Barbara’s 7 Ingredients of Happiness

August 30, 2023

So, why are we talking about happiness? Three reasons; Number 1, my wife of 56 years Barbara (met in High School) and I had an extraordinary life together. I called her The Sunshine Girl because she was always happy and she taught me how to be happy, too. To our surprise, our unintended example seemed to have a powerful effect on those around us. Barbara died in 2019. This is her legacy.

Number 2, In 2021 A friend and I, after three years of work, in the middle of Covid 19 published a book about Decency and Civility, The Decency Code © 2021, McGraw Hill. It failed. In the process, we discovered that many successful people are happy. Decency is the critical ingredient in achieving happiness. And yet for so many more the accolades, gratitude, and recognition they expected would come with their success never happened. But it can. If you help it happen.

Number 3, Happiness comes to those who help others create it for themselves. It’s The Platinum Rule, “Help others achieve those things they feel are meaningful, helpful, and important to others, but who need help completing what they hope to accomplish.” Do good things for others, doing good things for others, and all will do good things for you.

Throughout much of our life together we deferred talking about how our happiness occurred. Frankly, we figured that if we talked about it, we’d probably mess it up. But toward the end of her life, and people knew about her illness, they pressed us to talk more about this topic. The result of our conversations is the list below. We share them here because they might help you, as they helped us.

  • Intentionally say nice things about and to each other in private and publicly every day, everywhere.
  • Avoid saying the two or three divisive, corrosive, “Get-even” things you might really want to mention every day. Let them go.
  • Always better to be positive or blah than negative or inflammatory.
  • Rid your lives of negative, irritating, and intentionally abrasive people. Walk away. Skip the goodbyes. Immediate happiness happens.
  • Make every day simple, sensible, and satisfying for yourself and for others.
  • Maintain a genuine respect for those you care about 24/7.
  • Place the responsibility for your success on those closest to you or who really care about you.

Do this every day and the payoff is immediate and pleasant. What are your happiness ingredients? Please send them to me and we’ll build a powerful running list of more happiness ingredients. Email me at