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This Is How We Should Define Happiness

This Is How We Should Define Happiness

Happiness is something we all long for. We strive for that promotion, that new car and to find that special someone — because we think it will bring us to the magical land of happiness. However, more often than not, this isn’t the case.

If you have ever watched or read a documentary about happiness and fulfillment, or even just glanced at one for a few minutes while flipping through the channels during a commercial…you know that “money can’t buy happiness,” and very rarely does happiness come from any kind of material possession at all.

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    Happiness is defined as “the state of being happy,” and considered by the English language to be a noun. I believe this to be the very root of the problem we all face–and I’ll explain why.

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    If happiness is a noun, that means it is an object. Something that can be possessed; something that can be gained. The problem with this is, since there is no magical happiness store that we can walk into and purchase a pound of happiness, we will never be able to GAIN happiness. We will never be able to fulfill the never-ending list of things we create in our mind as requisites. We will never have enough money or be promoted enough times. Our significant others will never be good-looking enough and will never completely stop doing things that upset us. So thinking this way is as poisonous as the drugs we take to assuage our discontentment with the happiness we will never be able to achieve.

    So, to fix this problem, we are going to change the definition of happiness. Happiness is no longer going to be a noun, and there is going to be no version of happiness in the dictionary of our minds that can be considered a possession. Instead, happiness is going to be a verb, an action and a choice.

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    Instead of being defined as “the state of being happy,” we are going to define happiness as “to choose to be happy.” This way there is no infinite list of things that we are never going to obtain or accomplish that we are requiring of ourselves to be able to be happy. There is going to be no insatiable desire for money, clothing, houses, cars and good-looking significant others to fulfill our happiness quotient–because we will already have chosen to be the happiness quotient.

    Of course, we will all experience adversity. We will get sick, we’ll miss a rent payment, we’ll move or change jobs and we’ll have disagreements with our friends and family. But it’s how we react to these problems that matter. Realizing that there is always a solution, and that problems like these are almost never as serious as we fool ourselves into thinking they are.

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    Happiness should be a perspective, not a goal. A lens through which we view the world, our family and our jobs. Through this lens, we are not going to want to make money because we think it will make us happy. We are going to make money because we have chosen to be happy at our jobs; the people around us are going to see it and choose to support us in our career progression. We are not going to look at life and set unrealistic expectations for things that even Bill Gates and Warren Buffet cannot afford. We are going to be happy that we are healthy and live in a world where we even have the choice to make the choice to be happy.

    Once we are able to forge these lens of happiness, the money, cars, clothing and fabulous careers will just be an afterthought. A product of our happiness–not a prerequisite.

    Featured photo credit: portrait of a happy girl via shutterstock.com

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    Last Updated on December 2, 2018

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    7 Public Speaking Techniques To Help Connect With Your Audience

    When giving a presentation or speech, you have to engage your audience effectively in order to truly get your point across. Unlike a written editorial or newsletter, your speech is fleeting; once you’ve said everything you set out to say, you don’t get a second chance to have your voice heard in that specific arena.

    You need to make sure your audience hangs on to every word you say, from your introduction to your wrap-up. You can do so by:

    1. Connecting them with each other

    Picture your typical rock concert. What’s the first thing the singer says to the crowd after jumping out on stage? “Hello (insert city name here)!” Just acknowledging that he’s coherent enough to know where he is is enough for the audience to go wild and get into the show.

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    It makes each individual feel as if they’re a part of something bigger. The same goes for any public speaking event. When an audience hears, “You’re all here because you care deeply about wildlife preservation,” it gives them a sense that they’re not just there to listen, but they’re there to connect with the like-minded people all around them.

    2. Connect with their emotions

    Speakers always try to get their audience emotionally involved in whatever topic they’re discussing. There are a variety of ways in which to do this, such as using statistics, stories, pictures or videos that really show the importance of the topic at hand.

    For example, showing pictures of the aftermath of an accident related to drunk driving will certainly send a specific message to an audience of teenagers and young adults. While doing so might be emotionally nerve-racking to the crowd, it may be necessary to get your point across and engage them fully.

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    3. Keep going back to the beginning

    Revisit your theme throughout your presentation. Although you should give your audience the credit they deserve and know that they can follow along, linking back to your initial thesis can act as a subconscious reminder of why what you’re currently telling them is important.

    On the other hand, if you simply mention your theme or the point of your speech at the beginning and never mention it again, it gives your audience the impression that it’s not really that important.

    4. Link to your audience’s motivation

    After you’ve acknowledged your audience’s common interests in being present, discuss their motivation for being there. Be specific. Using the previous example, if your audience clearly cares about wildlife preservation, discuss what can be done to help save endangered species’ from extinction.

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    Don’t just give them cold, hard facts; use the facts to make a point that they can use to better themselves or the world in some way.

    5. Entertain them

    While not all speeches or presentations are meant to be entertaining in a comedic way, audiences will become thoroughly engaged in anecdotes that relate to the overall theme of the speech. We discussed appealing to emotions, and that’s exactly what a speaker sets out to do when he tells a story from his past or that of a well-known historical figure.

    Speakers usually tell more than one story in order to show that the first one they told isn’t simply an anomaly, and that whatever outcome they’re attempting to prove will consistently reoccur, given certain circumstances.

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    6. Appeal to loyalty

    Just like the musician mentioning the town he’s playing in will get the audience ready to rock, speakers need to appeal to their audience’s loyalty to their country, company, product or cause. Show them how important it is that they’re present and listening to your speech by making your words hit home to each individual.

    In doing so, the members of your audience will feel as if you’re speaking directly to them while you’re addressing the entire crowd.

    7. Tell them the benefits of the presentation

    Early on in your presentation, you should tell your audience exactly what they’ll learn, and exactly how they’ll learn it. Don’t expect them to listen if they don’t have clear-cut information to listen for. On the other hand, if they know what to listen for, they’ll be more apt to stay engaged throughout your entire presentation so they don’t miss anything.

    Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm4.staticflickr.com

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