Having spent time with my colleague Goodrum last Thursday for the majority of the work day, I have been doing a little introspection about my approach to life. This week I have been feeling grumpy. Goodrum on the other hand is friendly, optimistic, and helpful. He is a great sport. Goodrum once told me an outlandish story about how he helped an old man cross a busy intersection in the Bayview and how he got cheers, applause, and a boost to his street cred. He always lends a hand. Goodrum is the embodiment of Gallant from the Highlights activity books you read while sitting in the waiting room of any Dentist’s office in the 90s.
My thoughts than led me to this quandry, is a happy person a good person? And vice versa? Than that scene came to mind of Veruca Salt in Willy Wonka’s egg room where the Eggdictator sends her down the chute to the incinerator.
Good people are described as kind, helpful, caring, understanding, patient, and loving. Psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky1 points to twelve commonalities of happy people; here are those that relate to being a good person:
- Express Gratitude
- Be Optimistic
- Avoid Comparison
- Practice Kindness
- Cultivate Relationships
- Learn to Forgive
Studies show that little acts of kindness actually release serotonin and boost wellbeing. I need to practice more kindness and be more forgiving. My temper flares most at the book ends of the work day, during the commute. Any suggestions for practicing mindfulness are welcomed. Reading on the train is a great distraction, but it’s the boarding and exiting that grates on my nerves. What is really ironic is that the most used phrase signed in my highschool yearbook was “nice.”
I am going to put forth my best effort to practice the Golden Rule and model Goodrum’s behavior over the next 21 days.
Instead of rolling my eyes, I will smile.
Instead of muttering under my breath, I will give people slack and not act so righteous.
Instead of bowing my head to avoid eye contact, I will say hello to strangers.
Tomorrow I work with Goodrum again, so hopefully he continues to rub off on me.
Pardon me please, for I must get to bed.
Sidebar– Dictionary.com’s word of the day for March 23rd, was joie de vivre. The french word describes a feeling, the delight in being alive.
- Lyubomirsky, Sonja. The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York: Penguin Press, 2008. Print.