Years ago, while commuting to and from my Hartford (Connecticut) based insurance job with a good friend, we talked about “why some people seem happy and others don’t.” We developed The Five W’s of Happiness:
1. Weather: If you live in a rainy and cool climate, without a lot of sunshine, or up north in the winter (and you don’t ski), the weather can be a real negative. But if you live where Climate is King (think Florida, Southern California, Arizona) where the temperatures are warm and sunshine is plentiful, then it is a big positive.
2. Work: If you still do, or your leisure time activities if you don’t. How you deal with the people and responsibilities that go with life, can have a huge impact on your happiness quotient.
3. Wallet: The all-mighty dollar doesn’t control life; but it sure does have a big impact on how much (or little) you can enjoy it. Money can be anywhere from a big negative if you are concerned about making all payments; a neutral factor, if you are average; or a big plus, if you have sufficient resources to fully enjoy life.
4. Wife (family and friends): Whether you’re the wife or have one, that relationship and the other people in your life you are related to or friends with can provide a huge positive support to daily happiness.
5. Weight (and Workout): Getting daily exercise and watching your diet helps make you feel “in control” of your life and put a real bounce in your step. Or conversely, can make you feel unhappy with your self-discipline and “all that life has brought you.”
Our theory was: get three out of these five as being “positives” in your life, and you will most likely be able to deal with the other two neutrals/negatives and “have a good day.”
When I suggested to my friend that maybe we were different than other people in putting weight and exercise as a factor on the list equally critical with money and family (we were both tennis players and runners at that time); because it was obvious that was not the way everyone felt. My friend responded, it is equally important for them; but they don’t recognize it and they start every day with one negative to overcome.