COLLEGE PARK, MD –
Let’s state the obvious: we all want happiness. It is one of the fundamental desires of the son of Adam.
What is less obvious is how to capture those precious moments we yearn for.
Learning to Read the Map
The trouble is that most of us read our life maps incorrectly. Like a person finding their way down a road, we must read our life maps accurately or we’ll end up in a completely different destination than we intended.
Most of us view happiness in relation to the number of positive life events we perceive take place in our lives. This is, however, an inaccurate equation for predicting happiness, much less experiencing it.
Sticking with our analogy, a good way to ensure we’re reading our life maps accurately is to understand the legend, or key. Like the name suggests, the key of the map will unlock the ability to read it and land at the destination we’re after.
That key is gratitude. We’ve all heard and know that we should thank God for the good He has blessed us with. But let’s get real: talk is cheap. How do we actually live in a state of thanks, or gratitude, towards God?
I majored in mathematics in my time in College Park. I like equations. We set gratitude as the key to happiness, but we are looking for how to exhibit the gratitude we need.
Attention is the x-factor we’re looking for. What do we pay attention to? The proportion of attention we allocate to the negative factors we perceive in our lives is a good indicator of how negative we’ll feel.
Conversely, and importantly, the proportion of time we allocate to the positive factors we perceive in our lives is a good indicator of how positive we’ll feel.
So, forgive my nerdiness, if happiness (H) is equal to and unlocked by gratitude (G) and gratitude is equal to the attention to what’s good in one’s life (A) we can use the transitive property to reach the following formula:
H = A
It can’t be simpler than that. If we want to be happy, we have to focus on the positive. We have to be in constant remembrance of it. Sound familiar?
Yes, we’ve all heard that we should be in constant remembrance of God countless times in our lives. But it is not just some slogan.
Attention to God and His infinite blessings upon us, constantly and consistently, is what will keep us afloat and positive during the struggle of this world and prepared for entering the next one.