The pursuit of happiness: 12 rules to live by

Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
― Leonardo da Vinci

The triumph of our digital culture has meant the death of free time. The death of free time has meant (at least for me) the end of creativity. Except on a plane: My brain starts to fire up and my heart opens. I cry watching cheesy movies. I breathe more deeply. I get great new ideas.

As we soar above the clouds, detached from space and time (and iPhones), I feel as though I can go above and beyond my own little world and view it from a higher perspective. On this particular trip, I also had the unique opportunity to actually watch a film from start to finish.

From the myriad of movies to choose from, I decided to watch 2014 “Hector and the Search for Happiness” starring Simon Pegg. It’s a bit cheesy, but definitely a fun and feel-good watch. The film, based on François Lelord’s novel of the same name, reminds us that the best part of life is actually living it. I could not agree more.

As Hector shares his “lessons in happiness” throughout the film, I simultaneously took notes and added some commentary. Here are my reflections:

  1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.
    Are you always thinking about the grass that’s greener?
  2. Many people only see happiness in their future.
    I like to think that we live in the moment but for the future.
  3. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story.
    Mystery creates a life of adventure.
  4. Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness.
    Dive in.
  5. On relationship: Does this person bring me predominately A) up or B) down?
    Ask this of every relationship you have and evaluate what ones are truly worth holding onto.
  6. Happiness is answering your calling.
    Living your purpose carves the path towards a life of meaning.
  7. Happiness is being loved for who you are.
    Surround yourself with people who support you and be that support for others.
  8. Great food.
    Appreciate the simple pleasures.
  9. Fear is an impediment to happiness.
    Using fear to drive  your success will bring you more accomplishment that letting it knock you down.
  10. Happiness is feeling completely alive.
    When are you most alive?
  11. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate.
    When was the last time you fully celebrated?
  12. Listening is loving.

Here’s my favorite takeaway:

We should concern ourselves not so much with the pursuit of happiness but with the happiness of pursuit.

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