What do you like? by Karen Little


Illustration of a person rowing under the sun by Karen Little

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Do you know what you really love doing or want to do? Can you name at least 15 things that you love pursuing? Do you spend your free time being involved in things that make you happy? If "yes," take a moment now to list them.


If you find listing the activities that make you happy difficult, ask yourself "why."


Don't beat yourself up if your list is small! Being able to identify and pursue the things you love is not an easy task.


In general conversation, telling people about your happiness is often considered to be bragging or just plain boring.


Got vacation photos you'd like to share? The all-time big joke is "don't show them to others," because others are not interested, no matter how excited you might be about the trip.


Drama (including its sub-genres such as crime, suspense, thriller, science fiction, adventure, fantasy, and reality) is the heart of the entertainment industry. Living "happily ever after" might summarize a drama, but suspense and even terror is what captures an audience's interest until they get to the end.


The best way to be actively happy and involved in discussions about what you enjoy is to hang around with people who enjoy the same things. Don't waste your time trying to entice non-like-minded people in hopes that they will care. People who do not enjoy what you love best are the last people who want to hear from you. To create a happy, enjoyment-filled life, especially if you currently do not have one, consider the following suggestions:

  1. Identify activities that make you happy: Create a list of the activities you love the most, then expand upon them. Warning! This requires deep thinking on your part, especially if you are initially unsure about them.

  2. Associate with people involved with the activities you enjoy: By associating with like-minded people, you expand your happy experiences. Spending time with people who just don't care about what turns you on will drag you down. Sometimes we can't avoid downers. Just make sure these downers aren't your only associates!

  3. Involve yourself with media specializing in the things you love: Read or watch things that expand upon what makes you happy so you learn new things daily. Make sure there is no cognitive dissonance (which means "contrast") between what you love and what you see.

  4. Share the work and crafts of happy activities: Like-minded people love sharing. Keeping your work to yourself is isolating. If no one is interested in what you are doing, seek out people who are, this includes on social media as well as face-to-face.

  5. Show your happiness: Smile! Speak well of others. Praise the things you like. Don't hold back. Be fearless when expressing your happy, upbeat self.

  6. Surround yourself with soul-lifting things: Reduce clutter. Fill your spaces exclusively with what you love, not what just accidentally comes your way.

  7. Reminisce about happy times: Often we think about our failures or problems that need resolving. Balance that time by remembering happy times, even if they might be few and far between. Rev-up your expectations for future happiness by remembering what happiness was like in the past.

  8. Count your blessings: Identify the things, memories, people, and activities in your life that truly matter and review their presence on a daily basis! Ignoring "emotional wealth" is a form of "personal poverty."

To summarize, happiness is not an intellectual activity. In order to enjoy it, you must participate in all of its phases even when you have other obligations. The pursuit of happiness is up to you. Once you actively do "what it takes to be happy," your journey to live happily ever after begins!


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Written by Karen Little of Sketch-Views