Happiness

Tips and Recommendations from Guru Mike Nixon

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mikenixon
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Happiness

#1

Post by mikenixon »

Some months ago I caught up with a very good friend who maintains automated equipment in a furniture manufacturing plant. Like many of us, in his middle age and after many immemorable jobs he has finally found something that gets him up in the morning; a task that motivates him, makes his days interesting. He loves it! And this is not someone who was the stereotypical malcontent up to then. Far from it. He is just *really* fulfilled in what he is doing. In conversation with him I am struck by how happy he is. Nearly every day he is solving problems, and as an untrained but quite natural mechanic, he very often devises equipment alterations that are remarkably effective at improving processes. And the best thing is, the company, family owned for generations, understands and values people; he's appreciated, empowered, utilized, creative, and engaged. A close friend for over 30 years, I smile when I think of him. I am happy for him. Deeply so.

For some time I have been meditating on the word, "hope". As an occasional hobby etymologist, I am fascinated by words, and after literally decades of consideration I have come to the conclusion that Western culture has perverted the word "hope" for us. I think we use the word wrongly, that is, as a synonym for "wish". But that misuse sells the word far short; that is not at all what the word really means. Hope used philosophically I think is a label that we put on a combination of four things: meaning, purpose, identity and value. Meaning, in other words, "why?" Purpose, that is plainly, "what?" Identity is of course, "who?" And finally, value. Ah, value, arguably the most important piece of all. The value question focuses on love. That is, being loved. Everyone strives for these four things. Dare I say existence is little more than a lifelong quest for them? The individual posed on the tenth-story window ledge we say has lost hope. It really means he has become unmoored from one or more of these four things. I constantly plumb them in my own life.

This is probably as meditative as the forum will allow me to get, since my topic sounds like worldview which is another way to say religion, so I must tread carefully. I'm nearly finished anyway. But how ironic that it takes us most of our lives to finally get wise about life. Old age has taught me to recalibrate much of what I once thought was important. Don't we all do that? I could be dissatisfied with how my life has played out, especially when I think too long about certain things. But then I realize I am not measuring things correctly; I'm holding the ruler upside-down. To a large degree we *decide* to be happy. Circumstances and environment factor in, no doubt about that. But in the end, perspective trumps them both; it is the master. Because above all, contentment is a choice.
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Re: Happiness

#2

Post by julimike54 »

Very well said sir!
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mikenixon
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Re: Happiness

#3

Post by mikenixon »

:)
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Re: Happiness

#4

Post by Track T 2411 »

Man, I just hate it when I read something like this. It just causes too much introspection! lolol lolol lolol
Nice read, as always, Mr. Nixon!
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Re: Happiness

#5

Post by mikenixon »

:)
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Re: Happiness

#6

Post by Sagebrush »

Big fan of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" are you?
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Re: Happiness

#7

Post by Rat »

And then there's luck ... not to be overlooked ... I certainly have more than my share !

Gord anim-cheers1
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Re: Happiness

#8

Post by mikenixon »

Sagebrush wrote: Tue Dec 15, 2020 8:43 am Big fan of "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" are you?
To a point, yes. See below.

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=69896
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Re: Happiness

#9

Post by digger »

(Old age has taught me to recalibrate much of what I once thought was important.)
Mike, with age and experience, I have come to the same conclusion. The phrase “most people are about as happy as they make their minds up to be” appears to be wrongly attributed to President Lincoln 50 years after his death by Dr. Frank Crane in an article about New Year’s resolutions that was published in the Syracuse Herald. It has appeared in many other publications that also attributed it to the president, but no evidence exists to suggest those attributions are correct. I, however, like to think that if he didn’t come up with it, he should have. ;) Thank you for the article Mike, great observations and wisdom to ponder.
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Re: Happiness

#10

Post by mikenixon »

:)
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Re: Happiness

#11

Post by flyday58 »

Richard Rohr wrote a book several years ago titled "Falling Upward" on this very subject. My brain maintainer also tells me we choose our paths, but are predisposed to the easy ones, the ones we know best, the ones that give us comfort because we don't have to think about them, even when they're destructive. And while being happy starts as a choice, for some of us it's just easier to stand at the edge and wonder, "what if?"
Great article, Mike. Merry Christmas. xmas2
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Re: Happiness

#12

Post by mikenixon »

Thanks, Richard and everyone. Thanks for the comments. :)
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Re: Happiness

#13

Post by desertrefugee »

Sorry I’m a little late to this party. Just read this one.

It may not have been about motorcycles, but definitely one of your best, Mike. Thought about it all day, and read it Word for Word to my wife. Sparked a lengthy conversation.

Thank you.
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Re: Happiness

#14

Post by mikenixon »

:)
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