Over the past century, the world has experienced exponential growth in academia, human knowledge, science and technology, and financial and material wealth. Human beings have made significant progress in religious understanding, space exploration, medical research, and in the treatment and eradication of some common diseases such as smallpox, measles, yellow fever, and polio (poliomyelitis).
The thoughtful observer could envisage a “new” world that blossom’s into a “new era” of high civilization with peace and prosperity, and hope and happiness. Instead, humanity has been ushered into the “global village,” observably unprepared to manage national and international challenges that seem to suffocate hope and happiness of many.
“Discovering Your Optimum “Happiness Index” (OHI) is a book that puts forward that a “materially driven life” may bolster ones’ lifestyle, but one’s lifestyle is not fundamentally intrinsic to happiness. It contends that the potency of “Optimum Happiness” is a higher imperative of happiness underpinned by the “Spiritual” and the “Natural.”
This book is not essentially a scientific treatise on happiness, but it presents a “new” narrative that will engage individuals in the fields of psychology, sociology, and other social science disciplines. The discourse is an alternative approach to the “Search for Happiness,” based on multigenerational family life experiences, nurturing children, experiential knowledge, intuitive, intellectual and empirical observation, and global travel.
It offers the reader a broad spectrum of inquiry into the influence of human attributes, achievements, and customs on one’s health, well-being, and happiness. The “Happiness Index” methodology will take the reader on a journey of discovery where he or she can find happiness in the midst of plenty (wealth), likewise in the midst of scarcity (poverty). Regardless of your station in life, this book will help to brighten your path to happiness,” not merely as a lifestyle, but as a “life of fulfillment.”
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Discovering Your Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI)
By Errol A. Gibbs, Marjorie G. Gibbs, Marcia S. Gibbs
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2016 Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs
All rights reserved.
"The heart of a father is the masterpiece of nature."
— Antoine-François, Abbé Prévostd'Epbes (1697-1763)
I had three days to live at birth, so said the midwife. I survived — happily. When I was a boy of fourteen years of age, my father passed suddenly. Dad was experimenting with a liquid gas-burning stove in the home annex. The gas was under pressure. A release valve failed and a burst of gas sprayed all over his body. The pilot flame followed the mist of gas and engulfed him in an inferno, virtually in my presence. A terrified mom saw my dad in a fireball and shouted to him to roll on the ground, which he did, intuitively.
Dad drove himself to the hospital, with me in the passenger seat, and my elder brother in the back seat. Dad seemed to have some inner force guiding him. I do not know what was on his mind because he never uttered a single word over the approximately onemile journey that seemed forever. The silence was paralyzing, and the air was thick with fear as dad pulled in front of the hospital's main entrance, and collapsed on the steering wheel.
The attendants rushed him to the emergency. During that era, there were no burn centers for treatment and recovery of patients with severe burns. We did not have any idea of dad's treatment modality. Mom was in transit to the hospital as I returned home to a scene of screaming siblings, not knowing what to expect.
The unexpected news came the following day. Dad succumbed to third-degree burns and left us without any last words. A stay-at-home mom and nine children survived dad. Mom was eminently unprepared for such an untimely passing of her husband and our father, who left us within 24 hours of the fatal accident.
Marjorie and I share many experiences in common in life's journey. We were close to our fathers. We lost both of our fathers without having the opportunity to share last personal words, or to receive their final blessings.
Marjorie was an adult when her father passed suddenly as well, but the impact was no less traumatic for her. It was the morning of July 26, 2000. We were living in Troy, MI, USA. Marjorie got an emergency call from a relative, to leave immediately to be with her father who was undergoing surgery.
While in transit from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, Detroit, MI, to Logan International Airport, Boston, MA, to Bangor International Airport, Maine, Marjorie's father (Robert) passed at 85 years of age. The untimely passing of any family member is a calamity, and a challenge for close family members to endure, in particularly, the parent, or one who is the sole provider, as in the case of my father. Future hopes and aspirations for the future turned to uncertainty and anxiety at Dad' passing.
