Everyone wants to be happy, and so it must come as no surprise that I have been following the 100 Happy Days challenge with interest. The 100 Happy Days Foundation created this challenge, explaining it as follows: “We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long term happiness of any human being.” This sounds a lot like one of the steps that another well-known movement that hit North America a few years ago promoted: Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now.
Just like with any such movements, it is clear that there is a need for change in our lifestyle. In the case of the 100 Happy Days challenge, we could perhaps not just find what makes us happy for the sake of posting a picture with the appropriate hashtag (#100happydays). Instead, we could use the concrete exercise of posting a picture of the little things that make us happy to adjust our patterns of thought from looking at the negative to looking at the positive. That’s how the challenge can help individuals become happier on a long term basis: this 100 day-long event becomes the motivation and context within which one can develop a pattern of positive thinking that can last a lifetime.
The discourse on happiness is a complex one, to say the least. It is also one that has made a lot of ink flow, as list after list after list after list of books demonstrate. Events like this challenge are bound to contribute to the discourse. It’s heartwarming to see the number of people participating; at the time of writing this post, the foundation’s website states that 1,000,000 “happiness ambassadors” covering 98% of the world have created 20,000,000 “happy moments”. It seems that a few months after a dozen or so of my friends have completed the challenge, their Facebook and Instagram feeds feel noticeably more upbeat and cheerful.
One of the next steps that have been taken after the challenge was completed is to learn to continue enjoying moments of happiness without the incentive of posting pictures online. Another step that was taken was to consider reality as a whole, while focusing on the positive, that is to say, developing the capacity to see the thorns while still remaining focused on the rose and its delicious scent.
Not too bad at all, 100 Happy Days Foundation! I look forward to seeing how your next projects contribute to the discourse on happiness.