The Amazing High One Gets from Making a Difference


The most amazing thing happened last week.  I ventured fearlessly into the unknown and the universe rewarded me abundantly.  I wish everyone could have this feeling just once.

On Thursday, Happiness as a Second Language went on sale at Amazon.  By Friday night, it had sold enough copies to be in the top 25 (at one point, hitting #23) in its category.  But that wasn’t the rewarding part.

The amazing, rewarding, must-keep-this-feeling-going thing that happened, is that I started getting email from people who had bought the book and were already using the techniques to make themselves happier.  Within 24 hours of putting it out there, my book was already changing lives.  I could not believe it!

At 10:31 on Friday morning, I got this note from my dear friend, Fred Ochs:

So far I’m really enjoying it. I think I have gotten through my name, counting and am into days of the week. Laughed out loud at some of it. I love the style. I wrote 6-7 happy things this am. [This refers to one of the exercises in the book.] Started working in the garden and the @$%*&! pole pruner was misbehaving. Reminded myself that I am happy. It helped, but I am still ticked off at the pruner.”  [This refers to another exercise.]

His email had a lot more nice things to say, but the take-away here is that he actually used the techniques and they actually helped.  A lot of the exercises in the book are about creating signal boosters and signal disruptors — ways to escalate your happiness when you are already happy or stop a downward spiral when you feel yourself getting uncontrollably unhappy.  It is so important to me that people know these, and do them, and start making the world a happier place, and I am ecstatic to know that one person in the world is already heading that direction.

If I never get another email like this, I will still live and die happy.  But if I get messages like this for the next week, month, year or decade, my life will have changed immeasurably knowing that I’ve made a difference on this earth.

People should be happy, and I intend to do my part to make that so.

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