“Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen as by little advantages that occur every day.” ~ Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin … 

Benjamin is reminding us here that our happiness is not so much a product of the big things that occur in our lives, as it is the little things, as long as we let them make us happy. Unfortunately, there are those among us who desperately seek only for the “great pieces,” who ignore the importance the little things play in their lives or take them for granted because they seem small or insignificant. But nothing could be further from the truth.

We do not have to wait for something big to happen before we can be happy; our lives are already filled with an endless supply of positive things, if only we would take full advantage of them. And often times all it takes is a slight change in our perspectives–a shifting of our focus towards recognizing the positive little things and accepting them as a remarkable part of our lives–to do just that. When that song I really enjoy listening to comes on, or my drive home is safe and pleasant. When the pains of yesterday have subsided and I wake up feeling refreshed, renewed, and excited for the day. When I receive a compliment from a complete stranger, or run into a friend who shares with me a moment of their day. It is there, in these little advantages, that we discover the “human felicity” that is ever present within us.

If we can stay focused on the positive little things in life, or even create a single moment during our day to direct our gaze towards those “little advantages” as Benjamin calls them, then we will find that our lives are very rich indeed. Most importantly, it is only from this perspective that we can fully see, appreciate, and enjoy all the gifts that we have been blessed with in life.

Look for happiness in the little things of the day.

Questions to consider:

Why do we so dearly yearn for the “great pieces of good fortune?”

What are five “little advantages” that are a part of your life today?

How might we go about recognizing more of the positive elements of our lives each day?

For further thought:

“The misery of human life is made up of large masses, each separated from the other by certain intervals. One year, the death of a child; years after, a failure in trade; after another longer or shorter interval, a daughter may have married unhappily;–in all but the singularly unfortunate, the integral parts that compose the sum total of the unhappiness of a man’s life, are easily counted, and distinctly remembered. The happiness of life, on the contrary, is made up of minute fractions–the little, soon-forgotten charities of a kiss, a smile, a kind look, a heartfelt compliment in the disguise of playful raillery, and the countless other infinitesimals of pleasurable thought and genial feeling.” ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Poetical and Dramatic Works of S. T. Coleridge


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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