Happiness is a perfume you cannot pour on others without getting a few drops on yourself. Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Happiness, according to Rogets Thesaurus: A condition of supreme well-being and good spirits: beatitude, blessedness, bliss, cheer, cheerfulness, felicity, gladness, joy, joyfulness.

People are starting to wish me happiness, suddenly. After months of simple “hello” and ” how are you”, suddenly people I know only slightly are beginning to take an outward interest in how happy I am. Even the Government is doing it. “Happy Christmas”. “Happy New Year”. “Happy Holiday”. Happiness questionnaire. Happiness quotient.  How happy am I?

How happy are you?

What will the government do if it gets all its questionnaires back and the entire population is miserable? Prozac in the water alongside the fluoride? A free pass for all to a Ken Dodd gig? Mandatory Mock The Week for everyone over 18? Free tickling sticks and double rations of Christmas Cracker jokes in all crackers?

One of the things I  realised after using up my teens on some moodiness, depression and rebellion ( as well as the rather nice alternative teen-bits such as running away to Paris for a while (I had such a great time and I am still surprised I survived!), and discovering that I didn’t have to be fat  just because I might have been, once…)  was that my happiness was down to me. Being with a special person might create a happy feeling in me; riding horses, playing the piano, playing rugby, listening to Georges Brassens or Vivaldi, sewing, the smell of my baking bread, putting the first foot back on the soil where I feel comfortable – all of these made me feel happy when I was young and some still do. (The rugby is a non-starter now – age and size would leave me a lethal weapon on the rugby pitch these days….). But the point is, how did I know that these things created that feeling of well being? Well, clearly, I tried them out! That is how I found that I liked playing the banjo a couple of years ago, and painting pictures a few years before that.

One thing I know with certainty about the teams that I support is that the best way to create a happy team is to enable happy individuals, and that doesn’t happen by closing down their options and experiences. People who know that they can try out new stuff with support, as safely as possible, with a group of people behind them who will root for them, will succeed more often than they will fail – and will smile all the more for having tried whether they succeed or not. And the people behind them will smile, because, as Ralph Waldo Emerson so wisely implied, happiness breeds happiness. And one of the things that concerns me most about the Governments badly thought through ideas about financing education is that it will lead, as surely as my cat wakes me every morning before dawn, to a reduction in options, a paucity of degrees that open up minds rather than prepare one for commerce, a view of education as part of business rather than an entity in itself which feeds and nourishes the spirit, creates ideas and thoughts and teaches our minds to swell.  That would be a tragedy, and we must not stand by and let it happen.

And one last thought before I go – teams are all kinds of things: business groups, hospital wards, families, friends, neighbours, political allies, staff, colleagues, fellow musicians and band members, people in the same fat-club, golfing buddies………..look anywhere and you find a team. The happiness drive applies to them all………..

So, read, swim, ride horses, bake bread, learn a new language, play the fiddle,  look at the sky, smell the ocean, look with love on someone special, smile. Be happy, because by doing that you will do a great thing: you will breed happiness.

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