The Secret Of Happiness!Mar 19
Want to know the secret of happiness?
It was a busy morning on Grand Central Station and everywhere there were people rushing, on their morning commute. I was with my son and (soon to be) daughter-in-law, not really sure whether we were going the right way or not as we were visitors in New York.
Above the noise of the hustle and bustle we could hear one voice ‘Good morning, good morning, have a good day’. We smiled at each other as we went passed him, a man with a beaming smile handing out ‘Metro’, the free newspaper. I remember thinking ‘he reminds me of the character Elf from the film of the same name’.
An hour later I returned alone, on my way back to my hotel. ‘Elf’ or should I say Prophet, his real name, was still greeting people, his beaming smile there for everyone, regardless of whether they returned it or ignored him. I stood in the door way for a while and watched him, wondering how someone could possibly be so happy, so positive, so giving. Several people seemed to recognize him and waved and smiled at him, and somehow when they did, they looked brighter and friendlier than they had before. Maybe this was part of the commute that they enjoyed and looked forward to. I could imagine a cheery smile from Prophet could brighten one’s day.
As I continued watching him I imagined that only someone happy and content with their life could maintain such a high level of positive energy and I was curious to know what attribute as his secret to happiness. I waited for a quiet moment to talk to him but the crowd of people passing didn’t ever seem to diminish but nor did his smile.
Eventually, I weaved my way through the crowd and asked him if he would mind answering a question and if I could record his answer. He agreed, although never once did he stop smiling and handing out his newspaper to anyone who would take it.
Even though I have studied Positive Psychology and understand the principles of resilience and optimism, his reply really surprised me.
Me: “Why are you so happy?” Prophet: “Because I have such a rough life and being pleasant is what makes it easier, that’s all. God has blessed me with another day and things is rough, and its not always good, and being happy to other people is what makes my day go better, that’s all.”
We chatted a little more and I learned that Prophet is a Personal Trainer who has unrecognized ambitions and a yearning to help other people to be fitter and safer. His specialty is teaching the principles of muscle memory an essential element of self-defense. His current life is hard and unsatisfactory in many regards but Prophet never gives up hope. I hope his employers realize what a great job he does and what an asset he is.
Before I left Prophet to continuing spreading his smile and positive greeting to the masses of transiting passengers on the New York subway, I gave him my Laughter Buddy. My LB seemed a fitting companion for him and when I left he was firmly tucked into Prophet’s jacket.
Prophet is a living example of what applied Positive Psychology looks like. Happiness is a choice, an attitude, a decision. Thanks for the lesson Prophet. I hope you have a good day, everyday and somehow I suspect you will!