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"Why Being Happy Matters: Discover How The Power Of Joy Will Energize Your Life"

"Why Being Happy Matters: Discover How The Power Of Joy Will Energize Your Life"

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"Why Being Happy Matters: Discover How The Power Of Joy Will Energize Your Life"

392 pagine
5 ore
Aug 12, 2016


“Why Being Happy Matters” presents interviews with people in the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia, each of whom reveal to the author what happiness means to them and why it matters. Readers also meet international Ph.Ds. who are actively studying the science of positive psychology.

The book features Peter Jennings in conversation with 37 intriguing individuals from around the world. These include John Robbins, heir of the Baskin Robbins empire (who tells Peter about turning down his inheritance and then losing his life's savings in the Bernie Madoff scandal, but still exhibiting a positive outlook of happy perseverance to life’s reversals); Roko Belic, California-based Oscar-nominated director of the award-winning film “Happy”; Dr. Christine Carter, sociologist and positive psychology specialist at Berkeley University (“Peter, you’re a happiness expert”); Rolling Stones keyboardist Chuck Leavell (who shared with Peter the joy he gets from working with his buddy former President Jimmy Carter on key environmental issues); Major League Baseball legend Shawn Green; celebrated super-model & businesswoman Monika Schnarre; Time magazine humour columnist Joel Stein; 84 year old Playboy cartoonist Doug Sneyd; Leo Bormans from Belgium, author of the respected "World Book of Happiness"(who explains what lies behind his discussions with global experts); and much more.

“Happiness is booming!” says Jennings. “Magazines like Live Happy are flourishing and researchers are revealing dramatic truths: people who are happy earn more money, make better decisions, enjoy higher levels of trust, negotiate better, perform better, have more self-confidence and maintain better relationships. And yet, we see North Americans doing a poor job of capitalizing on happiness compared to global counterparts. This needs to change, and in the book I outline ways to do just that.”

“Why Being Happy Matters” introduces individuals who are confronting the same life challenges all of us do. Some of them are hard-wired “happy campers". Others have to work at getting to their state of joy, often rising from periods of despondency or real-life tragic events. But each has accepted that they have options on how to optimize their lives by choosing to integrate happiness into their daily existence.

"My goal with Why Being Happy Matters is to inspire readers," says Jennings. “Presenting enlightening discussions with credible individuals who have discovered the secret to being genuinely happy is so relevant right now in a world that’s straining under unhappy stress. We need to listen to people worldwide from all walks of life, from all socio-economic levels, from varied age groups who refuse to let the world get them down. The common theme that links them: they flourish. They’ve developed the talent and ability to be happy in unhappy times. They've harnessed the power of joy."

The book also reveals “Seven Steps to Happiness” outlined to Jennings by Dr. Tal Ben-Shahar from Israel whose lectures on how to live a happy life have become the largest and most popular classes at Harvard University. “Everyone can become happier,” Ben-Shahar says. “A person who is happy can become happier, and a person who is depressed can become happier. We do hold the power to change our lives.”

As well, Jennings shares his “Happiness Breakthroughs”, conclusions that he himself came to while compiling the book. Readers will come away with reinforced optimism, recognizing that the key to contentment is powerful. They’ll also discover how to introduce happiness into their own lives or enhance what’s already there.

“Happiness is an advantage available to all of us,” says the author, an accomplished interviewer based on his TV show "Be My Guest". "But you need to know how to mobilize it. When you do, you’ll find it’s truly a game changer, one that can intensify your life with joy and real contentedness.”

