WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT: Why Uganda is Ranked Happiest in E. Africa


By Aliker David martin

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was, the present worst than it is, and the future less resolved than it would be” –Marcel Pagnol (French Writer, producer and Film Director1895-1974)

The UN last week released the first ever World Happiness Report.

In the report, Uganda is ranked the happiest nation in East Africa. Uganda is placed at position 128 out of 156, and followed by Rwanda at 132 out of 156 countries.

Columbia University’s Earth Institute report considered factors like economic and social support, absence of corruption and degree of personal freedom.

According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) Uganda’s inflation rate slumped to 21.2 percent in March from a revised 25.7 percent in February 2012.

The Central Bank of Uganda ramped up its key lending rate to 23 percent last year after inflation soared on the back of high food and fuel prices.

Uganda’s unemployment rate is at 3.5 percent and that of the youth is at a whopping 32.2 percent while for those with degrees, it’s at 36 percent.

In 2007 Transparency International ranked Uganda 117th most corrupt country out of 178 countries in the world Corruption Perception Index (CPI).

The World Bank report (2005) estimated that Uganda loses $ 300m (510b shillings) through corruption and procurement malpractices.

Last week, the government banned a pressure group Activist for Change (A4C). A4C is campaigning for good governance and freedom in Uganda.

Having mentioned all these snapshots of happiness indicators in Uganda, the question is; with all this poor record, why are Ugandans the happiest nation in East Africa? Continue

HAPPINESS: You look fat and good!


By Aliker David Martin

If you have health, you probably will be happy, and if you have health and happiness, you have all the wealth you need, even if it is not all you want.  ~Elbert Hubbard

I have never been concerned about my diet until I came to America. To look fat is never a bad thing in Africa, instead being fat is associated with being happy and healthy. The poor, sick and unhappy are associated with being skinny. One day, as I complemented my American boss who had just returned from a holiday in America; I told her, “you look fat and good; you must have enjoyed your holiday!” All the Americans laughed as all my African colleagues nodded in recognition. My boss was deeply hurt and that’s when I learnt of the stigma of obesity in America. So how can one be fat and happy? Aware that obesity can be a gene, I will make three suggestions:

Eat to live, don’t live to eat. Too much of everything is always bad. Develop the habit to eat with a purpose. Feed the body with foods and drinks that add nutrients to your body cells. If your body cells are happy, your body organs will function in a balanced way even when you are fat. A happy body is a happy mind.

The body just like a car needs routine check up. There is a great addictive feeling moments after working out. You are less likely to see people walking for good health in Africa. America’s self-drive culture to every location is responsible for your poor health. If you cannot afford signing up at a gym, develop the habit of walking daily to the park. It’s also free to run along pedestrian walkways to improve on your blood flow and physical health. This may not make you skinny but happy with your body.

My final suggestion is to obey your body commands. If that body is responsible for making the money, then use the money to feed the body. Virgil says, “The greatest wealth is health.” Give it rest if it demands sleep. Feed it if it demands food and water it if it feels dehydrated. Lets develop a loving relationship with our body and it will make our cells and selves infinitely happier.

HAPPINESS: Step into who you are! Viola Davis-Oscar Nominee


By Aliker David Martin

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.  ~Agnes Repplier

“Be who you are” These were the words of Viola David’s husband. Viola was the best picture nominee “The Help” and best actress nominee at the Oscars 2012 Award Ceremony. To get nominated in any Oscar Awards is a great accomplishment in the movie industry. Other than the beauty and glamour of the Oscars, Viola’s perspective of self was outstanding. Whoever walked on the red carpet at the Oscars exuded excellence self but Viola decided to rock the occasion in her natural cropped hairstyle.

In an interview Viola said,” I felt like this project forced me to step into who I was, the choice of playing a maid in 1963,with a broken dialect and having to defend my choice”. Life indeed is a theatre, we find ourselves playing different roles before our audiences. The lesson from Viola is to be who you are. Growing up in Africa, we tried to be anything we watched on television. The same applies to the young people today. They try to be what they are not hence remaining mediocre. I am sure if Michael Jordan tried to be Michael Jackson, he would have failed miserably. But he chose to be himself. We are all unique in different ways, so strive to be the best that you can be and not the best you can be of another person.

Ziggy Marley, the son of legendary Bob Marley sung a song True To Myself .He encourages us to do what we feel and not fool ourselves because he can’t make us happy if he is not happy. Therefore, be yourself and when you find happiness, you will make others happy. Stars like Michael Jordan, Michael Jackson and Viola Davis were true to themselves and found happiness before they could make us Happy.

