My 40% of Happiness

I don’t always watch Netflix, but when I do it is a documentary.

This past week I watched two documentaries, Blackfish and Happy. There are a million things I could write about Blackfish – which goes into the history and truth about Tilikum, the orca that killed Sea World trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010 as well as how orcas are treated in captivity. You so should watch it! What I took away from Blackfish, was that humans are so consumed with the need for entertainment and money that we can potentially destroy earth on our own. As a rising PR specialist (fingers crossed), I hope to not be consumed by that.

And then I watched Happy. Now, I am behind because this movie in 2011 – but it is never to late to explore life’s greatest emotion –  happiness.

Here is what research shows about where our “happiness” comes from:

50% – genetic, 10% – circumstances, 40% – intentional (you choose)

How ridiculous yet awesome is it to know that only 10% comes from circumstances?Basically, our happiness is not defined by the situations we encounter in our lives – a breakup, losing a job, wasting money, missing a deadline, an argument, being bullied. Just remember that statistic the next time you think your life is over!

So with that, we have to realize that genetically not all of us are as easily prone to instant happiness. The way I see it, that explains why some of us handle situations different, have a more positive outlook or simply get over things quicker. Beyond that, I think we need to focus on that 40%.

What is it that YOU CHOOSE to do that makes you happy? I have been pondering with this question since I watched the documentary, and I am not entirely sure… but I think at 22 years old that is okay. Below are things that I know make me happy.

1. My major. I am not set on what route with PR I will take, but I want to promote positive images through genuine acts of charity, remaining focused on the ‘why’ of a brand or organization. Take a look at WestJet’s Christmas Miracle, if you have not yet. That is the kind of stuff that I want to be a part of.

Being awarded the Deanne Roberts Scholarship from ChappellRoberts

2. Surrounding myself with motivated individuals. I am consistently amazed by the good works of my family, friends and sorority sisters all over. I am so happy being in a relationship with Matt because we are both motivated and driven to be successful – and not by money, but by loving what we love to do.

3. Reuniting with old friends. Every time I come home, I struggle with knowing who is home and who I can hang out with. I have certainly made a new life for myself at USF- but if any of my high school friends are reading, just know that I miss you and I want to hang out.

4. Theatre. All my life I dreamed of being a theatre major! I actually began USF as a theatre minor, but fell in love with mass communications and could not commit to the course requirements of both. I’m lucky to be dating someone who shares that love, who visited me while I was interning in New York with me and waited 3 hours to score $27 Book of Mormon tickets.

Me in the middle as Maria, Lend Me a Tenor – South Florida Cappies 2010

5. Being relaxed. I am somehow always stressed about something – sorry Matt, I know you are a #1 witness to this but somehow love me anyway. I like to be on time and ahead of the game, I like when I can depend on others. But I do manage to find moments where I can just listen to music and clean my room (yes, that genuinely makes me happy), or when I can read (or write!) a good blog post.

Overall, the next time I get really upset or overwhelmed, I am going to remember that that circumstance is only 10% of my happiness, and I can bust through it by choosing the 40%.

What do you think is in your 40%? And I am open to other documentary suggestions. Here is a trailer for Happy!