This short article might make you happy.
You see, I know a little secret, and you might as well learn what it is.
It’s been said that everyone wishes to be happy.
But first, a word about etymology.
The word happy is derived from hap, meaning luck.
Happy, therefore, is related to words such as happenstance and happening.
And a happening involves luck, that most fickle of Lady Fortune’s gifts.
To be happy, etymologically, is to be lucky.
And certainly, many would admit that happiness and luck are related.
But have you heard of unhappy lottery winners? . . . I have.
Many are miserable amidst plenty.
But I know a happy man who has cancer.
You will surely know of similar examples.
An objection here might be made: The lottery winner isn’t unhappy with the money. He’s unhappy because his family expects him to buy them fancy cars and jewels. He’s unhappy because he’s learned that his family thinks of him only as a cash machine.
And that reminds me of Errol Flynn.
Errol Flynn was once the most famous, most highly paid actor in Hollywood.
Once upon a time, I read Flynn’s autobiography: My Wicked, Wicked Ways. And he wrote something unforgettable, but I paraphrase:
“I was the most famous man in the world, the most highly paid actor in Hollywood. I was loved by the most beautiful women. I was praised by all. I was at the top of the world. And I found nothing there. There’s nothing at the top of the world.”
I had to read that again: “There’s nothing at the top of the world.”
You see, Errol Flynn didn’t know the secret.
He didn’t know the secret I’m going to tell you at the end of this little article.
Everyone who celebrates—truly celebrates—Thanksgiving knows this secret.
And here it is:
Gratitude is the secret to happiness.
Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude; I repeat gratitude for emphasis, so you’ll remember.
The more grateful you are, the happier you’ll be.
Show me an unhappy Errol Flynn, and I’ll show you an ungrateful man.
Orlando Bartro is the author of Toward Two Words, a novel about men-women relationships, available at Amazon. He is currently writing two new novels and a play. You can hear his insights into the beauties of fiction at the Grassy Elbow at Youtube.