Are you a member of the Happiness Club? If you are tired of being unhappy, or you want to be happy, you can join. You probably are wondering what it costs to join the club. Well, I'll tell you, it will cost you plenty. It will cost you a lot of your unhappiness, and that's a lot to give up. So, if you want to be happy and join the club, you will have to dispose of as much unhappiness as you can.

One of the great things about the Happiness Club is it costs absolutely nothing to go to a meeting. Of course, it means spending time at the meeting instead of watching TV or doing something you routinely do. We do not seem to have time for ourselves. We do not talk anymore. We do not meet new people and share new ideas. The Happiness Club gives you a reason to do something for yourself. One of the really important benefits of our meetings is if you treat yourself right and learn to be happy, you will make a big difference to your loved ones, family, friends and people you work with. Happiness can change your life!

The Happiness Club was started in January 2000 right here in Fairfield. We have had monthly meetings in town since then. The reason I started the Happiness Club was because it is time to be happy. Now is the time for all of us, young and old, rich or poor to find happiness. Has anyone ever told you that you need to lighten up and be happy? If not, I will tell you, because I am your friend. That's what friends do for one another.

Since I started the Happiness Club I have meet many new people that have become good friends. The monthly meetings have brought people together. Of course, a lot of people are from the area, but we had many people who traveled more than an hour to get there also. This has given all of us the opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.

The biggest problem I see with the concept of happiness is that it sounds too easy, but it's not. People do not even know what happiness is. They don't know how to find happiness, or better yet have it work for them. There have been many books written on happiness in the past ten years. Happiness has become the new wave of psychology. Everyone wants to be happy. It is among the most basic wants we have as human beings, the trouble is in how we go about getting it, and what we think happiness really is.

If you do not think happiness is important think again! Trying to find happiness is the reason you do anything. Happiness is the bottom-line my friend. It is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. The reason we do anything, should be for ourselves first. Let's face it, we are all selfish beings. There is nothing wrong with that if you realize what I am telling you. Everything you do is to get something from it that means something to you, so be selfish and that is OK. Now that you are taking care of yourself and being happy, you have enough of yourself left over to help someone else be happy.

People are wonderful especially when you give them a chance to experience happiness. It is so natural for us to be happy. It is no wonder that we are stressed out when we are unhappy. I have found that in meeting people, talking to them, and reading e-mail sent to me I have been able to get close to people who are just magnificent. I know many people who have problems. Some of these people have extremely serious situations and illnesses. In spite of this, people have been open to learning how to be happy. Do you know the best part? The more open they are to learning about happiness and being happy, the better they make out with the situations they are dealing with.

I have said many times that "life is not fair." That being said, you have to make up for it by being fair to yourself. Be happy and you change your world. In fact, if you become happy you are changing the world of the person next to you as well. You can see how happiness benefits not only you, but everyone else in your life as well.

I think the smartest thing you can do is be happy. The book Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, Ph.D., proves that our emotions are a part of our intelligence. If you are a reader, take a look at the HappinessClub.com website to see the books listed about happiness. Another thing you can do is get the free e-mail newsletter called the Happ-E-Newsletter. You can subscribe to it on the web site. It's a bimonthly newsletter that profiles books, the insights of the authors, meeting notices, happy thoughts, and many other items on happiness as well.

The Happiness Club is about all of us learning to live within ourselves peacefully. That's the first step to learning to live with one another. The truth is, it is hard to live with ourselves. You must learn to become your own best friend. If you live long enough, you will be spending a lot of time with yourself. It is better to learn how to be happy early on so you can lighten your load for the rest of your trip through life.

The reason we have the Happiness Club is because happiness is so important! Happiness is the reason you do everything that you do. Plus, I think happiness looks good on you. I think women look magnificent with a smile. I think men look fantastic with a smile. You already know what children look like with a smile on their faces. I think your smile can change your world. May people have told me that I have changed their lives. The truth is, they did it. They learned all they could about happiness, and used it to make their life the best it could be.

The important thing is for you to become aware of happiness as a choice. The choice you do not know about is the choice you can never make. Make the happiness choice now. Join the Happiness Club in your heart. Smile and pass on your power of happiness to others. Change the world for the better. You can do it -- if not you, who? I hope you join the Happiness Club and it costs you all the unhappiness you have. So today, join the proud, the few, the happy! Happiness is contagious -- smile.

Lionel Ketchian is the founder of the Happiness Club, a happiness coach and can be reached at PrintLRK@aol.com. The website is www.HappinessClub.com.