Wednesday, July 18, 2018

The 40 Percent Solution

In the US, although untrue, the elderly are considered slow witted, chronically ill, and a drain on society. I am over 70.
An abundance of money, which has been proven not to be a source of happiness, is still considered a status symbol. I do not have a lot of money.
Uneducated people are not taken seriously. I do not have a college degree.
Like a lack of education and money, having an abundance of time is considered shameful. I have a lot of time.
All of these beliefs are untrue, yet by America’s standards, I am not considered successful and to finish me off, I should not be happy.  Yet, the people I meet have called me a firecracker, an alligator, fiercely independent and have described me as whooshing into a room.  The most common description of me?  She’s an INSPIRATION.
I can’t explain people’s reactions to me. It is as if a label were tattooed on my forehead. This curious responses have me baffled. My only explanation is that I do not fit their expectations.
Sonja Lyubomirsky a psychologist at the University of California, Riverside proposes that roughly 50 percent of happiness is determined by genes (i.e., totally out of your control). I am convinced I wasn’t born with happy genes.  I fought depression during much of my adult life.
 Roughly 10 percent of a person’s happiness is determined by circumstance (i.e., somewhat out of your control). A death or disaster or famine and illness can douse the happy spark. I have certainly had my share of circumstances and even considered suicide.
The final 40 percent chance at happiness is determined by your thoughts, actions, and attitudes (i.e., entirely within your control). You can see why Lyubomirsky titled her research, The 40 Percent Solution.
Wouldn’t it seem that the United States, which celebrates so much abundance and success, (27 Things Which America Is Ranked Number One) would also have the happiest people residing within its borders?
But it is not so. America recently ranked 18th in the U.N.’s “World Happiness Report,”
So why are so many unhappy? 
52 percent of students reported feeling hopeless, while 39 percent suffered from such severe depression.
At the University of Pennsylvania, there’s even a slang term for the grim mask of discontent that accompanies this condition: “Penn Face.” We could go further and diagnose a national case of “USA Face,”
Two years ago The New York Times reported the suicide rate is at a 30 year high and growing.
For middle-aged women, ages 45 to 64, suicide jumped by 63 percent over the period of the study, while it rose by 43 percent for men in that age range, the sharpest increase for males of any age. The overall suicide rate rose by 24 percent from 1999 to 2014, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, which released the study on Friday.

Call to Action
Help someone find their way.

 We need to know why.
Here is your chance to make a difference, There are many in need to hear suggestions from you, my readers and fans –– your personal suggestions using only the 40% solution.
In other words, how have you changed your thoughts or attitude in order to become happier?
 What actions have you taken that made you happier?
More money or education can only be your answer if you changed your actions in order to achieve more money or more education. (Taken a second job to pay for your education or volunteered in a field of your interest to learn more, etc.)
Do not answer religion.
Instead explain only how it changed your thoughts, your attitude or your actions. (Because of my religion I began to do,   my attitude changed toward ….?  I no longer thought…?)
Take this opportunity to reach out and help one another.  It is time to begin connecting with one another.
The raindrop never takes responsibility for the flood.


Janice’s older sister, Margaret, wanted to believe that the L.A. doctors at Cedars Sinai Medical Center held a magical deck of cards, but after eight years of treatment they dealt their final card. The Hospice card. No miracles for Margaret. Janice reassures her big sister she will be there, holding her hand every step of the way.
On a death watch, you get to know things about a person you wish you didn’t. It is like a roller coaster ride. And like most rides, it brings us back to the place we began, reminding us of who we were and who we have become.
The twists and turns of Janice’s emotional journey transports her back through the repercussions of her teen pregnancy and into the present estrangement from her daughter, whom she has not heard from for the last sixteen years.
Coming to terms with the grief of losing her sweet Margaret, and dealing with her fear of a lonely future is too much for Janice to imagine. When Margaret’s soul goes to rest in L.A. heaven, how will Janice face the emptiness? Will there be such a thing as a Grieving Gift?

The death of Judy Howard’s husband gave the author a wake up call. Life is short. Howard sold her pet grooming business, which she had operated since the age of eleven and engaged full throttle into her new passions of writing and traveling.
Judy Howard’s writing career expands across many genres, including memoir, romantic mystery, reality fiction, travel and young adult, and now with THE GRIEVING GIFT, an autobiographical novel.
In all of Howard’s books the theme is always the same - overcoming life’s difficulties.
Judy lives full-time in her Winnebago motorhome with her cat, Sportster,   traveling across the country as a motivational speaker and offering writing seminars.
When Judy and Sportster are not traveling, they spend their time in Sun City, California.

Oh, and don’t forget!! Readers’ reviews  keep writers motivated.


Other books by Judy Howard: JUDY’S AMAZON  AUTHOR  PAGE

Sportster's Blog: The Cat's Perspective Of Reading, Writing And Life

Click on the link below to find out more about Judy's books.

Safe travels!





  1. Hi Judy,
    I can't say I was ever depressed. I have felt anxiety, though. That started in the 4th grade, due to pressures of school.

    Somehow, I built habit patterns that made the anxiety worse... putting off studying, getting up at the last minute to just get to school barely on time. These habits stayed with me.

    Some of the problem was self-esteem; I bought my (bipolar) Mom's paradigm which was no-win.

    Realizing the habit patterns through a few sessions of therapy, set off the dominoes which eventually all collapsed, leaving me an astonishing sense of freedom.

    My parents' authoritarianism left me with a lot of skepticism of authority figures. That's served me well, too, especially in the workplace! Although it sometimes resulted in an early departure from same, this was beneficial in the long run.

    Finally, discovering the loving, generous, forgiving God sealed the deal for me. I say "discovering" because looking back, I see He's always been there, loving me and trying to help.

    That's the executive summary. I keep learning more every day.

    Thankful to be on the green side of the grass,

  2. Daniel, thank you for your insight. I believe anxiety is a twin brother of depression. Learning more every day makes living worthwhile. It is when we compare our "green Grass" to other's that we set ourselves up for despair.

  3. I've recently embarked on a writing career. I've had to ask myself (many times) how would I define success as a writer? I don't think I can look at numbers (books sold or money made) ... but is it simply defined as a sense of satisfaction by releasing the stories within? Your post is inspiring and I thank you for encouraging me today.

    1. Dear Cozy Book Nook,
      We all are unique as are our stories. Because we have a desire to release our tales, it is evidence that it must be done. Where else does desire come from?