 

 

HAPPINESS: Celebrating Valentine’s Day Online


By Aliker David Martin
Those who bring sunshine into the life of others cannot keep it from themselves- J. M. Barrie, nineteenth century Scottish novelist

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius established February 14th as a holiday in honor of Saint Valentine in the Roman calendar. Pope Paul VI later deleted it in 1969. I learnt about Valentine day later in life as a day lovers display their affection for each other by buying flowers.
This year just like last year, I am celebrating the day away from my wife. Because of time deference, they will reach Valentines Day while we are still on the eve of the day. So we agreed on an online date as an expression of our love. My most humorous moment was when she reminded me of our first valentine date. I got pissed off because she would not dress up in valentine colors. It was not our style and tradition. My wife is an astute realist, she felt awkward and weird practicing a tradition that she didn’t believe in. I then told her how stressed and ridiculous I felt for the first time when I went to buy flowers. The flowers were not only expensive but also I chickened out when I realized I had to hold the flowers in public; use public means of transport and meet her among her friends. I knew this would generate a lot of negative talk about imitating western lifestyle and our artificial love. She laughed so hard into tears because I had not told her my experience. We certainly agreed this was not our style; we could still express our affection for each other daily like sharing jokes and pictures of our children, caring for each others feelings and continuously professing our love for each other without having to wait for Valentines day and most importantly respecting each other by committing ourselves never to indulge in acts that would bring to disrepute our family pride and dignity.
At the end of the day, I realized I was so happy yet I could not point out particularly why I was happy the whole day. It downed on me how much we were in love with each other and I just had a good conversation with a good friend-my wife. Oliver Wendall Holmes says, “Love is the master key that opens the gate of Happiness”. Therefore,make every day a Valentine’s Day in your relationship. Make it a habit to bring sunshine into someones life and you bring it unto yourself.

HAPPINESS: Six more award nominations for my Blog


In 2011, I started The Happiness Blog to inspire and bring happiness to as many people as I could online. Just like the saying,”you get what you give” I didn’t know it would bring me this joy. Little did  I know it will improve my writing skills. I also didn’t know I have a talent that could gain acknowledgment and recognition from different distinguished people from different continents.Sarah Ban Breathnach once said,”Real life isn’t always going to be perfect or go our way, but the recurring acknowledgement of what is working can help us not only survive but surmount our difficulties”. Nothing has brought me more happiness than blogging in many months. On this note, I would like to humbly accept this nominations and thank authors of the following blogs:

Jennifer Vidal  http://misformarriageandmotherhood.wordpress.com/about/

Andrea http://andreacarbax.wordpress.com/about/

Jonathan http://237blessed.wordpress.com/about/

Connie Wayne http://ahopefortoday.com/about-m/

Amira   http://mindblur.wordpress.com/about-2/

This outstanding bloggers inspired me to realize my potential, they could inspire you too. If you believe in the power of words to change lives,please visit their blog and see why they are unique and spectacularly a sensation. That click could change your life.

THE GENUINE BLOGGER AWARDS

Two bloggers nominated me for this award. Jennifer and Andrea nominated me for the this award. Honestly, I follow Jennifers blog religiously. I don’t only follow her because of her religious content but because she inspires me every other day to be a better family man. She also writes from the heart. Andrea has a very artistic nature of presenting her ideas. Her writing style is so poetic and appealing to me for the time I have followed her blog.

Since there seem to be no procedure to follow to nominate any one, I would like to nominate:

http://willofheart.wordpress.com/

http://granbee.wordpress.com/

LIEBSTER BLOG AWARD

At this point it’s not surprising that I am one of Jennifers’ top four bloggers. That’s why she has also nominated me for this Liebster Blog Award.

I am therefore not going to get tired of appreciating her for being such a great fan of my writing and a great friend too. The small things that one does in one’s life gets a long way in making them a better person but most important is that it takes you further in life.

The rules of this award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Hope that the people you’ve sent the award to forward it to their five favorite bloggers and keep it going!

