By Jordan Hannan
One week ago, I spent two full days raving to my three family members about my spectacular experience picking up a singular quesadilla from Moe’s Southwest Grill. If you’re wondering what could have possibly made such a mundane experience so notable, I am, too: The employee who prepared the meal did so enthusiastically before passing it along to her coworker. When handing me my to-go bag, the cashier screamed, whipping it back toward himself explaining, “The lid was about to come off. I didn’t want you to lose your chips.” Grateful for his extra care, I held the door for a fellow patron, who wished me a great day on her way out. Clearly, this is not the outstanding narrative that my sister expected after volunteering to hear my third rendition of this story. How could finding three kind strangers in one spot be this newsworthy?
By 2016, an estimated 900 million people were stuck feeling unfulfilled by their lives, and that number has only increased since. Not only that, the 2022 World Happiness Report concludes that, “Positive emotions have generally been twice as prevalent as negative ones. That gap has been narrowing over the past ten years, with enjoyment and laughter on a negative trend in most regions, and worry and sadness on rising trends.” Despite the objections that seem to follow these studies, our daily interactions with others prove their veracity.
It’s never difficult to tell whether someone is a generally happy or unhappy person; a traffic light, coworker, or mixed-up order could determine so. Stopped at a red light, some drivers will grumble for the entirety of the wait before sounding their horn the moment it switches to green. Others will take the moment to appreciatively sip their morning coffee or lovingly pet their dog in the passenger seat. When they both arrive at work, the first will assure that everyone they interact with is up-to-date on their latest inconvenience, while the latter will kindly remember to ask their coworker how their weekend was or include them in their lunch plans that afternoon. When their break starts, both end up at the local sandwich shop. When their orders are swapped, the first will blame the cashier and complain for the remainder of the day, while the second will thank the store for their apologetic replacement. The course of these two workdays were entirely up to the mindset of the individual, one being entirely reactionary while the other focused on gratitude.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of us witness the unhappy scenarios far more frequently, and they will undoubtedly continue unless we, individually and collectively, invoke change in order to lead more fulfilled lives. Happy people do not universally identify as the same race, gender, or economic class. However, they consistently share a feeling of purpose, whether that be through a hobby, their work, their interactions with others, or volunteering.
The quickest way to ensure that you lead an unhappy lifestyle is to isolate yourself from others, to neglect caring for your health, and to see life with a fixed, negative perspective. Not only that, you also--so generously--cultivate a community of unhappy people through your infectious actions. However, at Triangle Cares, we believe that one happy person brings about another, and we would love to teach you how to be a changemaker in positivity in next week’s blog.
Jordan Hannan and Jordan Lappin