The Happiness Standard


Gold stars are overrated.

Expecting everyone to do their best at all times is oppressive, and can actually squelch creativity. The pressure to consistently perform and produce in a superlative, unsurpassed manner causes so much stress that many simply give up producing anything at all. Fear and inadequacy reign as the overly stringent standard flies.

Or, the atmosphere becomes increasingly competitive and aggressive. After all, how can there be more than one who is the best?

I heard an athlete say that a silver medal at the Olympic Games meant they were a loser. There is only one winner, the person at the highest point on the podium, wearing the gold medal.

The good news is ~ we can simply stop racing after gold trophies, gold stars, gold medals.

We can replace the gold standard with the happiness standard. In any given situation, we ask ourselves “Would it make me happy to do this?”  If the answer is yes, we joyfully participate. If the answer is no, we say no thank you and hunt up an activity we can say yes to. If considering your own happiness is far too hedonistic, substitute  “Is this meaningful to me?”

I dare you to try it for a day, a week, a month. If nothing else, you will weigh your options differently. You may actually start considering the cost (to your relationships, energy, creativity) of spending so much time performing for gold stars on the chart that someone else has set up to measure you by.

Being the winner can’t hold a candle to happiness and meaning. And if you are muttering “Do they have to be mutually exclusive?” I would answer that happiness and meaning don’t have numbers attached to them. Excuse me, that should be a number attached to them.  Anyone can partake and enjoy. No-one is excluded.

It all hinges on how you look at the number ONE. Anyone, everyone, or the only one (gold-plated, of course).

Gold Standard

Take someone who doesn’t keep score,
who’s not looking to be richer, or afraid of losing,
who has not the slightest interest even
in his own personality: he’s free.
……….~  Rumi

About CarolWiebe

Art entices, inspires, and delights me. Art is a vehicle for laughter, tears, wonder, enlightenment--taking me on a constant path of discovery. You can't say that about housework (except, perhaps, for the crying part).
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8 Responses to The Happiness Standard

  1. It’s good to rethink how we define happiness. It seems easy to fall into the “ratings” or accumulation definition. Thanks for adding the Rumi quote. That would be a good thought to repeat throughout the day.

    • Carol Wiebe says:

      Is it a matter of rethinking our definition of happiness, or finally attempting to take an inner reading to see how we actually feel? (probably some of both)

      I put the Rumi quote in so that I could find it easily!

  2. Sherri B. says:

    Carol, I LOVE this post. Your “happiness standard” is such a good reminder…and I’m copy/pasting that Rumi quote for my collection!

    • Carol Wiebe says:

      Thank you, Sheri. This was a new standard for me some years ago. I had trouble giving myself permission to use it as a standard!

  3. Deb Sims says:

    Oh Carol, you just consistently hit the nail right slap on the head. My current health issues have caused a huge shift in my focus and I find that “Does this have meaning?” or “Does this make me happy?” “Does this fill my soul?” are the questions I am asking myself about just about everything. Of course putting our best effort into whatever we chose to do is a good thing, but it’s far more important to meet the happiness standard. Love you, dear friend.

  4. Carol Boyer says:


    Would that we all used joy as the main measure of events in our lives.

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