Our relatively comfortable family life, free from economic challenges became a daily struggle for our mother, my eight siblings and me. In today's vernacular, we were a middle-class family, because dad owned a car, which was rare for families in those days. Dad socialized with the British elites who provided engineering expertise to the energy industry. Dad was highly regarded in those circles for technical expertise hence his passion for experimentation.
Our family began a journey through a dark tunnel with no visible light on the other end of the tunnel, guided by a mother who needed guidance for the journey that she embarked on — involuntarily. Again! I contend she was "eminently unprepared."
Our family managed to weather this great personal and financial misfortune because we did not have all of the material needs in the 1950s as we do in our postmodern era. "Spirituality" and "religion" were a natural part of the family; it was the beacon for guiding the affairs of families and community.
The loyalty of our multigenerational family structure and the village mothers who would pray and share with less fortunate neighbors was paramount to family survival. The yield of backyard gardens and livestock played a significant part in our survival, but the highest yield, though, was cooperation among siblings; fueled by the enduring faith of our mother, which the experience tested.
We began to view life from a different set of lenses, as our family joined the ranks of those who lived in the valley between the haves and have-nots. The first lesson that we have learned was that the poor among us never seemed hopeless or unhappy. Likewise, when tragedy struck, rather than tear the family apart, the tragedy became the glue that held the family together.
I noted that for some families, every day was a challenge that will repeat the following day. I learned that being poor necessarily called into question the need to be resourceful. The poorer you are the more knowledge, wisdom, and understanding, you must have to survive, and that these attributes were "spiritual attributes" as opposed to "natural attributes."
Knowledge, wisdom, and understanding were the bedrock of earlier generations, but it always meant the knowledge, wisdom and understanding of God that inspires human action.
In the succeeding years, I would often contemplate the source of mothers' capacity to endure under the prevailing circumstances. Mom needed a "cast of characters" to survive that included aunts, uncles, distant relatives, friends, and neighbors. "It takes a village ..." was more than attribution as an "African" proverb for us. Village mothers were the giants in their families. They are still the giants in our postmodern age.
Marjorie's mom (Jemima) passed at 87 years old. My mom (Virginia) is alive. She is 98 years of age, a resident of a seniors' home in Toronto, ON, Canada. Physical incapacity confined both of our mothers to a wheelchair and to their beds in their declining years.
Visiting our parents gave us a sense of their formidable strength and human vulnerability, as the material world vanished from their memories. Spirituality became the guardian of their souls, and "joy" became the Sentinel, as their happiness of yesteryear took flight. The presence of their children became the only happiness that they knew and desired. In retrospect, we were a "very happy" family, although we did not realize it at the time.
Happiness was a "natural birthright" that families did not discuss in the premodern (beginnings to 1650's), and modern eras (1650's-1950's), as we do in the postmodern era (1950's to current) (http://www.postmodernpsychology.com/). Yesteryear, happiness, and unhappiness were not human psychological conditions that clinicians researched and measured. Happiness was simply "the life we lived." Common words such as anxiety, mental illness, and depression were unheard of when we were teenagers, although we imagine that those conditions existed, to a lesser degree than today.
The postmodern family seems to be in a state of significant adjustment, which may have begun during the Industrial Revolution (1800s-1900s). The Industrial Revolution ushered in new ways of life and financial and material prosperity for the masses. It also ushered in the commuter age and great mobility of individuals, which resulted in the separation of parents from children. The financial fortunes gained from the new era afforded a range of options for family members seeking to move out of crowded, centralized homes to establish their independence.
The postmodern family is more educated than their counterpart of yesteryear were. They have graduate and post-graduate degrees, and higher earnings. They are more sophisticated in an understanding of the world, and they have fewer children to nurture. Notwithstanding, the postmodern family is in need of a supporting cast including psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, drug addiction and family counselors, and local community workers.
