moment:>)
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      Jun 15 2013: Colleen,

      You bring up a great point here. "I am "becoming" something different with each and every interaction." This is a concept that many of us fail to grasp.

      Some people remain in mind-sets that do not allow for such progression. This kind of inert personality is not conducive to individual growth.

      I like your views on road blocks. It is good to see them as speed bumps. However, I think this may have to do with your experience. I definitely reach my share of road blocks that tend to halt all forward progress. I eventually figure out how to move around them or remove them from my life. I can then move forward towards the next obstacle.

      Great post Colleen, and thank you for the contribution. You always add substance to these conversations.
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        Jun 15 2013: Today is the first day of the rest of my life. Every morning, when we wake up, we can either perceive it as a new beginning....or......whatever we choose.......

        People spend a lot of time and energy "shoulding" on themselves......I should have done things differently.....I should have known......etc. etc. etc.

        I believe that people do the best they/we can with the information we have at any given time. With the information I have now....60+ years down the road, of course I might have done some things differently. However, I did not have as much information then, as I have now. So, it makes no sense to me, to spend time telling myself that I "should" have done things differently. I learn, grow, change what needs to be changed in myself, and move on. That is the journey.....the life adventure.

        If you figure out how to move around them, it is not a "block" is it? I think it has to do with our individual perception:>)

        Thank you for your kind words Henry. I appreciate your contributions as well:>)
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    Jun 21 2013: Personally, I do better when I have a deep sense of purpose along with an ability to laugh when it all goes horribly wrong. I do good with that combination. It allows me to live fully in reality and continue to strive for improvement. Happiness always makes me think things will be going well: no one is sick, no car broken down, no messes to clean, etc. It just isn't realistic. I like when I can just let it go and fully enjoy a beautiful moment without continuing to process that dialogue that goes "I need to ... (fill in the blank)", but I don't think staying in that place is realistic. It has a time and place but I don't think it is supposed to be constant.

    You know this question reminds me of the miracle question that they talk about in counseling. You basically ask a person to daydream and tell you their heart's desires, then you ask what they need to get there.
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      Jun 21 2013: Kendall,

      Let me first say thank you for responding. I get what you are saying. Happiness can sometimes make people think about the things they don't have, or the way things would be in a perfect world, and they have a hard time accepting that it probably wont happen that way.

      I see happiness a little differently. Happiness is not what we own or how much money we make. It is something we all reach for, and for some of us it's a little harder to realize.

      The recession has done a good amount of damage. However, those of us lucky enough to be in free countries still have choices. We have a wide-open playing field of options to consider.

      Others are starving and dying every day. For them, happiness is much farther away, and it may even be impossible to reach. This may sound extreme, but is true nonetheless, you shouldn't feel unhappy unless your choices are exhausted. Until then, you should feel happy that every day you get more time to keep moving forward. Happiness is not something that only exists in fairy tales. Truly becoming happy with your life involves realizing how capable you are and taking that next step forward.
  • Jun 18 2013: I am happy with my daily life, but Im not happy with the current status of my home and the people around me.
    I am 22, trying to finish college to get my BA in Psychology, of course finances are in the way.
    I would like to be a natural therapist, I despise the health care industry and pharmaceuticals, none of its natural.
    I believe that my dreams will come true because I am too determined for everything I want to not happen, the only thing in my way is finances.
    I dont know how to overcome finances, as I cant make more until I spend more and I dont have any.
    My eyes are finally opening up to all this corruption around me and it bothers me, it scares me that so many people dont know or care about it, and I see it getting progressively worse. i'm trying to do something about it with my protests and informing the people around me.
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      Jun 18 2013: Uniqea,

      You did a good job identifying a problem you have. Your home and the people around you can have great impacts on your progress. The next step is identifying what it is that you don't like about your home and people around you.

      Make a list. This list should have two columns.

      A - Things I Can Change (without help)

      B - Things Others Should Change (with or without your help)

      Do you have some things you can change? Are there problems in your life that could be solved by you alone? You need to focus on those things first.

      I don't know enough about your situation to make a proper analysis. However, I can give you this advice. Take the problems you have and separate them.

      1. Finances - You then need to identify the core components of this problem. Why are finances an issue for you? Too many bills? Not enough income? Identifying these is very important. An answer does exist. You may not like the answer, but the solution is probably right in front of you.

      Many times, we understand the solution but don't want to go that route. We fool ourselves into thinking another, more acceptable solution will surface.

      Imagine yourself standing on a rock in the middle of the river. There is another rock closer to shore that, if you jumped, would lead you to the shore again. You then say "Well that's just too far away, I am going to wait for something else to come along to get me there".

