The Happiness Assignment

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(NOTE: Three Assignments, Three Documents)
The Happiness Assignment
Length: 1000 words minimum (typed, double spaced 12 pt. Times New Roman).
Bring a thesis and 3-4 topic sentences to class on Thursday, Jul 7.
Final draft due Wednesday, Jul. 13.
The Happiness Assignment
We all want to be happy, so why can’t we just decide to be happy? If I wake up tomorrow morning and tell myself, “Today, I’m going to be happy,” why doesn’t it work? If we are asked what makes us happy, we often point to external factors in our lives (family, friends, work, wealth, possessions), and yet we all know of people who have much but are miserable. We also know of people who have little and are happy. Often we locate our happiness in the future: “I will be happy when I get that job, buy that car, or find that perfect person to share my life with.” Or we equate happiness with fun; “The more fun I have, the happier I am.” And yet, when older people reflect upon the happiest moments of their lives, they often involved overcoming difficulties and strife. This research essay examines happiness as a concept worthy of academic examination by focusing on the many misconceptions people have about what it is and how it is attained.
Fortunately, you have read (or will have read) several works that address happiness For this assignment, respond to the following prompt in a cogent, thesis driven paper: Based upon your readings and research for this paper, what are the most significant misconceptions about happiness most people have?
What misconceptions do people have? Are they unaware of the degree to which happiness can (or cannot) be attained? Are people unaware of the kinds of steps they can take to make themselves happier? Do they overestimate the role some aspect of their life plays in happiness? Do they underestimate the importance of some other aspect? Since the prompt seems to invite you to focus on your own learning, you might be tempted to use first person pronouns (I, me, my, etc.). Avoid that temptation! Instead, assume what you have learned is information most people don’t know, so instead of what you didn’t know before, you can write about what most people don’t. That way, you don’t need to use I or me.
Incorporate at least two of the class reading assignments listed below and one legitimate resource you found on your own.
Ben-Shahar, Tal. Happier
Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly. “If We are So Rich, Why Aren’t We Happy?”
Lyubomirsky, Sonja. “How Happy are You and Why?”
Seligman, Martin. Flourish
Rubin, Gretchen. The Happiness Project
Before submitting your final draft, re-read the following:
1. Your paper must have an introduction that includes a clear thesis, stated early. Each body paragraph must have a topic sentence, and you must have a conclusion.
2. Your paper must have an original and creative title.
3. You must have a Works Cited page, and you must use in-text citations.
4. Keep the length of your quotations to minimum. Your reader will want to know how every word in your quotation is doing useful work through analysis—that’s a lot of work! Most long passages can be reduced with ellipses (…) and paraphrase. 5. As always, do not use second person (you, your, etc.) at all.
6. Proofread, proofread, proofread. The occasional typo is acceptable, but too many simple errors may suggest to your reader you do not care what grade you get.
7. Please use MLA format as described in Bedford. Any outside sources, including web pages, must be properly cited.
8. Don’t forget to include your word count.
Journal #4–Three Good Things Reflection
Now that June is over, you can stop writing your “Three Good Things” journal (of course, you can keep at it if you want). So for Journal #4, make a list of 16 entries (the best moment of each one of the last 16 days of June), and submit it here. Also, as you look back over your “Three Good Things” journal, tell me about your best day of the second half of June, the day when everything went right, and why you think everything clicked that day. What part did you play in its success? 250 word min (not counting the list). Post the word count at the bottom.
Journal #5–Results of Character Strength Applied
Describe and analyze how well applying a signature character strength to a task went for you (the subject of Journal #3). Maybe it worked, maybe it didn’t. Maybe partway through you forgot to apply your strength, or you discovered another strength would better apply to improving the task. Just be honest. How close or far away from “flow” were you? (150 word min.). Post the word count at the bottom.

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