Happiness: The Group Writing Project

In the month of February 2008 I had the opportunity to interview 34 amazing people on the subject of happiness. The possibility that I created for this project, is that everyone who participates, and reads these interviews will be left inspired, empowered, and happier than they were before.

What made this project so exciting is that it taps into something that all of us, as humans can related to. From the most selfish human, to the most selfless saint, the one thing that we share in is the desire to be happy. While we realized that happiness can mean different things to different people, there are many similarities that can be captured by just about anyone.

Reading through all of these interviews I realized that much of this is common sense, or I could have thought of that, but I didn’t. Reading them inspired me to just let go, be happy, and enjoy the beautiful moments in life. I know happiness is available and possible for every one of us.

What I would love to do is to be able to share this happiness with every one of you! There are several ways in which I envision this happening. You can go ahead and read through the 34 interviews which I was fortunate enough to capture for this site. Additionally, other people took it upon themselves to answer these questions on their own sites to share their own views and opinions with all of us. All of this can be found on the main Happiness Project page and I welcome you to read them.

To take things to the next level, I would absolutely love it if you would take the questions, think about them, and answer them for yourself. If you have a blog, then answer them there, if not, feel free to answer them in the comments section below this post.

The Questions

  1. How do you define happiness?
  2. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child?
  3. What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day)
  4. What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life?
  5. What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness?

Group Writing Project Guidelines

  1. Answer the Questions. In a new post answer the questions that you see above, while being as genuine and open as possible. I might not know you very well yet, but believe me, you are awesome, and I want your readers and my readers to be able to see this extraordinary side of you.
  2. Overview and Linkback. In the introduction of your post, go ahead and give a brief overview of what the Happiness Project is and where you happened to hear about it first. This is the part where I would appreciate if you linked back to this post, in order to let people know about the guidelines, and how they can participate. While your doing that, I would love it if you also linked to the main Happiness Project page, and gave people access to the full list of interviews and participants.
  3. Tag your Blog Friends. The purpose of this project is to share it with as many people as possible and to spread the awareness about happiness all over the world. The best way you can help us do that, aside from answering the questions on your own blog, is to tag some of your blogging friends (no limit here, the more the merrier), and let them know to participate.
  4. Comment Here + I Link To You. After you’ve successfully published your Happiness Project post on your blog, and linked back to this post, go ahead and leave a comment here to let me know you participated. What I will do is add a link to your entry into the main Happiness Project page as soon as I can. Another bonus is that I’ll do periodic updates of where the Happiness Project is going, in which I’ll link to the newest group of participants. That means you get two links from a Page Rank 4 blog, and exposure to tens of thousands of people. Good deal?

Optional: Use This Banner

Happiness Project

My good friend Mark happens to be an excellent graphic designer and he was kind enough to make this banner for us to use for this project. Thank you Mark! You can use this banner to not only show off your participation in the project, but also to point people towards the rest of the interviews, and spread awareness to as many people as possible.

Instructions: Copy-paste the code below into your blog post’s ‘code’ section or into your sidebar. This code will link the banner right to the Happiness Project page.

Posted by in Happiness Project | March 1, 2008 | Digg | Del.icio.us | Stumble | Print | 107 comments

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  • http://www.fundraisingip.com Marita

    Hello everyone,
    helping others and living every day bringing something positive to this world that really means something to you (Alex, you must be a pretty happy guy:)) will keep you happy. One thing that makes me happy is raise funds, or help others raise funds for their causes. I’m working on adding a blog for my site as we speak; in the meantime, check out the fundraising how to section http://www.fundraisingip.com/articles/ if you’re planning on raising funds for anyone or a cause.


  • http://mikefolan.com Mike

    Hi Alex.

    I have done a post on my blog about Project Happiness.

    You can visit it at mikefolan.com


  • http://www.wideopenwallet.blogspot.com Mom @ Wide Open Wallet

    Thanks for the opportunity to do this. It was fun. Here is my post…. Right here

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  • http://www.abundancehighway.com Suzie Cheel

    Hi Alex,
    I love this project of yours and having followed it through February, have finally joined the project. It was both a fun and thoughtful time for me.

    here is my post Happiness for Me is…..

