When Were You Last Happy? – The Better Newsletter #30

I’ll always remember attending a talk on “happiness” presented by a well-known professor. He spent most of the session quoting Aristotle, Socrates, Plato and left time for one question.

The man next to me asked, “What’s your definition of happiness?

Blink. blink. The professor looked like a deer in headlights.

After some pushback, the professor admitted, “Well, if I have to give a definition, I guess I agree with Stendhal, “To describe happiness is to diminish it.’

And that was it. End of session.

I was shocked. I turned to the man next to me and said, “I so disagree with that. I think defining happiness helps us be more aware and appreciative of it.”

I asked, “When was the last time you were happy?

He thought about it and then smiled, “My daughter decided to follow in my footsteps and become a physician.

She called last week to ask for my help with diagnosing a patient and turns out, my hunch was right – they caught it in time and he was in recovery.”

I told him, “Now that’s happiness! To have a daughter who respects you enough to go into your profession, who seeks your advice which saves a life, and the two of you to get to share it.”

You see, getting clear on what happiness means to you will help you notice it when it happens and, in turn, be grateful for it in the moment.

What’s my definition of happiness? Appreciating what’s right with my world, right here, right now.


  • Grab your journal and reflect on these questions:

    • What does happiness mean to you?

    • When was the last time you were happy?

    • What did it look like?

    • What did it feel like?

    • Did you say anything to imprint it or appreciate it?

  • Write out your unique “definition of happiness” and post it where you’ll see it every day.

Until next time… Here’s to being better.

Sam Horn

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