January 29th, 2021 by Gary Osberg

“Happiness is, a warm puppy”. Charles Schulz.   

“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”. The Constitution of the United States of America.

In the February 27, 2006 issue of The New Yorker there was an article on pursuing happiness. It turns out that by nature we have been hardwired to emphasize the negative. Survival depended on being wary. The curious and unwary could be eaten by bears or tigers. “Call no man happy until he is dead” was a Greek saying. According to many psychologists, once we are out of poverty, the most important determinant of happiness is our “set point”, our natural level of happiness, which is largely inherited.

Of course we have no control over our set point. Those of you who have more than one child know that they do seem to be wired differently. Same parents, same conditions and yet so different. However, we can control our attitude. “As a Man Thinketh” by James Allen made quite the impact on me. We also can decide if and how much volunteer work we will do.

Ready for the secret to happiness? Here it is: Happiness is equal to your set point S, plus your life conditions C, plus a bit of volunteer work, V. “H = S + C + V”. If you want a copy of the article, let me know.

Now in these unusual times, it is hard to do the V portion.  I have turned to music.  I start each day watching Allie Sherlock, a 15 year old busker (street performer), in Dublin, Ireland, on YouTube.  I also sent off to Ireland for her first CD. It took a month to get one, but it was worth the wait.   Check her out at  or simply search Allie Sherlock in YouTube.

“Happiness is hard to put into words. It’s also harder to source, much more mysterious than anger or sorrow, which come to me promptly, whenever I summon them, and remain long after I’ve begged them to leave.”

David Sedaris

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