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100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life
Chapter OneHappiness Is Not an Accident
We have strategies for most things in our lives from work, togames, to how to get home from town two minutes faster. But weleave some of the most important parts of our lives, like our happiness,to chance. Happiness is not like height; you don't just get acertain amount and then have to live with it. Happiness can beimproved if you know what you are doing and what you are notdoing, and you care to change.
For Patrick, it started with a request from a neighbor. Theneighbor had played the part of Santa Claus for several years, creatinga tradition of a visit from Santa to all the children in theneighborhood. But one year, Santa had a cold and asked whetherPatrick could take over for him that day.
Patrick donned the suit and passed out candy canes and goodwishes to all the neighborhood children, calling them each byname and convincing them he was for real. "When I put on thesuit, I actually felt like Santa Claus," Patrick says. "It was a trulymagical feeling."
When the old Santa saw how much Patrick enjoyed the job, hetold Patrick he would be happy to let him take over. Patrick saw thepotential for sharing some joy with others and expanded the reachof his duties from his neighborhood to area hospitals. "Sick childrenwould light up when they saw me," Patrick recalls. "I wouldsit with them, and they would smile from ear to ear. It was such anhonor to be able to bring them a good feeling like that."
Over the years the Santa suit wore out and Patrick upgraded toa top-of-the-line model "the kind they use at the really goodmalls," heexplains.
Patrick has been playing Santa for so long now that he's beginningto see the children of the children he saw as Santa when hefirst started out. But Patrick has no plans to find a new man for thesuit. "Santa never retires," he says.
Researchers found that the majority of the subjects they100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life
studied were not able to identify anything they had done
recently to try to increase their happiness or life satisfaction.
. Copyright © by David Niven. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.