It's time for a wonderstruck interview! Hearing other people's stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.
Please welcome Henry S. Miller, author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life.
What have you been wonderstruck by recently?
Kindness. When I take time to really notice the actions of others around me, examples of everyday kindness are everywhere. It’s amazing, really, that we are all so similar in our personal lives, our goals, and our wishes for our children, yet so divided religiously, ethnically, nationally, and globally on almost everything else – except perhaps music, a great unifier. Plato said in 400 B.C., “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” It was true then – and is still true today. I’ve found it’s easy and fun to be on the lookout for kindness opportunities – just small courtesies, really. I’ve noticed that when I do some kind act for someone else, I feel better than the receiver. Everyone is different, of course, but for me at least, these feelings seem to last longer than just the simple everyday savoring of things around me – although those can fill me with wonder also.
What part of your day are you grateful for?
I’m actually grateful for every part of every day. After two cancers, I am under no illusions about the brevity of life. As any cancer survivor will tell you, the topic of mortality becomes more than just some intellectual exercise about some vague time way off in the distance. But simply being grateful to be alive has its benefits. Even just a few hours each week writing a Gratitude Journal on Sunday evening can increase feelings of happiness – and research has proven they can increase by up to 25% and can last for up to 6 months.
What part of your day is tough? How do you move through it?
Mid-afternoons drag on some days. I’m filled with equal parts wanting to nap and work out. Fortunately, so far, working out is winning – although it’s definitely changed from running, to jogging, to fast walking, to walking – and I can see “strolling” in the future. But just “moving” is good. And, as we all know, just moving more: walking, running, swimming, dancing – whatever works for you brings a plethora of benefits.
What do you wish you were more conscious of?
I wish I was able to be more conscious of simple, everyday moments. After all, I write about “savoring” all the time, but I find it quite difficult to practice. A few years ago, I decided to get serious about this “savoring” thing, so I was determined to spend 20 minutes outside while I had lunch savoring the clouds and the sky. I recall this vividly: The first day, I got my lunch, went outside, sat down, began to eat, and looked up, totally focused on the sky and clouds. And, after a while, I thought: OK, I’ve got this. This is good. I can do “savoring.” Good for me. Happy, I looked at my watch. And it had only been three minutes.
For the record, I did keep at it and actually made it to double figures, but still found it so hard to intentionally savor consistently. But it’s OK. The research I’ve done says there are plenty of proven ways to think and act intentionally that will increase the amount of happiness we feel each day – and it’s true. So I spend my time doing those – and they work for me. Everyone is different, of course, so up to each of us to choose.
How do you stay focused on what is truly important to you?
Simple! I am quite aware that we’re all here for such a short time, really. So my goal is just to share the knowledge of how to flourish and thrive with as many people as possible while I can so they can live the happiest and most fulfilling lives possible. The good news is that the scientific happiness and well being research is clear that working on making your own unique meaningful contribution to the planet – your “calling” – is one of the most powerful and long-lasting ways to increase the amount of happiness in our lives, so I’m taking full advantage of that strategy.
About Henry S. Miller:
Henry is the President of The Henry Miller Group and author of The Serious Pursuit of Happiness: Everything You Need to Know to Flourish and Thrive and Inspiration for the Pursuit of Happiness: Wisdom to Guide your Journey to a Better Life.
Visit Henry at: www.millergroup.com for your FREE PDF of his Inspiration book and for his other FREE PDFs on Major Coping Strategies, Mastering Personal Change, Dealing with Burnout, and Global Trends in Wellness. To learn more, visit www.theseriouspursuitofhappiness.com and www.getseriousaboutyourhappiness.com.