Aug 12, 2016

Informazioni sull'autore

Prior to turning to writing full time, Peter spent his career in corporate communications running agencies handling marketing, advertising, branding, public relations and production of multimedia content, including websites and social media elements. Clients included hundreds of top-ranked businesses of all types and sizes, from McDonald’s, Procter & Gamble, Royal Bank, IBM, Coca-Cola, etc. to niche start-ups.Peter has been a Guest Lecturer on marketing at Centennial College and at the Government of Ontario’s Self Employment Assistance Program (where he was voted 9 out of 10 for effective teaching by the students). He has served on the Boards of several charities, as well as chairing Boards, and provides pro bono marketing expertise to various not-for-profit groups. He also mentors members of his community who seek writing and communications advice.Peter is the author of 6 books (with more coming):• "Shark Assault: An Amazing Story of Survival" (• "Being Happy Matters" (• "Behind the Seams: The Marilyn Brooks Story" (• "Pushing The Boundaries" (• "For Want Of 40 Pounds" (• "Until I Smile At You". ( is currently researching/writing several more.In his leisure time, Peter enjoys regular visits with his son, two daughters-in-law and three granddaughters. Also part of the festivities are his rescue dogs Molly (a border collie/husky mix) and Macy (a lab/shepherd mix). When he's not writing, he delights in Fairview, his modern lakeside residence overlooking Georgian Bay at Mundy's Harbour, Midland, where activities include listening to cool jazz and symphony, spirited conversations with good friends, singing, cooking, films and travel.

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"Why Being Happy Matters - Peter Jennings



by Yvonne Heath, Author, Love Your Life To Death


Happiness: something we take for granted, something we all assume we have enough of. But do we really? Have we ever sat back and given it serious thought? I hadn’t, until I read this book. Then I asked myself (as the author did of the 37 people he interviewed); On a scale of 1-10, how happy am I, most of the time? I have been asking that question every day since, and making sure I am delighted with the honest number. And if I’m not, I re-navigate and make a conscious choice to be happier. Why? Because happiness matters.

Are many of us settling for less happiness than we should? Well, I will tell you who isn’t – each and every fabulous person in this wonderfully inspiring book that share why happiness matters. Peter Jennings has traveled near and far to find these truly happy individuals and to share their heartfelt and often heart wrenching stories. He is a gifted interviewer and storyteller. I had trouble putting this book down; I wanted to read just one more story… then just one more. Peter has also sought out clinical experts and explores the fascinating science behind happiness: it’s not just something you attain, it’s something you can practice and get better at. That’s reassuring!

Think these would be stories reflecting lifestyles of the rich and famous? They must be tales of those who have achieved tremendous success and wealth, right? Wrong. Oh they’re successful alright, and some have even achieved wealth. But it has nothing to do with money, possessions or fame, and everything to do with discovering how to truly find unshakeable happiness. And they seek it, find it and cultivate it, despite everything else twirling around them. Many have faced devastating losses, health issues, bankruptcy and deep grief. They are men and women, young and old, rich and poor, who are choosing their attitude in life and about life. And it’s paying off in gratitude and loving their lives—no matter what.

I love these stories, the inspiring quotes, the science and the hope that each and every one of us can choose to be happier, regardless of our circumstances. This book is a keepsake and when I need a boost, I will re-read the insights and messages from the kind souls who were willing to share from their hearts. I’ve even perused many of their websites, read their blogs and more of their stories, and now feel like I’ve made friends for life.

"Why Being Happy Matters" has helped me learn so much more than I ever knew about this important subject. At the end of the day, if we really want to live well and love our lives, we should make happiness a priority today and every day. So if you’d like to find your bliss, feel inspired and empowered, sit back and get ready to read the magic in these words. They just might transform you.

Why? Because happiness really does matter.


Why Being Happy Matters

Discover How The Power Of Joy Will Energize Your Life.

Looking for a sure-fire recipe for being contented with your life? You might want to consider the following…

You grow up with an alcoholic mother and are forced to witness scenes of marital discord between your parents. Burdensome arguments confront you as they torment each other about this alienating condition.

Eventually, your mother dies of breast cancer.

Then your sister dies of breast cancer.

Then your high school sweetheart, the girl you’ve courted and married and raised two great kids with, contracts ovarian cancer. She languishes through a long, painful, debilitating death.

To escape the tragedies thrust upon your life, you set out to fulfill a dream: heading out for a cross-continent motorcycle trip with your best friend. A week into the adventure, your buddy wipes out on a North Carolina highway and lies sprawled on the pavement. You fly around the corner only to meet the accident scene. With little time to react, you ditch your bike to avoid hitting your friend. You end up in the hospital nursing broken bones. Your pal dies from his injuries.

Upon returning home, you devote energy to trying to help your friend’s widow as you both mourn. Surprisingly, the two of you discover your mutual compatibility. Cautiously, you begin a relationship. But the fates are not done with you: she contracts cancer and dies.

