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Harmonizing for Happiness

Copyright 2005 Julian Kalmar

Harmonizing is a means of becoming happier by aligning yourself with the way the world is unfolding.

To illustrate, imagine yourself in a moving crowd. If the crowd changes direction and you stubbornly insist on traveling in a straight line at the same speed, there will be collisions, upset, and maybe even a fight.

Amazingly, this is how a lot of people operate - indifferent to the discord they are creating around themselves. They unknowingly create tension and unrest because they don't know how to harmonize with their environment.

def. Harmonizing 'the intentional process of
making small changes in your choice of actions
to enhance the greater good."

Two primary means of creating harmony are: altering the timing, and altering the location of your actions. Consider the following example, which has the potential for discord.

Let's say you have two things to accomplish one quiet Saturday morning: packaging up and taking three boxes to the post office, and writing a proposal. Just as you sit down to write the proposal, your neighbor starts mowing his lawn. The noise is unbearably distracting.

You have several options. You could try to write the proposal in spite of the noise, but you'll probably just get angry at your neighbor. You could try to find another place to write, although that could be very inconvenient. You could plead with your neighbor to delay the lawn-mowing, but that would likely upset his plans. Or, you could package up your three boxes first and head to the post office. By the time you return, the mowing will be over. Clearly, the most harmonious option is the last one.

By becoming sensitive to the first inklings of inharmony, and then actively considering whether you can alter the timing or location of your actions, you can significantly improve your happiness level.

Timing and location changes aren't the only ways to increase harmony, however.

Consider the lawn-mowing example again. What if your neighbor really needs to mow at exactly the same time that you must write your proposal? Both of you have committed to schedules that put you in each other's way. Now what?

How about this? Tell your neighbor that you'd be happy to mow his lawn for him if you could have this quiet time you so desperately need. Not only does this solve both of your problems, it breeds good will. Next time he'll mow your lawn when he does his. Rather than struggling through the noise and getting secretly angry at your neighbor, you've found a solution that makes you friendlier to one another.

This goes beyond the 'win-win' situation - where competitors each try to get their fair share. It actually creates harmony and friendship by enhancing good will. I call these, 'harmonizing solutions.' Everyone gets what they need, and friendship is bolstered.

Creating harmonizing solutions requires two things: good will and creativity. Begin with good will and then imagine creative ways to help each other succeed. A harmonious solution can almost always be found. Happiness is the natural byproduct.


Julian Kalmar is part of a small think tank dedicated to spreading happiness throughout the world. More happiness teachings are available in his 4-CD audio collection, 'Happiness: The Highest Gift.' (See

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