happiness five rules

The Five Rules

of Happiness



reality viewpoint measure (2)
flood depress material (2)
pursuit point (3) up to a point
guide embody relative (2)
fully ridiculous outrageously
shame ashamed consequences
avoid involved easy enough
stuck security straight forward
catch desirable there’s a catch
depress situation how in the world
within stand (2) can’t stand
key (2) frustrated disappointed
result attitude vice versa
master rule (2) self-control
tide emotional well being
rhythm state (3) rationalize
flow according possession
ebb perpetual more often than not
no way principle


Are You Happy?

You know when you’re happy; and you know when you are sad. Certainly no one has to tell you that.

But what truly makes an individual happy?

The reality is that what makes someone happy might depress another person, and vice versa.


Material possessions may measure happiness — but up to a point. And besides, as the old saying goes, “the best things in life are free.”

So instead, we use a philosophy. This philosophy, embodied in five rules, can serve as a guide in the pursuit of happiness. So here are The Five Rules of Happiness.

Rule Number One:

If you like a thing — ENJOY it!

Now that seems outrageously simple. At first you might say, “That’s ridiculous. Of course if I like something, I’m going to enjoy it!”

But when you stop to think about it, there are many things in life that we like, but don’t fully enjoy — due to guilt, shame and fear.

You cannot fully enjoy something you would normally like if you feel guilty and ashamed about doing it, or if fear its consequences.

Rule Number Two:

If you don’t like a thing, AVOID it.

The second rule seems easy enough. However in reality many people are involved with things they do not like — a job, a person, a neighborhood, a city, a type of food…any one of a thousand things — but for some reason don’t avoid those things.

“Well, I can’t avoid it. I have to work there because I need the money.” Or, “I’m stuck with this person.”

Rule Number Three:

If you don’t like a thing, and you cannot avoid it, CHANGE it.

Here again, the answer is straightforward: change it!

But just as in avoidance, we rationalize that we need something about it: the money, the time, the security.

People are stuck with that particular thing — even if they don’t like it — and cannot avoid it and won’t change it.

Rule Number Four:

If you don’t like a thing, cannot avoid it, and cannot or will not change it, ACCEPT it.


But there is a catch: how can you accept something you don’t like? How in the world do you accept something that is ‘unacceptable’? How do you accept a situation that depresses you? How do you accept a person that you can’t stand?

Well, you really don’t have to accept anything: you can, of course, continue to be angry and sad, frustrated and disappointed.

If you don’t like it, won’t change it, cannot avoid it, and will not accept it, you will remain unhappy.

There are, however, five rules to the secret of happiness….and within the fifth lies the key.

Rule Number Five:

You accept a thing by changing your ATTITUDE towards it.

You are the result of your viewpoints and attitudes. Everything is relative to the person experiencing it. There are no absolutes: nothing is inherently good or bad — except how you see it.

Nor is life good or bad. Life simply is.

You change those things you wish by changing your attitude and viewpoint about them.

How difficult!


All in the Mind

Your attitudes and viewpoints are all part of your mind.

Once you develop the power of self-control you will be the master of your own attitudes and viewpoints — and your emotional well being.

Highs and Lows

Perpetual, continuous happiness, of course, is not a possible — or even desirable — state.

According to the principle of rhythm, there is always an inflow and outflow, an ebb tide and a flood tide. You’ll always have highs and lows — there’s no way to avoid that.

However, your highs will be higher and your lows will be higher. You’ll then find yourself happier more often than not.

Burt Goldman,
Rancho Mirage, California.


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1. Everyone feels happy and sad about the same things. True or false? Can you give examples?

2. What does the writer say about material goods?

3. The first rule of happiness ______________________. Is there a catch? Give examples.

4. The second rule of happiness is………………………. Give examples.

5. What is the third rule of happiness? Give examples.

6. Describe the fourth rule of happiness. Give examples.

7. Is the fifth rule of happiness the ultimate solution? Give examples.

8. The ultimate goal is to feel happy all the time. People would always feel happy. Yes or no? Why or why not? Give examples.
A. Are you mostly happy, mostly unhappy or a mix?

B. Do you think the fourth and fifth rules of happiness?

C. Can you think of a problem or difficulty in your or your friend’s life? How can that be solved?

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