Some parents and their children fall through the "proverbial" cracks in society, and end up living "fruitless lives." Moreover, some end up as wards of the "deficit driven" global Prison Industrial Complex (PIC), arguably the greatest bastion of unhappiness that we have near forgotten or perhaps abandon in the "happiness equation."
This Self-directed Guide to Your "Happiness Index" (HI) will enable the individual, the family, and the supporting cast to understand better the "crisis of unhappiness" that confronts them in daily life. It presents "new" perspectives on happiness to inspire hope for the individual, family, corporation, and nation.
o THE SUPPORTING CAST
Today, not only is the family in need of a "supporting cast" to enable it to survive the rapid changing times but individuals as well. Individuals need more than parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, neighbors, and even matchmakers to cope in the twenty-first century.
The world comes to the aid of the postmodern family in every continent, country, city and village. Billions of dollars in charitable donations and social safety nets enable the family to cope with a myriad of challenges such as unemployment, violence, depression, poverty, hunger, and homelessness.
Some individuals and their families experience fear, anxiety, uncertainty and unhappiness because they are essentially alone in their "search for happiness." There is no shortage of academic research or philosophical quotes, and personal stories of happiness to inspire us, but for some, the reality is often quite different from reading quotes and believing that happiness is strictly personal.
All types of media bombard us with impulses to achieve, receive and win in a competition. These external motivations influence our happiness from childhood to adulthood. National lotteries have mushroomed across the human landscape as a well-lit path, which promises that "winning" will lead to a happier and more fulfilling lifestyle, but does it?
A child who receives a new toy or completes a coloring book beams with pride and happiness in his or her achievement. A young woman who receives an engagement ring as her partner proposes marriage, and she responds — happily responds with a resounding yes! A post-graduate degree (Summa Cum Laude) imbues internalized happiness in youth and his or her parents. A mother who watches her child take its first step beams with pride and "joy." Our multigenerational family experiences have also taught us many lessons on our "happiness journey" that we are happy to share with you.
o THE YEARS 2000-2015
Marjorie's father passed in the year 2000, which brought great unhappiness to their multigenerational family and us as a shared "unhappy experience." It brought back instant memories of Dad's (equally) untimely departure from this side of our three-dimensional journey from "pre-mortal," to "mortal," to "immortal," generally underscored by Christian theology.
The year 2000 was a pivotal year in the decision to embark on "Discovering Your Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI) — Initiative." However, it was merely our beginning thoughts, as we witnessed the decline in global happiness. Theoretically, our "journey of discovery" began some 35 years ago, when we began to travel and observe people's happy and unhappy lives.
The year 2000 was also a time for reflection. It began the process of gathering data and making every moment a study of the challenges that human beings face in a world of plenty, where so many have so little, and they have relegated to society, the custodianship of their happiness, consciously or sub-consciously.
We have been witness to circumstances that have made Marjorie and me both happy and unhappy, but strong, and tenacious. In January 2015, unlike a New Years' resolution, a torrent of inspiration descended upon us like a "decree" from the celestial to join in the global happiness movement with "Discovering Your Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI)."
The year 2015, we also began to reflect on life, past and present, and we peered into the future and became overwhelmed by the universal nature of unhappiness in the world. We were also taken-aback by the fundamental unawareness of the myriad of simple solutions (untapped) that are available to imbue and sustain happiness in human lives.
We answered the directive to begin immediately to chronicle fifteen years of "talks and dialogues," experiential knowledge, global travel, empirical observation and findings to share our perspective on happiness with a global audience. Thus began the "life transforming" journey to present the world with a "new" "value proposition" to begin its "search for happiness." With bursts of enthusiasm, we shared our directive with family members, friends, and associates in our "inner circle." They began to read and share their inner thoughts as well. Randolph Neptune penned these inspirational words for potential readers of our work, thus:
"This is what you have been waiting for, to answer many of your questions about genuine happiness. You will enjoy reading this amazing work. Errol and Marjorie combined their knowledge and unique ability for research and insightful observation, with sound biblical, doctrinal foundation, reliable historicity, and insightful global perspective to aid our "search for happiness."
