One of the aims of this blog is a collaborative study of 'Happiness and Learning' with people I know and meet. So far, I have had around 50 people contribute Guest Posts. I am not looking for people who back themselves as writers or wannabe writers. Rather I am trying to widen the net of experiences. I have also thought of doing Skype/Coffee/Wine/Walking guest posts where I write the post after chatting to people. This can help get over the Picasso Problem people have where we don't do things because we are worried about being judged.
Here is the flaw in my theory. If I had to pick one thing I have learnt over the first year of this project, it would be that the people I know are actually happy already. I don't think we can judge happiness in terms of alternative choices we could have made, or paths life could have led us down. We go through life with a series of left or rights. Sometimes we choose. Sometimes people choose for us. Sometimes there it is a forced choice. Most of the people I know or have met are in the very privileged position of having choices. We can't choose everything or do anything, but our menus are pretty solid. Faced with any situation, we can take the next step.
The big challenges in the world are not the ones being faced by the people reading daily posts on happiness and learning. I can't even try and write about their experiences by trying to experience them. If I was to live on the poverty line, even for a year, as an 'empathy experiment' I wouldn't even come close to seeing the world through the eyes of people with no choices. I have choices. That year would be a choice. I would know deep inside of the people who are waiting for me. I have a deep buffer of relationships, education and social strength supporting me. It is in the way I stand. It is in the way I walk. It is in the way I listen. I feel deeply empowered and this translates to everything I do. If that is happiness, I am happy. I can move forward.
So can you.
Even my shadow feels empowered