MY NOMINATIONS

As expected of this nominations, I have the  honor to nominate five (5) out standing bloggers to this Award. There is no doubt that I have hundreds of bloggers I admire,however I’m obliged to follow the Awards rules.My Awards go to; I can hear drum-rolls  :)

http://workthedream.wordpress.com/

http://fivereflections.wordpress.com/

http://danieladamian.wordpress.com/

http://twopartswhimsicalonepartpeculiar.wordpress.com/

http://kweschn.wordpress.com/

THE KING OF KINGS AWARD

To be a king is an expression of the highest regard a blogger can have of you. I do hope this blog will inspire me to have a good Kings generosity to give and not expect back the wisdom of Happiness. While this award to me is for my passion in promoting the Kingdom of God, I believe there are many bloggers I have encountered online who share my values and appreciation of life. I will therefore nominate bloggers whose message has inspired me in my spiritual journey and life.

http://eof737.wordpress.com/

http://insidethemindofisadora.wordpress.com/

http://www.amberrisme.com/

http://mmejocelyne.wordpress.com/

http://fourbluehills.com/

With great pleasure, these are my nominations for King of Kings Award. i do hope that visiting their blogs inspires you  and makes you a better person.

HOPE UNITES GLOBALLY AWARD

http://hopesfortoday.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/hug-award1.png.

http://ahopefortoday.com/2012/01/14/hope-unites-globally-hug-award-guidelines/.

Connie Wayne is my latest blogging Hero. I am so much taken up by her works that if she had not been the author of this award, I would gladly nominate her to this award. I certainly find my self in the highest happiness index to realize that I am among the people she has nominated after creating this Award. This is a very special blog award with a more comprehensive regulation for one to take part in the nomination awards.

I will therefore nominate one special blogger. I have always turned to her writing in my spiritual journey.Her writing keeps me much stronger in faith. God is Good is a blog that gives me a clearer purpose in life and a better understanding of who I am.

http://godtestimonies.wordpress.com/about/

Conclusively, this has been a long blog post. I however would like to thank every one who signed up to receive my blog post every time I make a post. We are in hundreds and more keep signing up daily. It’s no more about me and my passion for happiness. It’s about our desire to find and share happiness.This year our dream is to turn this ideas to practical aspects of bringing happiness to those who need it. I will be grateful to receive any ideas of practicing or bringing happiness to every one’s life.Thank you so much.

HAPPINESS: If you can dream it you can achieve it


By Aliker David Martin

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world”. Harriet Tubman

Fearless Dreamers

I have just finished reading a book, No More Nightmares. It’s a book by Beverly Ann Dexter, PhD. She writes on how to overcome nightmares by using planned dream interventions. It occurred to me that the most shocked people about my scholarship at University of San Diego are those who either thought getting an American scholarship by a Ugandan (African) was a broad day nightmare or I was not good enough.

When I was born, my parents named me after Dr. Aliker Martin. He is one of the pioneers to win an American scholarship in my village. He was so outstanding that village mates would stand by the roadside to receive him when he returned from studies. This is what happiness meant to me. I always dreamt of an American scholarship.

According to Ian K. Smith, a New York Times best-selling author of the book The Fat Smash Diet, dreams are the powerful creations of our imagination. They inspire us during times of difficulty and inspire us when we become too complacent. Even when I was hassling in the conflicts in Africa and struggling to find what to eat, I kept dreaming. I believe the happiest people are fearless dreamers. They use their imagination to create hope and possibilities.

I suppose, you are questioning yourself how dreaming brings you happiness. I have learnt that the act of imagining an outcome is enough to change your mood. Every day that I imagined the possibilities of success, my mood relayed a positive attitude on life. Even while I borrowed shirts in school to take pictures, it never stopped me from smiling for the camera.

Conclusively sometimes in life, you can be too close to the trees to see the forest. Mentally remove yourself from that difficult situation through imagination to get a bigger and clearer picture of the future. Believe in the power of imaginations to bring you happiness.

HAPPINESS: 5 Secrets to a Happy and Prosperous New Year


By Aliker David Martin

“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not people or things” Albert Einstein

A new year of new opportunities

It is the time of the year when every one is taking stock of their lives. Many are making resolutions while others have given up on making resolutions. According to them, it doesn’t work and it’s not necessary. One of my greatest friends always told me,” subject the mind in a state of free flow and only allow yourself to follow it where it takes you”. Like many of those who have given up on making resolutions, he has settled in a comfort zone. While at university, I also heard a student say, “If a Lizard is to put on a trouser, it must know where to place its tail”. Therefore, if you want to be happy and prosperous in 2012, you need to know what to do. Here are my five suggestions:

What is your potential?

The worst form of disability is the inability to know your potential. Do you ever take time to reflect on your strengths? Every one must have a habit to daily meditate on their strengths and weaknesses. This will stimulate the mind to dream and how to meet the dream. The gap between your dream and your current reality can only be filled through a commitment to maximize your potential.

