3 (Super Simple) “Grand Essentials to Happiness”

Is happiness as easy as Burnap’s quote suggests? The post covers the simple ways Burnap’s 3 grand essentials to happiness can help you become happier.

“The grand essentials to happiness in this life are something to do, something to love, and something to hope for.”

– George Washington Burnap

Quotes like this make happiness seem so easy. So why does it seem so complicated?

Some quotes make happiness seem so easy, maybe even too easy.

So, some will disregard the quote because it oversimplifies something they think is far more complicated.

Others will fall under the expectation that happiness is simple.

When is Happiness Easy?

Quotes like Burnap’s make it seem like happiness is easy for happy people and complicated for unhappy people. That places you in a chicken/egg scenario. (Eggs came first, by the way.)

Are happy people happy because they didn’t complicate happiness? Or is joy simple for them because they’re happy?

On the other side of the coin (or the edge of the sword, if you prefer), are unhappy people miserable because they’ve complicated happiness? Or does happiness seem complicated because they’re unhappy?

Either way, maybe it’s a virtuous or vicious circle. If you’re lucky enough to be in a virtuous circle, it doesn’t matter. I’m happy you’re here! But for you, this is for fun or research. Or both!

You’re probably here because you’re in the latter camp. I enjoy saying, “the only way to break out of a cycle is to break out of the cycle.”

That Circle Isn’t Going to Break Itself

No one will likely break that circle for you.

Your boss isn’t going to free you from that cycle.

A loved one might want to help you break out of that cycle, but they can’t break that cycle for you.

The only way to break out of a cycle is to break out of the cycle. And you have to do it.

So do you simply become happy, or do you simplify happiness? That question seems a lot easier when I ask it out loud.

I said it out loud as I typed it. I promise.

Can You Simplify Happiness?

If you could simply be happy, you’d likely already be joyful. So the answer seems to be to simplify happiness. The happiness equation I wrote about previously is one way to simplify happiness. Either lower your expectations or improve your reality.

Burnap’s quote is another way to simplify happiness. That means you must look for or make each of George’s 3 grand essentials to happiness.

  • Something To Do
  • Something To Love
  • Something to Hope For

Even if you don’t have either of the three, looking and making will help.

My Sister Makes Me Nervous

She is constantly doing something. Whether it’s Christmas dinner, Superbowl Sunday, or movie night, she cannot be still. She can’t just sit and watch the movie or game because she has to be doing something. If she doesn’t have anything to do, she looks for something to do.

Looking for something to do is doing something.

Something To Do

Looking for something to do is doing something.

There’s a similar quote. If you don’t know what you’re purpose is, then finding your purpose is your new purpose.

Keep it simple for this first of the grand essentials. Don’t look for your purpose. Look for something to do. Need some ideas? I’m so glad you asked.

  • Start writing a book, blog, or journal.
  • Read (fiction or non-fiction).
  • Learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Paint or draw.
  • Go fishing.
  • Take a class. While online is good, in-person will be better.
  • Learn a language. (I’m ShaynFun on Duolingo. Add me as a friend.)
  • Paint.

Any of those will help you develop a new skill or help you produce and complete something. Both of those are great ways to boost happiness.

Here are a few bad ideas for something to do.

  • Drinking
  • Watching TV
  • Playing video games
  • Porn
  • Smoking

I don’t have issues with any of those things other than smoking. Seriously, how is there still smoking in the 2020s?

George and I mean something productive to do. At the risk of complicating this, I have three reasons why you should pick something productive to do.

3 Reasons Why you Should do Something Productive

  1. Getting into flow is awesome!
  2. Gaining some growth feels good and does good!
  3. Creating or producing something feels excellent!

Although I’m not going into here, there is ample research on the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of getting into a flow state.

It’s likely that as you do more of what you decide to do, you’ll get better at it. You’ll attempt more extensive and better versions as you get better at it. As your skill grows, your confidence and self-esteem will grow.

At some point, you’ll complete something. Even up until you finish whatever you decide to do, you’ll enjoy the progress you see as you do it over time.

Already, simply doing something productive, you’re giving yourself three activities that will improve or increase your happiness.

While those bad ideas of something to do are fun, they’re really only distractions. However, I will concede that the first three can be productive in a particular circumstance.

Getting together with friends to have a few drinks, watch tv, or play video games can be a better idea of something to do. Just don’t do too much of either. We’re venturing super close to something to love here. That’s okay. It’s better if they overlap.

What about smoking with friends? While spending time with friends is an excellent thing to do, smoking is still awful for you.

What about porn with friends? I’m just not even going there.

Speaking of friends, it’s time the 2nd of GeeDub’s grand essentials to happiness.

Something To Love

We’ve got another chicken-egg/cause-effect scenario here. Does unhappiness cause apathy, or does apathy cause unhappiness?

The answer is simple. It’s Yes! Both are true, and the only way to break out of a cycle is to break out of the cycle. Find something to love. And yes, looking for or making something to love is something to do, so start looking and making something to love.

Loving something feels good. We all need to feel loved, and love is like energy. Give love to get love.

That doesn’t mean that everything or everyone you love will love you back. It means that the more love you give, the more love you’ll get back.

You might start loving the thing that you start doing. You might love what you make when you do what you do. And you may enjoy doing it.

You might start loving the people you start spending more time with.

Get a pet. Some studies show that pets can make us happier. The best thing to love, though, would be a person. Make time with your friends and family!

Something to Hope For

Having hope feels better than not having hope, so find something to hope for.

However, watch out for this one because hope is a slippery slope. And I didn’t just say that because it rhymes!

Don’t Let Hope Become an Expectation

Hope for something good but don’t expect it. Having too high expectations throws your happiness equation out of balance.

Hope is a Terrible Plan

While hoping for something is good, don’t let hope replace action. We’ve got another circle here. We’re back to something to do.

Remember that saying? Wish in one hand, shit in the other, and see which one fills up first. SPOILER ALERT: The shit hand will fill up first. Pardon my French.

Think of Hope as more of a goal. You hope to be better at guitar, so you commit the action of practicing every day.

You hope to write a novel someday, so you perform the something to do of writing every day.

You hope to be happy someday, so do something, love something, and hope for the best. Just don’t expect it.

Question: What are your 3 grand essentials to happiness?

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