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Peace Out, 2020

Peace Out, 2020

The pursuit of happiness is literally written in the second paragraph of the first article of the Declaration of Independence. 


Peace Out, 2020

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” - July 4, 1776

Americans have been officially pursuing happiness for almost 250 years. But we’re still not great at it.


Less than 15% of Americans called themselves ‘very happy’ in 2020, according to the most recent bi-annual survey by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) at The University of Chicago. 2020 was really hard. So we probably shouldn’t be surprised.


But NORC has been conducting that survey since the early 70s. And even in 2018, when the stock market was approaching an all-time high, just 31% of Americans said they were very happy. 


Happiness peaked in 1974, when almost 4 out of every 10 Americans (38%) said they were very happy. Even in our best years, not even 4 out of every 10 Americans describe themselves as very happy. We must be doing something wrong.


We’re good at pursuing the kind of ephemeral happiness that gives us dopamine hits. Social media likes. A new phone. Other shiny objects. 


The fruit. 


But as a culture, we’re not good at pursuing the deep happiness that comes from reflecting on our values and priorities.  The kind of happiness that comes from establishing paradoxical habits that make life harder this week but easier next year.


When you search online for “How to find a new phone,” Google delivers 6.3 billion results. When you search “How to be happy,” Google delivers 4.8 billion results.  When you search “How to find peace,” Google delivers 918 million results. 


We have lots of answers about where to find a phone. Fewer for happiness. Even fewer for peace. 


It’s good to pursue happiness. But happiness is the fruit.


Peace is the root.


If your iPhone screen has as many cracks as mine does, I hope you get a new one this year. If you’re among the 85% of Americans who weren’t very happy in 2020, I wish you more happiness too.


But more than that, I wish you stronger roots. Less anxiety. A calmer mind. And more peace.

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