The Zen of Everythingâ„¢, Day 17: Maybe we should put a price on happiness

happy grocery I live in a neighborhood set smack dab between the rich and the not-so-rich, my building equidistant from their respective grocery stores.

Both stores are clean, new and well-stocked. There's only one real difference: the prices are better at the poor grocery store...and everything else is better at the rich grocery store. Basically, you pay a premium for things to be a little prettier and, yes, for people to be a little friendlier.

Don't get me wrong: there are friendly people at the poor grocery store, there just aren't as many. Maybe they hire happier people at the rich grocery store. Or maybe they pay them more, so they're happier. Or maybe it's just part of the job description.

That's not the point of today's lesson. Because unless they're poking them with sticks at the rich grocery store, or doing something equally despicable to make them smile, all I know is all things being equal, and especially when they're not so equal, when I'm feeling a little ill or low or pressed for time, I'd rather go to the rich grocery store. Partly because they're nice to me, but also because being around them makes it easier for me to be nice.

Which got me to thinking: instead of it being selfish of me to say "no" or set terms that work for me or charge enough to keep myself from worry, could it be that I'm just enabling myself to be a better conveyor of happiness?

Lesson #18: Do what you can to keep yourself a strong link in the chain.

xxx c

Image by Terry Bain, author of You Are a Dog, &c., via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.