    Thanks for starting this.


    • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

      Very nice. Thank you for your contribution, I just added you!

  • http://flimjo.com Flimjo

    I finally made my contribution to the Happiness Project. Here is my post: http://flimjo.com/?p=81.


    • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

      Got you, thanks!

  • http://www.websitespeopleread.com Deborah

    Alex, I realized that I commented about my posting but didn’t include a link to my contribution – so here it is. http://websitespeopleread.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/03/how-do-you-defi.html

    Thanks again for organizing such a wonderful project.


    • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

      Got it Deb!

  • http://plain-talk-ordinary-wisdom.blogspot.com Pat R

    Alex – thank you for this opportunity to share in putting happiness out into the world. I’ve answered your questions in my latest post Alex Shalman’s Happiness: Group Writing Project and linked back to your site.

    Blogger didn’t like the html for the icon you provided so I added another link back to your site for directions on what to do to participate.

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  • ??

    How do you define happiness?
    I think happiness means living a life without evil things.we work together and trust each other and try our best to make tomorrow better ,instead of benefiting ourselves by sacrificing others’ .
    I think happiness also needs a special someone in your life who you love most and who love you most ,besides your parents .

    On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child?
    maybe 3 ,I feel I’v lost too much versus my childhood .I’m suffered now .

    What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day)
    I felt happy when I concentrated on my work and had my homework done that had been planned in time and so do my physical exercise in the evening .In a word ,I felt happy ,as for now ,just when I got my planned things done for that day .Occassionally I also dreamt of an expected pretty girl entering my life .

    What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life?
    Being unable to forget my painful and shameful past .I’m trying to be a good guy now ,but the reality does not allow me to .Filthy things and people still exist everywhere ,filling every corners.Sometimes I want to tell them they’re wrong and they should learn to be a good student ,but when I thought of my past ,I lost courage .Beacuse I’m not better enough ,I haven’t done enough good and useful things .I’m still penancing .Perhaps to lessen their psychological hurt on me ,I should try to tolerant their bad behavior ,and find their good sides .So it does with the society .Honestly ,I’m still ambivalent now .I don’t know how to handle this society ,it make me sick .
    I wish you could give me some suggestions ,Alex ! Thank you !!

    What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness ?
    Working hard to be an advanced technologist ,making enough money to travel around the world with my love .

  • http://www.veranadine.com Vera Nadine

    Hi Alex!

    I am so happy for the chance to participate in this great idea of yours and to keep its momentum moving forward.

    I have just finished my article, which posts tomorrow:

    Happiness Project: What Lights You Up?

    Thanks for your wonderfully inspiring ideas, you are a rare gift!


    Vera Nadine

    • http://www.alexshalman.com Alex Shalman

      Aww you’re so sweet Vera. =)

      Can’t wait to take a look at your entry.

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  • http://www.inevergrewup.net Vanessa

    Thanks for this 🙂

    Here is mine:

    I linked it back to your site correctly I hope.

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  • http://waytogogodot.com David Godot

    Hi Alex,

    This project was a wonderful idea, and a lot of fun to participate in! I hope that my contribution invokes the same feeling of connectedness that I have felt while reading through the interviews completed by others. I found that each one showed me something about my own happiness and motivation.

    Many best wishes,
    David Godot


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  • http://moritherapy.org isabella mori

    hi alex – just posted my post, here: http://www.moritherapy.org/article/happiness-a-group-writing-project/

    thanks for this massive project!

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  • http://www.InspiredMoneyMaker.com Paul

    Hi Alex, I just posted my article on my site here:


    I also added this page to Digg.



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  • http://www.blogbytyna.com Tina Ezenma

    Hi Alex,
    I hope this is not too late just heard about it yesterday,
    I just posted my article : http://www.blogbytyna.com/2008/04/15/you-deserve-to-be-happy…/
    It was a good experience being able to participate in this project.

