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Monday, October 22, 2007

Should happiness come naturally?

The simple answer to this question is yes, if you’re lucky but no, if you’re like most people.

That is, for some people happiness does come naturally and easily in the same way that for some people, other skills or abilities (such as athletics and sports, problem solving, and even interpersonal relationships) come easily. For many people, however, whether it comes naturally or not is irrelevant. If you want to achieve greater happiness then you can – if you find out what to do and do it (and then practice it until you master it).

Consider the following example: how many of you were born able to drive a car? I bet the answer is “none of you”.

Despite this, because it’s something that can make our lives easier to manage, most of us put in the effort to learn how to drive and then we practice until we’re good enough to do it easily.

Happiness can be viewed in much the same way. If achieving happiness is important to you then whether it comes naturally or easily or not, need not stop you from (1) finding out what to do and then (2) practicing it until you’re really good at it.

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