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Happy If We Think We Are

Posted Mar 05 2011 1:51pm

“You’re happy if you think you’re happy.” Gretchen Rubin

How much of our happiness and satisfaction in life is due to circumstance or other people, and how much is it a matter of conscious choice?

In the new movie The Adjustment Bureau (written and directed by George Nolfi, based on a short story by Philip K. Dick), the lives of the main characters, “fated” lovers played by Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, are manipulated by a team of celestial “adjusters” – as film critic Roger Ebert says, “They’re like undercover agents for the higher power of your choice.”

Anthony Mackie, one of the adjusters (he was also a powerful character in The Hurt Locker) was asked in an interview: What do you think of the idea of there being a greater power that knows better than we do and keeps bad things from happening?

His response:

I think the idea of there being a greater power that knows better is completely different than the idea of there being a greater power helping you to find better.

You would be hard pressed to find 10 people in your life right now that are truly happy. Like dip shit happy!

I know two people, I’ve been thinking about it for a week! I know two people. One of them is cuckoo and Cuban. (laughs) And the other one is a school teacher friend of mine, who had an amazing job and was making like seven figures a year and quit to become a school teacher.

Boom! She got a dog, got a house, taught kids. That’s it. And she’s happy. She likes the headaches that these kids put her through.

My other friend, it’s like he’s living the life, he has a girlfriend he has a 76 Cadillac and he has a tattoo now and a job, he’s happy!

But, everybody else I know is just desperately unhappy in one way or another. I think that is because we place too much on faith and not enough on free will. As human beings we have the ability to change any aspect of our lives that we want to, any aspect.

That’s just the way I was raised, I mean my daddy was like if you ain’t happy don’t do it. Every time I go into a governmental office like the Post Office or the DMV, I’m like I hate everybody in here because everybody in there is working to make your life a living hell. Sorry, I went to the DMV this week.

So with that being said I think we place too much power on the unknown and not enough power on the active known right now.

[From The Adjusted Power Of Anthony Mackie , GlobalGrind.]

Also see my Inner Actor post: Emily Blunt on fate and stammering and acting .

~ ~

Author Gretchen Rubin has also commented, “To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.”

Spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti wrote, “Only the mind which has no walls, no foothold, no barrier, no resting place, which is moving completely with life, timelessly pushing on, exploring, exploding – only such a mind can be happy, eternally new, because it is creative in itself.”

From his book: Think on These Things .

See more quotes by Rubin in my post: Drew Barrymore and Gretchen Rubin on authentic happiness as a choice .

Rubin is author of The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun .

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