What’s that you say: surely this isn’t a recipe for contentedness. How can such devastating experiences lead to anything but despair?

Well, for most people, your appraisal would be absolutely right. But for Rick McHale – the man who actually endured all of these trials – being happy matters. In fact, he sees happiness as a powerful motivator that has inspired his life. "There is power in pleasure, he tells me. Seizing happiness is a practice that propels my approach to whatever I do." Despite the negative influences that have been far too prevalent. Rick has made contentment a central feature of his very being, And it’s one of the guiding lights that sparked me to write this book.

In Why Being Happy Matters, you’re going to meet people like Rick McHale (Chapter 23) who have discovered the secret to being genuinely happy. People worldwide from all walks of life, from all socio-economic levels, from varied age groups, celebrities and average folks, who refuse to let the world get them down. The common theme that links them: they flourish. They’re content. Carefree. Happy.

Now, don’t get me wrong: we’re not talking simpletons here. Or folks who use pharmaceuticals to banish the blues. Or kind souls who walk around with goofy, beatific grins on their faces as if in some cultish trance, drinking from the nearest vat of Flavor Aid. Far from it. These are individuals who confront the same challenges you and I do: paying the mortgage, getting the kids educated, keeping our jobs, saving for retirement, staying healthy. Some of them are hard-wired happy campers, favored with DNA that just seems to avoid gloom. Others confess to having worked hard at getting to their state of bliss today, often rising from earlier periods of despondency that helped them realize they had options on how to greet the day. And while they meet the tests that life throws at them, they seem to have mastered the art of energizing their lives by harnessing the delight that’s there, but only when they take the time to discover it.

In Why Being Happy Matters, you’ll also be introduced to clinical specialists who are studying just how the concept of happiness impacts our lives. For instance, you’ll hear from Dr. Scott Schliemann (fresh from University of New Hampshire, University of Maryland, University of Miami, University of Toronto) whose research focuses on understanding the links between social-structural arrangements and the inner lives of individuals dealing with work, stress, health and religion. You’ll encounter Leo Bormans from Belgium who talked with me about his milestone book The World Book of Happiness, a compelling assembly of views from 100 global experts. You’ll get to know Dr. Sue Johnson, who outlines from her desk at Alliant University in San Diego, California, how 7 conversations for a lifetime of love can increase the happiness quotient in our relationships. And you’ll meet Peter J. Harris who shares information from Pasadena, California about his fascinating landmark study, The Black Man of Happiness.

Happiness has truly moved onto the front page. Even Time magazine has featured a front cover headline: The Pursuit of Happiness. Inside: a story which includes the following:

All human beings may come equipped with the pursuit-of-happiness impulse – the urge to find lusher land just over the hill, fatter buffalo in the next valley – but it’s Americans who have codified the idea, written it into the Declaration of Independence and made it a central mandate of the national character.

So why is it, you might ask, that since 1972, only about one-third of Americans describe themselves as very happy. Why has the share of North Americans who identify themselves as optimists plummeted from 79% to 50%?

In this book, I set out to find answers to these questions. But my journey got interrupted by having to accept some sobering markers:

the number of people with depression, the amount of antidepressant drugs being consumed and the rate of suicide are all on the increase

unhappiness in the form of depression is the No.1 psychological disorder in the western world and it’s accelerating in all age groups, in virtually every community

in the U.S. for instance, depression costs the economy about $150 billion annually in medical expenses and lost productivity

among U.S. army veterans, a suicide occurs every 80 minutes around the clock (more U.S. soldiers have killed themselves than died in the Afghan war)

at the current rate of increase, the despondency and despair of those facing depression will be the 2nd most disabling condition on earth by 2020, right behind heart disease

And then there’s this source of trauma: FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. Seems we’re so fixed on needing to be in on the latest, most important trends that we’re suffering anxiety, worried we’re failing to be included.

So, the question becomes, should we, as intelligent human beings, simply accept these realities? Or should we take action to put a stop to the havoc that life seems to create for too many people? Does being happy, in fact, really matter?

