The Fourth Cardinal Rule

As part of my reflection into the 7 Cardinal Rules For Life, yesterday we took a look at which deals with not comparing ourselves to others. Since I’m not always one to follow lists to the T (unless it is a shopping list….), today we’ll go backward and look at the Fourth Cardinal Rule:
“No one is in charge of your happiness except you.”
At first blush, this is a no-brainer, right? Walk with me down this (perhaps) familiar path: “I’m gonna be SO PSYCHED if the (enter sports team here) win tonight,” or “Man, if (insert artist’s name here) doesn’t win a Grammy, I’m gonna be TICKED!” See what I mean? In each of these situations, the outcome of an event that the speaker had NO CONTROL over was being allowed to dictate their mood. Why do we tend to do that? I’ll probably (hopefully?) catch some flack for this opinion, but perhaps people tend to give away this power because it makes it easier to shift blame/responsibility.
Huh? Yep. “why are you in a bad mood?” “The singer I wanted to win lost. Stupid judges. It’s their fault that I’m in a bad mood.” See? Easy.
Does that mean we can’t be happy for other people? NOPE. I believe that we should be happy FOR people, but to use caution with being happy BECAUSE of people. I recently read somewhere online (so it HAS to be true!) that, as it relates to the Fourth Cardinal Rule, we should try to not rely on externals for our happiness since they can ALL be taken away. We should try, then, to rely on OURSELVES as a source of happiness.

The Fourth Cardinal Rule. Kinda.
Find your own Happines.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I suck at this. I am healthy. I have a wonderful family who is also healthy. My wife and son love me (most days!), I have a great job(s), my extended family is healthy, etc. etc., so by all rights I should be ‘happy’. Most days, I’m not, though. I’m just ‘meh.’ In the coming weeks and months I will be making an effort to regain control of my happiness; to tip the balance back toward ME allowing MYSELF to be a source of happiness for myself. (“Allow myself to introduce….myself.” -A.Powers-)
What say you? How are some ways that YOU can find inner sources of happiness? Sharing is caring…

Be Well, Do Good.



  1. Me too, BigZig!! I have been telling myself that every day for the last week, when something I had no control over really upset me. (It did hurt my feelings, but I realized the actions were not aimed at me in any way.) It’s tough, but it’s something to keep working on. Here’s to finding our happiness.

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