Whistle While You Work – Happiness Matters

The thought gurus in the movie and book The Secret agree that in order to create the life we want, we need to quit focusing on what’s happening to us and focus our thoughts and words on a picture and feelings of what we really want.

Unfortunately, most folks look at what’s happening and react to that. If what’s happening to you is not what you want, then by focusing on it you just get more of it. What we focus on expands. What we think about, comes about.

Yet according to Sonja Lyubomirsky in her book The How of Happiness our circumstances only account for 10% of what contributes to our happiness. She’s proven that 50% of what contributes to our happiness is our upbringing and genetics. We can’t do anything about that. However, it’s the other 40% that’s vital. Because that 40% is based on our intentional determination and we can choose to have it override the other 60%.

Shawn Achor, Head Teaching Fellow for Harvard’s popular Positive Psychology course shares how scientists have proven that happier people actually have an unfair advantage over others.

Adrian White, an analytic social psychologist, studies happiness and found Denmark to be the happiest nation in the world. The USA ranked number 23. A recent 20/20 television show on happiness referenced a study where Denmark was third. Still not too shabby!

I found these two factors particularly interesting in how they relate to work life happiness.

1). The tax rate in Denmark is 63% of income and the social services given by the welfare state are so supportive and all-encompassing that there isn’t as much need to take risks or try to be wealthy. Because there is a much narrower gap between the rich and the poor, the Danes have created a society where every job is valued and respected. This results in more people simply choosing to do what they enjoy doing without concern for how much it pays or what others think of them.The Danes have created a consumer-less society that’s truly brilliant. They have less reason to compare themselves to their neighbors. Most everyone is on the same level as the Joneses, so the need to keep up with them is removed.

2).Talk about social connection, an astounding 92% of adult Danes belong to either a singing or a dancing club. Imagine a life without financial concern and comparison. In such a life, being the social animals that we are, building relationships would become naturally more of a priority.

Singing is a physical act that draws oxygen in and makes the blood stream richer and opens up the brain so I can think more clearly and get intuitions I didn’t have before. So, I always look to get into action whenever I’m stuck. If the mind is stuck, if the spirit is low–I let the body lead the way even if I don’t feel like it.  Steve Chandler

To summarize here is your action recipe.

  1. Whistle and sing before and while you work.
  2. Know and act on the basis that being happy will get you more of what you want.
  3. Know and act on the basis that you can choose happiness and by doing so you can create the life you most want to win.

My heart goes out to each of you who continue to look at what’s wrong or what’s lacking in your life. Please stop that nonsense now. Yes, tough things happen to good people. But struggle is optional. Isn’t it time for you to wake up and come alive in the glory of your own making?


  1. Andrea Hess | Empowered Soul says

    What’s the old saying – “happiness is a choice?” It’s not our life circumstances and whether things go “right” or “wrong” in life. It’s how we react, and how much we let those events determine our sense of identity. And our reactions are definitely within the scope of our control.

    Great post!


  2. Lawrence Cheok | A Long Long Road says

    Wow, this is interesting research. I’m a big advocate of loving what you do. I’m going to check this out. Thanks for sharing these.

  3. Andrea, absolutely our reactions are all choices well within our control. I’m pondering your comment about allowing outside events to determine our sense of identity. I’ve always considered identity as that inner core of us that cannot be corrupted by outside limiting thoughts. But I guess one could take on those limiting beliefs to such an extent that they become as real.

    Lawrence, welcome, I’m pleased to meet another love what you do advocate.

  4. Yay! I love this post!

    I want to challenge the belief that our genetics contribute 50% and that we can’t do anything about that.

    If you know anything about the cellular biology work of Dr Bruce Lipton, you’ll know that, regardless of what genes we inherit, it’s our perceptions and beliefs that determine which genes will be active…

    And THAT gets determined prenatally and at birth when we develop our core beliefs about ourselves, and how the world works. And we can change those early imprints (which because they begin so early look very much unchangeable to the untrained) and be empowered about which genes are activated in our biological make up.

  5. Dylan, good challenge, I like your numbers better! Either way we have more than enough opportunity to change what we don’t want. I’m not familiar with Dr. Lipton’s work. I’ll be sure to check it out.

    I love what you say regarding his conclusion that our perceptions and beliefs determine which of our genes will be active. That’s very inspiring to know. Thank you and welcome.

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