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  • http://www.kelvingoh.com Kelvin Goh

    Hi Alex,

    It is wonderful to participate in this project. I have just posted my artcile:


    Thanks for the great idea.

    Best Wish,

  • Vikki

    1. How do you define happiness?
    “Happiness” is a state of mind vs. an emotion, although at times, it can be that as well. When one defines their life, marriage, work life as “always a happy one,” that very well may be, however, it most likely is not happy 100% of the time. So in essence, happiness is a state of mind. When one is gets happy about something, such as someone giving them a gift, etc. That happiness is more on the lines of an emotion.

    2. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child?
    I can honestly say that I am much happier as an adult, than I was as a child, for various reasons, however, the reason why I am happier now is because I am able to control my happiness, attitudes, and emotions. As a child, we are too self involved to realize what emotions are, how we experience them, what makes them occur, etc. When one reaches the age to identify and control their emotions, they are more apt to do so and in the long run, incorporate those learnings in their way of life.

    3. What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day)
    I would say that I am quite realistic about life, the good and the bad parts. It is what it is. That being said, I approach life with great love and happiness because I choose to do so. There is a great deal of negativity in this world, which we do need for pure balance. What I do on a daily basis is I simply view life in a positive light. I don’t have any adversities to cultures or peoples or peoples attitudes. I know that each morning when I wake, I can make a decision to be happy or not… I choose happy. Happy is good. Life is good. The consistency, which I have measured in the last week exclusively for this project, I have found has maintained through the days end. Granted, I am tired at the end of a long day, but that doesn’t mean I am not happy. I have experienced a great deal of… well, for the lack of a better word, crap in my life. Granted, I grew up in the United States of America, so it wasn’t as bad as in other countries, but I experienced a world of hurt for a very long time. I would say that I truly know the difference between happiness and sadness. Happiness is where it is at, let me tell you!!

    4. What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life?
    The only true things that take away from my happiness are when people that I love, family members or close friends really, who I am sensitive to, are cruel to me. It happens. Not intentionally always, but it happens. When my core structures attacks me, I become angry, upset, sad, but mostly angry. Now I am certainly not going to remove my core structure of people from my life, though some have been tossed out of the party via me, and many have been changed in and out. Because my core structure of people consists of people, the variable lies within those people. Their attitudes, feelings, emotions, etc. can affect me. I have to recognize this at all times in order to maintain a balance.

    5. What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness?
    I vowed when I was a little girl, that if I made it to my 18th birthday, that everyday in my adult life, no matter what, would be happy. And it has been. At my job, I always tend to cling towards those who are also happy or seem to be, to spread the inspiration. In my personal life I tend to attract happier, optimistic people to associate with. When I experience stressed out or sad days, which happens, I immediately do something to inspire me, whether it is watching a movie, going out somewhere to experience the world we live in, shopping (retail therapy is soooooo cool!), reading a novel to transport me to someone else’s world, hang out with my dogs (my most favorite thing to do), basically divert the state of mind. In the future, I will most likely continue with what I have done, continue to learn from others regarding their happiness, and hopefully win the lottery! Just kidding.

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  • http://dewdropofjupiter.blogspot.com/ Mahmudur

    This is my absolute pleasure to answer the questions of happiness project. I would like to say thank you Alex to realize ‘happiness is available and possible for every one of us’.



  • Uma Mahesh Ganti

    How do you define happiness?
    Happiness is just your state of mind..It is being comfortable in the situation, radiating positive energy.

    On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your happiness now, versus when you were a child?

    What do you do on a daily basis that brings you happiness? (and how consistent is the feeling of happiness throughout your day).

    3. I try to stay alone or with my family or any friends who would understand you…

    What things take away from your happiness? What can be done to lessen their impact or remove them from your life?

    I hate people who feel they are more intelligent or superior to others and I’d like to stay away from them……I would ignore any of them when I find one.

    What do you plan on doing in the future that will bring you even more happiness?

    I’d continue to be what I am , respect others, take care of others and stay away from people who look down on others…