Bryan Cohen here, guest poster and author, promoting my new book The Post-College Guide to Happiness for The Happiness Blog Tour. I'm giving away free digital review copies of the book and doing a giveaway for paperback copies, audio copies and even a Kindle Fire! Read on and check out the info below the post.
"If you were all alone in the universe with no one to talk to, no one with which to share the beauty of the stars, to laugh with, to touch, what would be your purpose in life? It is other life, it is love, which gives your life meaning. This is harmony. We must discover the joy of each other, the joy of challenge, the joy of growth." - Mitsugi Saotome
People and Happiness
As someone who spent three years working as a barista at a popular coffee conglomerate, I've certainly had my moments of loving and hating people. You really can see the best and worst of people when you see hundreds of people a day as early as early can be. Add in the chemical dependency of caffeine and you can see people at all points of the emotional spectrum. Through that job, I had people yell at me, laugh with me, curse at me and tip me. Thankfully, more folks were on the positive side of the equation here, but I certainly had my moments in which I wanted to quit society for good.
I see several social media posts a month that show the same sentiment. The posts say that they hate people, that society sucks and that certain folks deserve to die. These are harsh words shared only with friends but you and I both know people who would say that sort of thing when pushed to the brink.
And yet. How can one have happiness without overcoming this distaste for certain types of people? In my final few months working at the shop, when I knew that I was heading out to greener pastures for a career in writing full-time, I fully began to appreciate people with a passion. I had always been a generally happy and genuine barista and I liked most of our customers. It was at that point though that I began to appreciate the folks I didn't like so much. There are always going to be people who challenge you. As Saotome says in the quote, happiness resides in finding a joy to that challenge. When people are difficult toward you or around you, it's like a test to see if you can get through the experience without letting it get you down. This examination to prove your mettle is meant to determine if you can treat this person with respect and care even if you aren't getting it back in return.
This is not an easy feat. I failed this test many times working behind that counter, but over time I learned how to strengthen my resolve against the toughest of customers. As I grew more effective at dealing with people, I noticed that my abilities translated to other parts of my life. This skill improved my relationships with my girlfriend, parents and friends. I felt more of a connection to people working other jobs that dealt with customers. The best result of this improvement, however, was that I found increased happiness in all kinds of people, even the jerks.
Improve how you handle people and you will improve yourself and your attitude. As much as you may think you want to sometimes, you can't live in a bubble and you'd hate it even more if you could. People are awesome. People are happiness.
Bryan Cohen is giving away 61 paperback and audio copies of The Post-College Guide to Happiness and a Kindle Fire between now and May 7th, 2012 on The Happiness Blog Tour. All entrants receive a free digital review copy of The Post-College Guide to Happiness. Bryan hopes to give away at least 1,000 copies during the blog tour. To enter, post a comment with your e-mail address or send an e-mail to postcollegehappiness (at) gmail.com. Bryan will draw the names at the end of the tour. Entries will be counted through Sunday, May 6th.
Bryan Cohen is a writer, actor and comedian from Dresher, Pennsylvania. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2005 with degrees in English and Dramatic Art and a minor in Creative Writing. He has written nine books including 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts: Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More, 500 Writing Prompts for Kids: First Grade through Fifth Grade, Writer on the Side: How to Write Your Book Around Your 9 to 5 Job and his new book, 1,000 Character Writing Prompts: Villains, Heroes and Hams for Scripts, Stories and More. His website Build Creative Writing Ideas helps over 25,000 visitors a month to push past writer's block and stay motivated.
Feel free to follow along with the tour at The Happiness Blog Tour Hub Page or on the book's Facebook Page.