The Joy of Progress

Happy people do not stand still for long. They don’t just hang around idly for extended periods of time. Happy people don’t sit in their pajamas till noon and watch TV all day.

Existing as a sort of empty vessel, just floating, going nowhere, leaves an empty feeling in the pit of the gut. Frequently doing nothing for extended periods of time creates a sense that life is a long monotonous blur of meaninglessness. When life is lived lifelessly, it becomes both hallow and shallow. It becomes boring, listless and purposeless. And the more that time is wasted, the more such feelings dominate.

Happy people share a characteristic. They grow. They learn. They climb. They develop. They experiment and learn valuable lessons from costly mistakes. They build their minds or their muscles or their characters or their talents or their relationships; the happiest build them all.

Don’t believe me? Explore the following recipes and the consequent feelings the ingredients self-evidently create. Then, let me know if you think I’m wrong.

A Recipe for Unhappiness

Sit down. Don’t move. Turn on the TV. Grab a bag of chips. Take a nap. Stay still. Stay inside. Eat. Eat more. Eat too much. Watch more TV. Go online. View illicit images. Go back to the TV. Watch more. Go nowhere. Do as little as possible. Keep the lights dim. Keep the curtains closed. Keep the shades down. Have a cookie. Have another. Have four. Finish the box. Go to bed. Wake up late. Watch a movie. Watch a soap opera. Watch a daytime talk show. Watch a reality show. Watch a game show. Watch a sitcom. Watch YouTube. Watch hours and hours of video clips about nothing. Do nothing. Learn nothing. Be nothing. Become nothing.

How Do You Feel?

Empty. Lonely. Alone. Vacant. Numb. Distant. Desperate. Unconnected. Disconnected. Hallow. Sad. Depressed. Distracted. Angry. Tired. Worn out. Frustrated. Dead. Dying. Dying inside. Dying outside. Soulless. Directionless. Adrift. Stagnant. Lazy. Friendless. Thoughtless. Aimless. Hopeless. Loveless. Exhausted. Bored. Drained. Dissatisfied. Unhappy.

Let’s try it again

Throw that noxious mixture down the proverbial drain and try the following mixture instead. Then tell me if they don’t make a much tastier life of deeper joys and more lasting happiness.

A Recipe for Happiness

Grow. Act. Do. Stand up. Run. Move. Create. Progress. Read. Learn. Explore. Analyze. Think. Serve. Believe. Become. Develop. Progress. Work. Fine tune. Rectify. Recover. Revise. Correct. Update. Plan. Prepare. Execute. Build. Practice. Overcome. Improve. Change. Advance. Extend. Expand. Enlarge. Stretch. Reach. Try. Try again. Become.

How Do You Feel?

Joyful. Alive. Challenged. Energized. Excited. Better. Good. Proud. Useful. Creative. Confident. Expansive. In tune. Spiritual. Dynamic. Purposeful. Worthwhile. Meaningful. Accomplished. Happy.


Stagnant pools are poisonous … and so are stagnant lives. Growth is essential for a truly fulfilling and happy life. Almost any kind of growth will help. The key is to begin.

Read a book on developing happiness or productivity or on history or bio-mechanics. Pick up the guitar or the harmonica or flute. Overcome a weakness, then work on another. Set a goal and work toward accomplishing it. Learn, improve, develop, push, stretch, grow, become.

You will notice life will be more interesting, more rewarding, less monotonous, more meaningful … happier!

So, look in the mirror without fear. Cringe if needed. Then let your eyes adjust. See yourself clearly. Where is improvement and growth most needed? What is the condition of your family? Your marriage? Your body? Your soul? Your character? Your abilities? What talents have you neglected? What talents have you always dreamed of acquiring?

Now go.



Learn, improve, grow and become.

… and be happy!

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