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Post Column: Make the decision to be a happier person

I’ve been really lacking in ideas lately.

It’s kind of hard to motivate myself to do anything but briefly consider doing the readings for my history classes while taking a break every 15 seconds to gaze wistfully out my window.

Fed up and disgusted with my laziness, I finally decided to do something productive with my time: watch Netflix.

This really cutesy-looking documentary kept popping up on the home screen. The cover had a blue background with the word “Happy” spelled out in clouds, along with the bottom of a smiley face that looked suspiciously similar to the one McDonald’s uses in their subpar advertising.

I’m all about cutesy — and happiness — so I made my friend Chelsie sit with me for two and a half hours to watch this documentary that’s only an hour and 15 minutes long. Shout-out to the stellar Internet connection in Bryan Hall.

Among the cast of delightful characters in the film was a rickshaw driver, a guy from Louisiana we named “Power Chair Bill” (he was neither named Bill nor in a power chair), a surfer, a woman who got run over by a car and a woman in Japan whose husband died.

There was also a really awkward part that involved a huge, sweaty man (I mean literally sweating through his shirt) trying to be hip and relatable to a crowd of middle-schoolers and a creepy Donnie Darko-esque scene in which he called up a “courageous” 12-year-old boy who cried in front of his entire school about being picked on while the man rested his hands ever so gently upon the boy’s shoulders.

All weirdness aside, it was a pretty decent look at how people from around the world find their own ways to be happy.

According to the documentary, only 10 percent of our happiness is influenced by our circumstances. The other 90 percent comes from our genetic makeup and our choices.

That is a little mind-boggling. I had no idea that genetics influenced our mood, but apparently each person is born with a unique “range of happiness,” and no matter what happens to us, we will always come back to our “set-point” of happiness.

Don’t use this as an excuse to mope around all the time, but it puts into perspective why everyone deals with situations and life as a whole in vastly different ways.

I honestly thought the premise would be a lot more lighthearted than it was. The poor lady who got dragged around and then squashed by a car was what really got to me.

After the accident, which left her totally disfigured, her husband divorced her. She had 30 surgeries on her face. She began to have flashbacks of previously suppressed memories of rape from her childhood. She considered suicide.

She ended up staying around for her kids, and then eventually realized something.

“I don’t understand, and I don’t need to understand, and that’s okay,” she said of her accident. She made the conscious decision to be happy, and said that she believed it was possible for everyone to do so.

Because it is.

If this woman can go through all of those experiences and still make the choice to be a happy person, you should be able to put a damn smile on your face today.

And also, if you’re ever bored, you should probably watch that documentary, if not just for the sole purpose of that cringe-worthy middle school scene.

Cortni Dietz is a sophomore studying journalism at Ohio University

and a columnist for The Post. What makes you happy?

Email Cortni at cd509910@ohiou.edu.

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