The answers to those questions are in this book. We do have the ability to integrate happiness into our lives, and the people you’ll come across in Why Being Happy Matters can show you how. In fact, in the four years that I’ve been talking to the 37 folks you’ll hear from, I’ve learned that happiness is a powerful game changer: you can learn how to let happiness guide your way. You can get happy in unhappy times. And by the time you finish meeting each of the amazing people who explain Why Being Happy Matters, I think you’ll come to the same conclusion I have: there is power in pleasure.

You know, it’s intriguing that the famed U.S. Declaration of Independence granted citizens the right to pursue happiness. Problem is, the founding fathers neglected to explain just how to do that. Well, you’re about to discover the secret. It’s in the voices of the individuals you will meet in this book who are managing their own approaches to life. Happy people. Buoyant human beings with stories to share… powerful ideas that illuminate… tips that stimulate thought… advice that inspires change.

Let’s get to know them…

Chapter 1

"Man, we all have so much to be grateful for! Let’s not lose sight of that."


In Search of Why Being Happy Matters

I knew that John Robbins is a prolific writer, blogger and speaker. I also recognized that he’s a serious guy with a mission to improve the diet of Americans. Apart from that – and despite being aware of struggles he’s endured – I had a sense that John is one happy guy. My hunch proved right and I was pleased when he agreed to my request to discuss why being happy matters.

That’s a very perceptive question, says John Robbins as he settles in to contemplate the panorama from his idyllic plot of land outside of Santa Cruz, California. Inland from the picturesque beaches and coastal redwood forests that distinguish the area, he is overlooking the orchard he planted years ago together with a vast vegetable garden that he admits is not reaching its potential: we’ve been distracted by other demands. He gazes out from the porch of the old abandoned farmhouse that he and his wife Deo renovated. Not surprisingly for an author of books that reflect on the environment, he proudly notes that the building is an eco-home. We designed it to be passive solar and we generate our electricity from panels on the roof, so our utility bills are virtually nil. I feel grateful to be here.

I’ve enticed John into this discussion by intriguing him with the subject of happiness. Yet, I have a burning question beyond that boundary that I’m compelled to ask, and he’s agreed to humor me. I’m mindful of Deo’s warning, Quiet time together has become a rare and precious commodity, so I tread warily, not wanting to take too much from this generous man’s schedule.

John, having learned so much about you, I begin, I need to discuss your early motivation that led to such a profound life decision. When I researched Irv Robbins, your father, I found him to be an old-fashioned gentleman who clearly did not enjoy the kind of relationship you have nurtured so nicely with your own son Ocean. So my question is: where did the capacity arise for you to have such intuitive understanding as a young man that the life you faced was entirely inappropriate for you?

Before I share John’s response, I must remind you that I’m talking to the man who walked away from the Baskin Robbins fortune. He was being groomed for succession by his father but, realizing that future was not for him, he turned his back on an opportunity others might kill for.

99.9% of the young men in the country would have loved to have the chance I was being offered, John tells me. It was an incredible future that was being laid out for me. And yet, I was called to a different way of life, a different value system and different relationships to our times. I didn’t want to be part of the consumer trend. I didn’t want to sell a product that would undermine people’s health. Frankly, my parents couldn’t begin to understand why I made my choice. They used to ask me, ‘Where did you come from?’ He smiles as his mind drifts back to that time more than 40 years ago. I didn’t know the answer to that question then and I still don’t, but I’ve always thought the way I do. It’s just ingrained.

John goes on to tell me that his resolve caused friction with his father. Dad had worked long, hard hours to build success. It was all available to me. But I ended up, essentially, rejecting his life’s work. And while I tried to do it as diplomatically as possible, we had a complicated relationship. Ultimately, I had to make a choice for integrity.

What would have happened had you followed the ‘family plan’? I ask. Without missing a beat he replies, I would have become very wealthy. But I’d be fat and unhappy. That just didn’t fit with my inner calling: I was called to a different way of life, a different value system.

This leads me to enquire about his happiness quotient now. The fact that we’re having this conversation stems from my awareness of John Robbins’ causes – he’s the author of The New Good Life: Living Better Than Ever in an Age of Less and many other books about diet, good health, the environment and more. I’ve deduced that despite ups and down in his life, John is, quite simply, a contented human being. And it’s clear being happy matters to him.

