6 Ways to Find Real Happiness
G. Richard Shell is a professor at the Wharton School and author of Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success.
—Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver, author most recently of Dog Songs
Illustration: Brian Rea
Mallika Chopra is the founder of Intent.com.
I have found that idea so helpful: You don't have to shine. In my life, I've been lucky enough to befriend many spiritual teachers, and to see that they didn't shine either. They were normal people with normal problems. Of course you should try to make the biggest life possible, but be realistic. If everyone were perfect, we wouldn't be in the human realm. And we wouldn't be developing our hearts.
Mark Epstein, MD, is a psychiatrist and the author of The Trauma of Everyday Life.
Comedienne Margaret Cho is currently touring with her stand-up show Mother.
Photo: Darren Braun
And, boy, was I challenged.
I'd always dreamed of having a farm, but I soon realized I didn't know the difference between hay and straw. I'd never been close to a chicken, much less a cow. (A cow that would kick me, and the milk bucket, repeatedly.) There were many low points in the months to come, as I battled the woodstove that I couldn't light and chased my goats when they jumped the fences. But I was also living a life beyond my imagination, and no hardship was bigger than the satisfaction of finding the courage to live it. As a writer, I know change is part of the plot; that's how your character evolves. And with change, there is grief for what has been lost, but also opportunity—and the choice of how to see it. Choose wonderful.
Suzanne McMinn is the author of Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor.
Next: The secrets only happiness experts know