Thursday, April 20, 2006


Although I've recently "allowed" my writing to become more public, I haven't included any of the work I've chisled and loved for the past three years. I've been studying happiness: who is, who isn't, what helps, what doesn't. There is a growing body of research and literature about these essential age old questions. For me, this will be a book someday, but for now, it seems like a good thing to share some of what I know.

So here is my take on the factors that make happiness possible. I've covered many of them in happiness workshops I've presented, and one of these 12 principles stands out as the absolute hardest to do and the absolute most helpful to achieve. Can you guess which one?

1.Keep It Simple (Unclutter Your Mind, Your Memories, and Your Closets)

2. Stay Present (Correct the Past, Plan the Future--but Be Where You Are)

3. Commit (Find a Purpose and Live it)

4. Give Yourself a Break (Don't Turn on Yourself)

5. Keep Conflict to a Minimum (Walk Away)

6. Laugh & Cry

7. Do Good Work (It’s Not What You Do, but How you Do It)

8. Bend (Choose Happy Over Right)

9. Notice

10. Speak True (Words Matter)

11. Create (Creativity is not Optional)

12. Connect


  1. No Karen, I cannot guess which principle is the most difficult! I have come to the conclusion that there is one underlying principle and it's the key to the 12 you have identified: BE YOURSELF.

    without this, we won't know what to throw away when uncluttering; we won't know how to correct the past etc; we won't know how to commit. #4 is an expression of "be yourself". #5 is not necessarily always right for us. #6 is a manifestation of being truly and wholly ourself. #7 is an effect of happiness I think rather than a cause. #8 is OK because if right is different from happy, then we may ask whose Right it is - it's not ours! #9: to notice is an effect of happiness and not a cause. #10: to speak true is a way to discover and be who we are. #11: "creativity is not optional" -wonderful! I love this! #12: Connect - if we are truly ourself we will connect to everything.

    Thank you Karen for provoking so much soul-searching, and I still can't guess which is most difficult!

  2. I'm going to go with "be present." It's seemingly simple, but sometimes so hard...

  3. I agree with A. "Be present" is the toughest one, for me at least.

  4. Give Yourself a Break? At least it's hardest for me and lots of my friends...forgiving yourself is HARD.

  5. For a while, for me, it was be present, but I've been working really hard on that lately ... and the funny thing is the harder you work on it the more you realize it's not about working hard for it, but just being. For me bending can be hard, too ... great post!

  6. Mom - you are super smart :) Good advice all around. Love you!