Well, I’m almost never depressed or bored, he confirms. But I have had hardships and experienced a lot of things that aren’t what I’d call happy.

He tells me that several years ago his son Ocean and daughter in love Michelle gave birth prematurely to twin sons. In a devastating development, he explains through obvious emotion, the boys, now teenagers, are autistic, brain injured and retarded. Raising two kids with serious special needs is exhausting and demanding. We’re all in it together because we live on the same property. I guess it would be easy to turn this disadvantage into unhappiness. But I – we – just don’t see it that way.

John explains that if you look at the beauty of what can be created, even from such a challenge as coping with the demands of his grandsons, "it’s healthy and joyful and you can build on that. I know people who have a lot to be grateful about but they simply aren’t able to be thankful for it; they focus on what they don’t have and feel sorry for themselves about that, or feel resentful of other people with more, which often results in blaming others. Man, we all have so much to be grateful for! Let’s not lose sight of that."

John shares a quotation with me: The person who forgets the language of gratitude can never be on speaking terms with happiness. He goes on to interpret this thought. I think one of the keys to life is thankfulness and the ability to appreciate the things that really give you value and contribute to your life. I thank the people I love and the people who love me every day. I thank my lucky stars that I have Deo in my life. So I think of myself as a grateful person. And yes, I’m happy… a lot. He smiles. Even when I’m not happy, I’m grateful, he adds.

What part does faith play in your happiness? I ask.

He pauses and looks at his surroundings. Faith can often mean ‘religion’, he says. I don’t think of myself as religious, necessarily. I think of myself as an inter-faith rogue. He chuckles and I ask him to define the term.

Well, I don’t identify with any particular religious path. I kind of honor the essence of them all. I think there are many type of lamps but they all hold the same light. It’s the light that interests me, not the lamp and not the rituals around the lamp. I’ve seen a lot of damage in the world because people are fighting over their belief systems. You know, we have different words for the sun in different languages, but it’s the same sun. Well, we have different words for God, but maybe it’s the same God, worshipped in different ways, honored in different ways. I keep looking for that underlying human consciousness because I think that’s what we need to base our lives on if we’re going to create a sustainable path on this earth and if we’re going to truly find happiness.

I ask John to what extent personal relationships affect his happiness. It’s absolutely huge, he states. Deo and I have been together for more than 45 years and we consider these to be growthful years with a lot of changes. My relationship with my son, Ocean, is amazing. I consider being his father to be the greatest privilege of my life.

A thought has struck him and he stands to emphasize the point. "Listen to this: when Ocean was growing up, he was a bright, talented, brilliant kid. And I felt wonderful about that but I didn’t want him to feel he had to be that way or was under any pressure to be that way. So I used to say to him, ‘You know, I love you unconditionally and I cherish your accomplishments and your confidence. But I want you to know that I wouldn’t love you any less if you were autistic or retarded. I don’t even know why I said that to him. And look, here we are, all these years later, he’s raising - and we’re helping to raise - two kids who are autistic and retarded and brain damaged. And together we are asked to love these kids unconditionally. And you know, you can’t say, ‘Well, one day they’re going to get into M.I.T.’. That’s just not in the cards. Our goal at this point, for heaven’s sake, is just to get them to use the potty at some point: that would be a huge relief for everybody. But the point is, we are asked to love unconditionally. I think people who put conditions on their love, well, their relationships just don’t thrive. Sure, we all have flaws and shame and confusion and anger and fear and pain, but can we love around that? Can we bring love to the broken places in ourselves? If we can, we in time become stronger in the broken places. And we become much happier too."

John is well known for popular blogs on the Huffington Post and several best-selling books which include The Food Revolution, Diet for a New America, Reclaiming Our Health and The New Good Life (you can learn more at Given his focus on the country’s food intake, I ask him, Do you believe diet can contribute to an individual’s happiness?

He wastes no time on a topic that for him is hugely important. An unhealthy body can make it harder to be happy, that’s for sure. There are people who are healthy and unhappy and others who are happy and unhealthy, no doubt about that. But I think it’s an awful lot easier to be happy and thrive and to feel glad to be alive when you’re healthy. And I think it’s harder when you aren’t.