      What ends up happening is you stand still. You need to find that next stepping stone. In order to do that you need to identify the problems you have, dissect them, and then identify each step necessary to solve those problems.
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    Jun 18 2013: I am a family man and would like to become

    more simple and truthful.
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    Jun 16 2013: I just wonder is there anyone be absolutely happy?Could it be possible?
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      Jun 16 2013: Jaden,
      I prefer to use the word "content", rather than "happy", because although they may be perceived as similar, "happy" suggests a more superficial, fleeting, feeling, while for me, contentment is an underlying part of the foundation. Yes, we can be "content" with the life adventures:>)
      • Jun 16 2013: Colleen, I so agree!
        Years ago, I had a discussion with a friend, whose definitions of 'happy' and 'content' were completely opposite to yours. I feel the same as you, that contentment is something very deep and describes an overall feeling, a warm glow, a sort of radiance coming from your own, personal hub of joy.
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          Jun 17 2013: I guess we can look at it any way we please Lizanne, according to our individual preference:>)

          That is one thing that creates happiness, joy and contentment in my life....I do not get "stuck" with my own thoughts, feelings, ideas, beliefs, opinions and perceptions as "right". It is fun to share all of this with each other:>)

          I LOVE the way you put it Lizanne...
          "an overall feeling, a warm glow, a sort of radiance coming from your own, personal hub of joy"........I agree:>)
      • Jun 19 2013: Colleen, what a gift that is, to not get "stuck" with your own thoughts, feelings, etc...! I certainly have the tendency to trap myself with "what ifs", which get me nowhere at warp speed!
        Sharing is key, isn't it. It's about communication.
        Maybe that's why I talk to myself so much, to teach myself to liberate myself from...myself!
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          Jun 20 2013: It is a gift to myself Lizanne, which eliminates a lot of stress and anger. We often see conversations here on TED where someone HAS to be RIGHT.....HAS to WIN the debate! What is that person doing to him/herself?

          Yes....I agree.....it is about our attachment to needing to be "right", and our ability to communicate with respect.....or not.....it is a choice.

          When we can be clear that our beliefs, ideas and opinions are simply OURS, we can be content with the fact that EVERYONE has their own as well:>)
        • Jun 28 2013: I with you girls, absolutely!

          I talk to myself too...for a different reason... I find I get a better class of answer.

          And that always makes me happy :)
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          Jun 20 2013: LaMar,
          I have not found "a synonym for content is complacent" in any of the definitions I search.

          1.con•tent
          Adjective
          In a state of peaceful happiness.

          Verb
          Satisfy (someone).

          Noun
          1. A state of satisfaction:

          Synonyms
          adjective. contented - pleased - satisfied - glad - happy
          verb. satisfy - gratify - please - indulge - suffice
          noun. contents - satisfaction - contentment - capacity - volume


          Perhaps this is what you are thinking about:
          com•pla•cent
          adj.
          1. Contented to a fault; self-satisfied and unconcerned:
          2. Eager to please; complaisant.
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          Jun 20 2013: You are right LaMar....it is a synonym on that site....so be it!

          I personally do not think of contentment as complacent. I think of it as satisfied, pleased, glad, happy, and those synonyms seem to be consistant:>)
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          Jun 20 2013: It's not MY definition LaMar. It is an accepted definition which appears on many different definition sites. Yes, I am content, and yes, that matters a LOT to me because I am responsible for myself and how I interact.....thanks for noticing:>)
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    Jun 16 2013: yes and no. i've got it good but happiness, like all emotions, is not possible to maintain at all times.. no, not all of them.

    no goals other than to keep breathing, preferably in comfort.

    i am me and i would like to become an older version of me.

    no.
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    Jun 15 2013: My favorite talk on this subject is Martin Seligman's on Positive Psychology, in which he summarizes research on the key factors that correlate with happiness. The most predictive factor is being happy with the people in ones life and ones connection to them. To love and be loved profusely would count here. So would having people with whom to share ones thoughts and adventures. The second, as I recall, is feeling one is living a life of meaning, which often connects to doing work or volunteering in a way that makes a difference. (I know I have been very lucky on both counts)

    If you haven't yet heard this talk, Henry, I would call it a winner.

    You can find all sorts of resources and links to research on happiness and research-supported strategies for increasing happiness or leading a flourishing life on Seligman's websites at the University of Pennsylvania related to positive psychology and Authentic Happiness.
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    Jun 15 2013: . .
    Yes, I am happy,
    whenever I feel things being a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive,
    no matter how small of the size of the step may be.
    Any person is.

    Yes, I have a goal in life.
    It is to keep our DNA alive,
    no matter I know it or not.
    Any person has it.

    Both my happiness and life goal are controlled by our instincts,
    our ancestors successful experiences formed 10,000 years ago.


    Wrong?