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The Philosophy of Happiness

There are natures born to happiness just as there are born musicians, mechanics and mathematicians.

They are usually children who came into life under right pre-natal conditions. That is, children conceived and born in love.

The mother who thanks God for the little life she is about to bring to Earth, gives her child a more blessed endowment than if it were heir to a kingdom or a fortune.

As the majority of people, however, born under "civilized" conditions, are unwelcome to their mothers, it is rarely we encounter one who has a birthright of happiness.

Youth possesses a certain buoyancy and exhilaration which passes for happiness, until the real disposition of the individual asserts itself with the passing of time.

Good health and strong vitality are great aids to happiness; yet that they, wealth and honors added, do not produce that much desired state of mind we have but to look about us to observe.

One who is not born a musician needs to toil more assiduously to acquire skill in the art, however strong his desire or great his taste, than the natural genius.

So the man not endowed with joyous impulses needs to set himself the task of acquiring the habit of happiness. I believe it can be done. To the sad or restless or discontented being I would say: Begin each morning by resolving to find something in the day to enjoy. Look in each experience which comes to you for some grain of happiness. You will be surprised to find how much that has seemed hopelessly disagreeable possesses either an instructive or an amusing side.

There is a certain happiness to be found in the most disagreeable duty when you stop to realize that you are getting it out of the way.

If it is one of those duties which has the uncomfortable habit of repeating itself continually, you can at least say you are learning patience and perseverance, which are two great virtues and essential to any permanent happiness in life.

Do not anticipate the happiness of tomorrow, but discover it in today. Unless you are in the profound depths of some great sorrow, you will find it if you look for it.

Think of yourself each morning as an explorer in a new realm. I know a man whose time is gold, and he carefully arranged his plans to take three hours for a certain pleasure. He lost his way and missed his pleasure, but was full of exuberant delight over his "new experience." "I saw places and met with adventures I might have missed my whole life." He was a true philosopher and optimist and such a man gets the very kernel out of the nut of life.

I know a woman who had since her birth every material blessing, health, wealth, position, travel and a luxurious home. She was forever complaining of the cares and responsibilities of the latter. Finally she prevailed upon the family to rent the home for a series of years and to live in hotels. Now she goes about posing as a martyr, "a homeless woman." It is impossible for such a selfishly perverted nature to know happiness.

A child should be taught from its earliest life to find entertainment in every kind of condition or weather. If it hears its elders cursing and bemoaning a rainy day the child's plastic mind is quick to receive the impression that a rainy day is a disaster.

How much better to expatiate in its presence on the blessing of rain, and to teach it the enjoyment of all nature's varying moods, which other young animals feel.

Happiness must come from within in order to respond to that which comes from without, just as there must be a musical ear and temperament to enjoy music.

Cultivate happiness as an art or science.

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More Articles by This Author Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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Ella Wheeler Wilcox

  • Author and poet
  • Born November 5th, 1850 in Johnstown, Wisconsin and died October 30th, 1919
  • Famous line in poetry: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone."

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