The terms I.Q. and now even E.Q. (emotional quotient, which correlates with emotional intelligence) have long ago made it into the vernacular. But there is another “quotient” so to speak that everyone strives for but not many people really understand. So I’m going to go out on a limb and coin a new phrase: let’s just call it H.Q. – or the Happiness Quotient.

What is H.Q.? It’s long been understood that some people just have a lower threshold for happiness. You know, those annoying people that derive great pleasure from the smallest of things. Like eating ice cream. Or watching football. Or whatever. Frankly, I never used to be one of those people. In fact, I think I simultaneously despised and envied people that were happy for no reason (I mean, what was their deal anyway?). Weren’t they smart enough to see everything that was wrong in their lives and want to fix it? Wasn’t it normal to endlessly examine and rationalize one’s own deficiencies? To conquer childish optimism and replace it with jaded “maturity”?

Then one day, in my attempts at introspection, I realized that my forced realism, pragmatism, rationalism, and other -isms that I can’t think of right now, were only making me more miserable. I had been socially trained to be all those things. Creativity, spontaneity, and passion were mere luxuries – not a normal part of everyday life. And then I began to pay attention to my emotions, and my happiness level (it’s hard to quantify, but you know it when you have it).

I began to consciously infuse moments of happiness into everyday life. I would eat an ice cream cone in the middle of the afternoon (there is a great gelato place near where I work); calories be damned. I would take five minutes in the morning before I got out of bed and just lay there and daydream (I prefer to call it “visualization”); alarm be damned. I would sit in a chair in my apartment every night and close my eyes and just breathe; personal phone calls and emails waiting to be answered be damned. Yeah, I know it sounds stupid, but to my surprise, focused breathing was actually pleasurable and relaxing.

And then something interesting happened. As I got happier (for no apparent reason), the Universe seemed to cooperate with me more. I started noticing more favorable coincidences in my life. There seemed to be a positive momentum where my inner happiness seemed to attract more outer happiness (through synchronous people, places, events)- a phenomenon that I thought deserved further exploring.

Were those annoyingly happy people onto something? And does getting happy really influence outcomes and shape our future experience by moving energy, or is merely a change in perception?

Part 2- What’s happiness got to do with it?

To Be Continued…