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June 27, 2009

Positive Experiences are the Heart of Happiness

By Rob Kall

positive experiences are the basic building blocks of happiness. Here's why.


There are all kinds of Positive Experiences (PEs). I've been studying them and collecting examples of them for about 25 years and, over that time, learned that there are patterns of positive experience. But across all the different kinds of positive experience, there's one thing that's become clear to me. Positive experiences are the building blocks of happiness, the capacity for happiness the ability to experience happiness, share and make the most of happiness.

The good thing is there are skills you can learn to have more and better positive experiences. You can learn what the different skills are, how they fit into your life and how you can start building these skills, just like you can learn to sew, use a computer, ride a bike or successfully grow vegetables.

After having collected thousands of examples of positive experiences from people in workshops, classes and lectures I've given, I developed a model based on the the timing of positive experiences-- an anatomy of positive experience.

There are things you can do and skills you can learn to help you before you have a positive experience, while you are having the experience and after you have the experience.  Each time phase offers you opportunities to make your experiences more likely to happen, stronger, longer, more meaningful and more valuable to you as resources in your life.

But lets talk a bit about WHY positive experiences are so important to your happiness.

Google "what is happiness" and one of the top results that shows up is a list of the top 25 responses to a contest which asked people to define happiness, sponsored by Most of the items on the list are actually specific descriptions of positive experiences or generic descriptions of positive experiences.

Several online dictionaries define happiness as a state of well being or contentment.

Another group suggests that happiness comes from doing good and the feelings that produces.

I say these overlap, or that the second one leads to the first one-- that sense of contentment.

So how do you get to that state? I say that a state of well being or contentment is a point of view. Two people with the exact same circumstances may see things very differently. One may be upset over things missed. The other may be peacefully, blissfully satisfied and contented with things as they are. One may take offense at a current condition. The other may see that condition as needing improvement but not worth getting upset over.

How do these points of view develop in people? I believe that one key element involves the positive experiences they have had and how they deal with positive experiences.

Some people deny and reject positive experiences, minimizing them, ignoring and not appreciating them.

Others make the most of positive experiences, see opportunities for more of them, embrace those opportunities, maximizes the moments during the positive experiences and then, after they've had them, remember them and integrate them into their lives in ways that maximize their happiness-- particularly their point of view.

Lots of Positive experiences set them up to see the world as a more positive, nurturing place where life is good.

Make sense and seem reasonable?

This suggests that if you make even minor changes in your ability to make the most of positive experiences in your life, then you can take charge of your point of view and voluntarily change your attitude.

How can you start?

Begin by looking at the positive experiences you've had in your life. These are not that easy to remember. Make it easier by starting to keep a positive experience or PE diary, preferably every day.

I'll be bringing a lot more tips here to So keep coming back to check for more.

Authors Bio:

Rob Kall is executive editor, publisher and site architect of Positive Experience, President of Futurehealth, Inc, inventor . He is also published regularly on the

He is a frequent Speaker on the bottom up revolution, politics, The art, science and power of story, heroes and the hero's journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of subjects. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for issue positioning, stump speeches and debates. He recently retired as organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. See more of his articles here and, older ones, here