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What Does It Take To Be Grateful?

Feb 14, 2014
Originally published on December 30, 2016 10:42 am

Part 6 of the TED Radio Hour episode Simply Happy.

About David Steindl-Rast's TED Talk

We all want to be happy, says David Steindl-Rast, a Benedictine monk. And happiness, he suggests, is born from gratitude. An inspiring lesson in slowing down, looking where you're going, and above all, being grateful.

About David Steindl-Rast

David Steindl-Rast is a Benedictine monk who writes about gratefulness. Since 1953, Brother David has been a monk of Mount Saviour Benedictine monastery in New York, dividing his time between hermitic contemplation, writing and lecturing.

He was one of the first Roman Catholics to participate in Buddhist-Christian dialogue, and is the author of The Ground We Share, a text on Buddhist and Christian practice, written with Robert Aitken Roshi. His other books include Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer and Deeper Than Words. His most recent book is 99 Blessings. He's the co-founder of gratefulness.org.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

GUY RAZ, HOST:

It's the TED Radio Hour from NPR. I'm Guy Raz. And on the show today, the one thing we can pretty much all agree we want - happiness.

DAN GILBERT: Well, of course.

RAZ: This is Dan Gilbert, happiness expert.

GILBERT: If you write a book with the word happiness in the title, you get one question over and over.

RAZ: And the question he gets?

GILBERT: Hey, Doc, what's the secret of happiness?

RAZ: Yeah. So what is it?

GILBERT: Well, the first thing is rather than answering the question, let's just think about it for a moment. Is there really a possibility, A, that it's a secret and only I know it and you don't, and, B, that it's a secret at all?

RAZ: Sadly, this is true because if there is one thing we learned from working on today's show it's that there is no secret to happiness. But there are plenty of ideas about it, all of which we'll explore this hour - ideas from science, design, philosophy. And the thing is, a lot of these ideas are surprisingly simple.

GILBERT: But, you know, when people ask about secret of happiness and you tell them, well, take more time in your social relationships, worry less about things and more about experiences, they kind of nod and look at you and say, yeah, but what about the secret? Because the secret of happiness is like the secret of dieting, there's no secret.

(PHONE RINGING)

RAZ: Pharrell, are you there?

PHARRELL WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

RAZ: So this is your song, man. I mean, "Happy" - this is climbing the charts around the world. So I'm thinking, like, you must have the secret.

WILLIAMS: OK.

RAZ: I mean, no, seriously.

WILLIAMS: Well, you know what? Look, look. I'm not a guy that's walking around and smiling every day. I have - we all have our ups and downs and our lefts and our rights and our diagonal, you know. But really, you know, a much more simple way to look at it is to remember that you deserve to be happy. It's a natural born right.

RAZ: Fair enough. All right. Pharrell, we're going to listen to the rest of the show, and I will meet you on the other side. OK?

WILLIAMS: Yes, sir.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "HAPPY")

RAZ: And by the way, you have to check out the video to this song. It will literally make you happy. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.