— Randolph Neptune, A fellow traveler (AD. 2016)
Reflecting on our repository of data, we began to examine words, and their classical definition; the meaning they transcend, and their application to human lives — daily. We evaluated many words, and ten words began to take on a different and more profound meaning, than the way we understood them in the past.
Interestingly, these ten words are familiar household words that have always been in our vocabulary. We have used these words throughout our youth and adult life in casual conversations, and we have discussed their meaning with others, not recognizing they are the keys to open the doors to infuse happiness into our lives.
The potency of these ten words became evident as we embarked on a journey to find the path(s) that happiness travels when it takes flight; knowing that happiness may return on another path(s). What is Happiness? Why is there so much unhappiness in the world?
We recognized that the following words that we refer to as "TEN KEY HAPPINESS INDICATORS" (TKHI) weaved "strands of interconnection" with all human activities, as they relate to well-beings (happiness), underpinned by our achievements, attributes, and customs. They form a pattern, a "solution matrix" to the plight of humanity, regarding our happiness and unhappiness, thus:
o TEN KEY HAPPINESS INDICATORS (TKHI)
1. Career (C100) (Achievement)
2. Character (C100) Attribute
3. Education (E100) (Achievement)
4. Forgiveness (F100) (Attribute)
5. Health (H100) (Achievement)
6. Humility (H100) (Attitude)
7. Personality (P100) (Attribute)
8. Religion (R100) (Custom)
9. Self-esteem (S100) (Achievement)
10 Socialization (S100) (Custom)
The superscript (100) (with the prefix) denotes the maximum score that the "Aspirant," who is in search of "Optimum Happiness" (OH), can achieve when answering the questions associated with each Ten Key Happiness Indicators (TKHI). We do not argue that these are the only keywords that embody our "search of happiness" or our unhappiness plight, but they underpin the "Happiness Index" Planning Process Methodology (HIPPM), which we present in extensive detail in Chapter 5 (pp. 149-239).
Human beings are destined to be happy, so why it is only a few can find lasting happiness, and why do so many miss opportunities to be happy, knowingly or unknowingly? Can human beings discover and sustain happiness? These poignant questions inspired our "quest for happiness." In our quest to find happiness, we have witnessed the potency of "joy," which we will also share with you as a higher pursuit and a state that transcend happiness and greater purpose. We share with you briefly, the PURPOSE, the WITNESS, and the FINDINGS that directed our path.
THE PURPOSE, THE WITNESSES, THE FINDINGS
"The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less."
— Socrates (469 BCE-399 BCE)
o THE PURPOSE
We have dialogued with individuals from all "walks of life," and from a myriad of disciplines. We have challenged long-held concepts of happiness, and have introduced many "new" concepts to test and validate our proposition on the "age-old" question against "What is Happiness?" The higher purpose of "Discovering Your Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI)-Initiative" is fivefold.
Excerpted from Discovering Your Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI) by Errol A. Gibbs, Marjorie G. Gibbs, Marcia S. Gibbs. Copyright © 2016 Errol A. and Marjorie G. Gibbs. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
ContentsAuthors' Note, xxi,
o CHAPTER 1 - BEGINNING THOUGHTS,
o CHAPTER 2 - WHAT IS HAPPINESS?,
o CHAPTER 3 — FIVE CRITICAL PATHWAYS TO "OPTIMUM HAPPINESS" (OH),
o CHAPTER 4 - COMPLEX DIMENSIONS OF HAPPINESS,
o CHAPTER 5 - THE "HAPPINESS INDEX" (HI) PROCESS METHODOLOGY (HIPM),
Tabular Listings, 245,
Select Bibliography, 247,
Authors' Biography, 253,
102 Optimum "Happiness Index" (OHI) Quotes Bonus — Readers' Bonus, 257,