Ask yourself if you have any goals in 2012

Opportunity is only for those who are  ready. If you don’t have a goal, you can never be meaningfully happy with any achievement. Having a goal gives you focus to grow in an area of your strengths. This is what people celebrate as a happy and prosperous year.

Do you have a time plan to achieve your new year’s goals?

My teacher used to refer to the adage, ”failure to plan is planning to fail”. Achieving your goals is not an automatic thing. Many people have wishes not goals. To develop a wish into a goal, you have to draft a plan on how to achieve the goal. Besides developing a plan, you must make a daily commitment to purposely follow the plan.

Does your environment support your goal plan?

High achievers need to keep an achievers mindset. This also implies you keep the company of those who boost your chances of achieving your goal plan. This reflects the saying, “show me your friend and I will tell you who you are”. If your dream is to be a CEO of a company, think like one and act like one. Dress up like the CEO of your company.

Are you ready for change?

To achieve a goal is to accept change. The problem is most people want to achieve a goal but not accept change. You cannot eat your cake and have it just like you cannot become a CEO and not change the lifestyle. Many people resist change and this derails them from achieving their goal.

So if you want a happy and prosperous new year, you should identify your potential and set a goal. Place your self in an environment that allows you to achieve your goals and accept change.

Versatile Blogger Awards


Thank you bloggers for both nominations in the Versatile Blogger Awards.Particularly, I would like to appreciate the kind generosity of;

http://buildingbridgesoverswans.wordpress.com/

http://reviewingshelf.wordpress.com/

In accepting this awards, I am obligated to;

  1. Thank the Award giver and link back to them in my blog post
  2. Share seven things about myself
  3. Pass this award along to recently discovered logs you enjoy reading
  4. Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award and post the award picture

I would like to thank the award givers for acknowledging my blog.This definitely brings me joy and Happiness that I write about and so passionate about. It’s a very kind and generous offer that I humbly accept from two prominent and distinguished bloggers.

Seven things about my self:

  1. I am not a virgin
  2. I have a pot Belly but I am not fat and I love it
  3. I am a proud practicing christian(Catholic)
  4. My best night time is best spent at the bar with loud music but I am not an alcoholic but a “night bird”
  5. I am a Rotarian and also attend Pearl Habor Toastmasters club
  6. I am a social media addict
  7. I am a very jolly happy person who enjoys making others happy

I am awarding the Versatile Bloggers award to friends who have rocked my world lately.While hundreds of blog have inspired me lately, I award only allows 15 bloggers.

  1. http://jajsamos.wordpress.com/
  2. http://lscotthoughts.com/
  3. http://godtestimonies.wordpress.com/
  4. http://mochola.wordpress.com/
  5. http://jessiejeanine.com/
  6. http://willofheart.wordpress.com/
  7. http://granbee.wordpress.com/
  8. http://worshipandswag.wordpress.com/
  9. http://iamforchange.wordpress.com/
  10. http://misformarriageandmotherhood.wordpress.com/
  11. http://justsimplyinlove.wordpress.com/
  12. http://joypassiondesire.wordpress.com/
  13. http://toughmindedoptimism.wordpress.com/
  14. http://auroramorealist.wordpress.com/
  15. http://writersfield.wordpress.com/

HAPPINESS: Be kind as you celebrate Christmas


By Aliker David Martin

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles.  It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.  ~Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Aliker uses Smart Board

How do you celebrate an achievement? It could be through a hearty laughter or dancing like the football stars celebrating a touchdown. While other people celebrate Christmas season by eating and drinking, I chose an act of kindness that would bring me fulfillment.

One of my best friends invited me over for Christmas with a fully paid flight. We met in Africa while he was an intern student of Notre Dame. I felt obligated to pass on the kindness. I decided to spend time in an elementary school visiting pupils with autism before they could break off for Christmas. I was greatly inspired by the world of possibilities in the lives of these children. Indeed, disability is not inability. My greatest sensation was seeing the children use Apple installed operating system in Smart Boards. Smart Board is an interactive white board developed by Smart Technologies. Relating and listening to these children gave me a strong sense of purpose. Any effort to meet our sense of purpose brings us happiness. Besides, I also treated my self in the evening to a great dish and some drinks. If you treat your self-kindly, it will reciprocate the gesture by bringing you joy and high spirits.

Having said that, I implore you to identify a sense of purpose this festive season and be kind. In Dalai Lama’s words, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion” Give yourself a treat to find happiness this festive season. A good massage could be so rewarding to the body just like an act of kindness brings you inner joy and fulfillment.

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year