John tells me he wasn’t very healthy as a kid. And he didn’t like it one bit. So I now treasure my health and do everything I can to take care of my body and mind so that as I age, I continue to function well. And I mean true health: the presence of vitality and vibrancy and the presence of joy.

He mentions he’s recently taken up weight lifting to maintain his strength in order to pick up his grandsons. They need to be cuddled. And I have to be strong enough to do that. Roughhousing is also a daily ritual with both boys and their grandfather.

You know Peter, my happiness also arises out of being present with the suffering of other people, he tells me. We have a culture that avoids and denies pain. We have a lot of distraction in our culture. But I’m the kind of person who wants to know what hurts. When we acknowledge the pain that exists within us, we can meet more fully and more honestly and more genuinely: our relationships are more alive and we are happier. That’s how it works for me, anyway.

I ask him if finances contribute at all to his happiness. He’s quiet for a moment, considering how best to answer this question. And then he begins. I’ve had unusual financial experiences in my life, quite the range of ups and downs. So the answer to your question is yes and no. Financial security creates happiness for me in terms of my basic needs being met: if I can’t care for my family, if there’s not sufficient financial security that we end up afraid about where we’re going to get food and housing and basic human needs, well, that’s not a happy time. But once the basic needs are met, it’s a point of diminishing returns. Money is highly over-rated at that point. In times of scarcity, money is very important, but what’s important for my happiness is to move out of the scarcity consciousness. In a mindset of scarcity, no matter what you have, it’s not enough: you’re driven to get more, you see only what you don’t have, you see people with more, and you live in fear. But in the mindset of sufficiency, we actually do have a lot more reasons to be grateful than we recognize. The problem is that our culture bombards us with marketing that teaches us: excess is a status symbol. This just makes us always want more.

They say ‘money can’t buy happiness’, I remind him. Sure, he counters, "but I think for people who are really poor, money is happiness. For them, money means life and food and shelter and clean water… the things that you really require that you’ll never be happy without."

John goes on to tell me about a friend of his father who was a billionaire. You know what, he explains, he was miserable. He could afford anything money could buy, but he wasn’t happy. And I remember other friends of my Dad’s who were extremely wealthy but I thought they were amongst the most sullen, unhappy people I’d ever met. I knew early on that wasn’t a road I’d be following.

I can’t let the moment pass without bringing up a matter which I fear may be a sore point. Here’s the back story: as a result of the success of his books and speaking engagements, John had managed to earn significant sums even when that was not necessarily his goal. And recognizing that his family would need to care for Ocean’s children, he had a financial advisor buddy invest his earnings to help the nest egg grow. By a wicked factor of fate, however, the consultant placed the entire amount with a certain Bernard Lawrence Madoff, operator of what has been described as the largest Ponzi scheme in history (currently Prisoner No. 61727-054, a 150 year guest of the Butner Federal Correctional Institution). Overnight, John Robbins was wiped out.

Far from shirking from a discussion about this, he leaps in. Peter, it was so severe that we lost 95% of our net worth. It was very frightening. We were thrust into a situation where it was difficult to see how our basic needs could be met. At that moment, had you come to me and said ‘John, money doesn’t buy happiness’, I’d have told you where to shove it!

I laugh. At least the man’s human!

John tells me he will never make back what he’s lost. But the mindset of sufficiency opens to real wealth, not financial wealth, and that’s what matters in attaining quality of life. You know, our money says ‘In God We Trust’ but it’s really ‘In Money We Trust’. That mentality separates us from our sprit, from our connection one to another… we start to see our natural world only in its ability to convert to revenue, and from there we exploit it and we become predators on the earth.

John’s not finished with this theme. One more thing, he adds. The problem in our culture is that we have been taught to use people and love things. True happiness lies is in using things and loving people.

He’s right, of course. And this leads me to wondering what kind of hope is there for our wayward world. Are you an optimistic person? I ask.

No, he replies. "I think the notion that happiness depends on optimism is flimsy. I base my happiness on love, on the capacity of the human heart to bring love into just about any circumstance. The ability to choose our attitude is paramount: sometimes we can’t control circumstances and we can’t control other people or a lot of things that impact our lives. But we do have leverage around our attitude, which is why I put so

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