Exclusive excerpt from WHEN LIKES AREN’T ENOUGH by Tim Bono, PhD

The power to create personal happiness was ours alone. Unending joy was in our reach. It would be possible for us never to have a bad day. Ever again. For the rest of our lives.

Several years ago, a team of scientists asked nearly ten thousand students in forty-seven countries around the world what they valued most in life. Happiness received the top score, beating out love, money, health, and getting into heaven.(2)

Putting our emotions into language by talking things over with a friend or writing them out allows us to gain new insight into our experiences and speed our recovery.

“ ‘Am I happy?’ is a closed question that suggests a binary approach to the pursuit of the good life: we are either happy or we are not. . . . We can always be happier; no person experiences perfect bliss at all times and has nothing more to which he can aspire. Therefore, rather than asking myself whether I am happy or not, a more helpful question is, ‘How can I become happier?’ This question acknowledges the nature of happiness and the fact that its pursuit is an ongoing process best represented by an infinite continuum, not by a finite point.” (14)

By asking what we can do to become happier, we place our attention on those aspects of life that are in our control, which ultimately can move us forward on the happiness continuum.



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