Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Road to Happiness

As I begin working toward my goals for 2009, I'm trying, as always, to stay clear about what's important and what's not in the large scheme of things.

Greg Hicks, a happiness researcher who "studies people and communities that thrive," travels around the world asking people who is the happiest person they know. He then interviews that individual. As he tells NY Times journalist Joan Raymond, “It’s a cliché, but what I’ve learned is the happiest people don’t necessarily have the most stuff."

Hicks goes on to say...
When I was in Vietnam, I asked a villager who was the happiest person around. He directed me to a home for elderly people and told me to ask for a very special woman. I got to the home and met this tiny, fragile person. This woman was brutalized during the Vietnam War and lost all of her family. She suffered countless indignities. Yet she told me she had people who care for her, she had food to eat and a place to sleep. And she could look out of her window and see the birds. She didn’t need anything else.
To read Raymond's full interview with Hicks (“Happiness Has No Itinerary”), click here. To learn more about Hicks' research, go to

Speaking of folks caring for each other, here's a video someone sent me this morning that I just love--a soulful medley of all sorts of people singing Bill Wither's classic "Stand By Me."


  1. Anonymous5:58 PM

    If I knew getting older (71) was going to be this much fun, I would have gotten older sooner.

  2. Dear Anonymous-- Great comment! (You made me chuckle.) I feel the same way about menopause. --pb

  3. Anonymous7:21 AM

    Mr. Hicks is brilliant - he gets to travel the world spending time with happy people. What a happy way to spend your days.

    I love spending time with happy people - in fact, I think I'm one of them. :)

  4. Did you know that a study showed the Danish are the happiest in the world. In that climate,too. Apparently it's because cultually they are more interested in personal gratification from their families and work than "success" in other areas--like money.

    And, Beth, I think I am happy, too. Guess if we think we are, we are. And probably that we think we are cotributes to our happiness.

    Carolyn Howard-Johnson

  5. Anonymous6:01 PM

    What a fun job! Hanging out and interviewing happy people. Now that is so cool. Wish I had thought of it. :)
    Barbara Techel
    Author of Frankie, the Walk 'N Roll Dog

  6. Fun job, indeed!

    Carolyn, I too have heard that the Danes are the happiest people on the planet. I saw a 20/20 program on the topic. Lots of food for thought there.