How to Be Happy.

“F eeling or showing pleasure or contentment” is the technical definition of being happy, according to the Oxford Dictionaries — but the problem with being happy is that there are few things which ubiquitously define happiness for all people. What causes one person to be happy may not have the same effect on someone else.

How to Be Happy.

In an attempt to define how to be happy, Richard Branson — founder of the Virgin Group, which includes airlines such as Virgin Atlantic — wrote this letter to an undefined stranger as part of an effort to discuss happiness all month long.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

It’s OK to be stressed, scared and sad, I certainly have been throughout my 66 years. I’ve confronted my biggest fears time and time again. I’ve cheated death on many adventures, seen loved ones pass away, failed in business, minced my words in front of tough audiences, and had my heart broken.

I know I’m fortunate to live an extraordinary life, and that most people would assume my business success, and the wealth that comes with it, have brought me happiness. But they haven’t; in fact it’s the reverse. I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.


Apparently, one thing which causes Richard Branson to be happy is to choke Greg Davis-Kean of Frequent Miler in this article from which I outright stole a photograph and cleaned it up before posting it at the top of this article. The aforementioned article is part of a series of articles in which Greg Davis-Kean visited Necker Island — complete with plenty of photographs and videos.

Keeping with the theme of BoardingArea, one of the things which causes me to be happy is when I am traveling — even when things are not going as they planned. In fact, it is when things go wrong that truly tests happiness: if you find yourself still happy even when you are miserable and feel down, you know you are enjoying something about which you truly are passionate. Travel is happiness for me, as it is my passion — even when there are no upgrades or I miss a meal or I do not get enough sleep or I wait for greater than an hour at an immigration checkpoint in a country to which I had never been prior to arriving.

I have written articles in the past which can help you towards being happier — including maintaining perspective in life; indulging in passion; and staying positive. Miles, points and elite level status may be nice things to have — but they do not define happiness, in my opinion…

…happiness is about appreciating and enjoying what the world has to offer — especially the simple things in life. One of those things is sitting in a window seat and watching the world and the clouds float by below while listening to some of my favorite music. I can do that for hours because that makes me happy.

Please read the letter written by Richard Branson; and then please share some of the things which cause you to be happy. Perhaps you will give ideas to fellow readers to help them be more happy in life — especially while traveling.

Happy travels to you…

Photograph ©2016 by Greg Davis-Kean.

9 thoughts on “How to Be Happy.”

  1. r hirsch says:

    sometimes, i think about how incredible it is that i can see things, that my ankles work, that i can go on a 100 mile bike ride, that my eyelids know to blink, and that the miraculous non-church organ, i.e. my heart, beats every second….

    ….and these things, too often taken for granted, make me happy.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      You reminded me of all of the times when I am driving in a full parking lot searching for a space — but the only ones which seem to be available are those for people who are disabled and a couple at the farthest end of a parking lot, r hirsch.

      I have heard other people complain in that situation; but I remind myself of how thankful that I can walk effortlessly — and even get some exercise in the process.

      You also mentioned your heart beating. I highly recommend you go to Carlsbad Caverns or other underground cave and go one of the specialized tours which takes you into an area which is completely dark and silent. You will hear your heart beat like never before — as well as your breathing and you blood rushing throughout your body. It is an amazing experience!

  2. Taryn says:

    It makes me happy to share my points and miles with my parents and help them travel to places they never dreamed they would visit.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      That is an incredibly generous gesture, Taryn.

      Just reading what you wrote made me happy!

  3. One of the best ways to be happy is to be flexible and understand you’re in for a journey… even if the journey in front of you is not quite what you had planned. The zanier the journey, the greater the story to share with friends and family over beers when you get home.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I completely agree, Lee @ BaldThoughts. In fact, trips often are better experiences when travel plans go awry.

      Might I add that taking a few minutes to read your Morning Shave at Bald Thoughts could contribute to that happiness?

  4. Bobby Mcfarrin says:

    Don’t worry

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