Bob Dylan’s Wife

“I looked at the menu, then I looked at my wife. The one thing about her that I always loved was that she was never one of those people who thinks that someone else is the answer to their happiness. Me or anybody else. She’s always had her own built-in happiness.”  – Bob Dylan in Chronicles


I ran across this quote a few weeks ago and have been thinking about it ever since.

At first I thought, longingly, wouldn’t it be great to have my own built-in happiness?

Next, I realized I do have my own built-in happiness in certain areas of my life. Hey, when I’m by myself, or doing something I enjoy, I’m happy. I love my own companionship, and (despite the frequent dislike I feel toward my own thighs, aging body, and inability to make decisions without agonizing for awhile first) I don’t have problems recognizing what makes me happy in my personal life.

But then, I don’t seem to have my own built-in happiness in my work life. In fact, in my work life, it seems I lean toward a built-in unhappiness. No matter how good I have things, I can’t seem to find that “ahh” feeling. At my last job, I made really good money and got to work at home, but other aspects of the job—-including a corporate merger, incompetent people, unfair work practices, etc.—-became intolerable. At my current job, I work with wonderful, warm people, and I like what our organization does overall, but I am generally bored with my work.

Now, would a “happier” person—-one with more built-in happiness—-have been able to find satisfaction in one of these jobs, or both of them? And what would it take for me to find that?

Do I even have the capability to have built-in happiness at any job? If so, can I still find it here, or do I need to move on in order to find it?

And when does built-in happiness stop being inherent and start depending on the all the external factors–pay, people, comfort level, the interestingness of the work, etc? And is it too much to ask to have a job that is interesting and that keeps me occupied for most of every day? Truly, I ask this sincerely. Do most people have this?

Anyhoo, in the last couple of weeks, I’ve been OK with my job because I’ve been relatively busy. Maybe it’s not too late to salvage this job, as my attitude has greatly improved with the increased amount of work to do. I still have time to blog away, but my brain hasn’t had the endless hours to while away as usual. So today, I’m taking advantage of this great feeling, whether it’s built-in or not.

During my 10 years in sales, we often got “pep talks” about how your attitude is so important and that someone who is upbeat can get anything done. Your typical “attitude is everything” lecture. I found these incredibly irritating. Some companies act as if their employees’ bad attitudes have nothing to do with their (the companies’) work conditions,  managerial decisions, payscale, minimal time off, stupid rules, idiotic bosses, etc. It makes me laugh. Yes, attitude is critical, no matter what—but I believe a great attitude and good working conditions feed on each other.

None of which answers my questions about having a built-in happiness. What is the secret to cultivating happiness so that it’s “built in”? How did this snapdragon do it? No one had to talk her into having a great day.

She seems to have an inherent perkiness about her

She seems to have an inherent perkiness about her






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