The Quest For Happiness, An Inspiration To All

October 28, 2019

Mike Wilcox Editor/Publisher

It was just a few days ago my first year college child was lamenting about his future. My words to him were not to worry. You can do or be what you want. All I ask is that you be happy in life. Your happiness, I said, is more important than what grades you achieve, or what major you choose.

Many of today’s psychologists have come to the same conclusion as I- and that is that happiness is the most important ingredient to individual and societal success. In other words if you’re not happy and healthy your likely not to achieve success. Furthermore happiness and health go hand in hand. You most likely won’t have one without the other.

The Pew Research Center takes it one step further citing family, friends, faith and career as the positive contributors to happiness. The more time we spend with family and friends; an unfaltering belief in God and; and a successful career will trump money and politics any day of the week, so say many psychologists.

I came across an article on a remarkable woman recently. Upon further research I learned Paula Francis has spent the last seven years crisscrossing the United States with hiking boots and backpack to ask people “what makes them happy.”
Francis is one of the original founders of “The Happiness Walk”, an outgrowth of an organization called the Gross National Happiness USA, which was actually founded in Bhutan, a small Asian country, that came to the conclusion the happier their citizens were, the more productive their country would be.

Of Bhutan Francis has said, “They always measured their country’s success and progress by how happy their people were. And I just thought that was amazing and it made a great deal of sense and we needed a shift of paradigm in the United States.”

The Bhutan experience inspired Francis to dedicate her life to “happiness.”

The 61-year-old Francis has walked through 27 states and over 10,000 miles. In our divisive times where hate sometimes is more prominent than happiness, Francis is a breath of fresh air. Imagine agreeing to sit down with her for an interview and the subject is happiness or what really matters in our lives, and not how we feel about impeachment, or even health care?

Francis who walks 20 to 24 miles a day, hopes to end her quest next month. Her final destination is Boston. From there she and her group hope to compile her findings and create a movement dedicated to promoting conditions of happiness and inspiring action toward greater happiness and well-being for all.

I know she has inspired me. I would like to think I’m a reasonably happy person, but like many, I have my moments of despair. Remembering this inspirational lady and her 7-year-walk might just help me as well as others shed that despair.

Groucho Marx, famous comedian and talk show host once said, “I, not events, have the power to make me happy, or unhappy today. I can choose which it will be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.”

Truer words have never been written.

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