Is Happiness a Serious Problem?

by Nina Karim

“Happy people make the world a better place.” Such truth is difficult to come by and even more difficult to accept, yet author Dennis Prager proved happier than ever as he shared that statement and similar ideas about happiness on February 26 when he arrived to speak at Azusa Pacific University. Prager spoke about the core ideas of his book, Happiness is a Serious Problem: a Human Nature Repair Manual, and made it clear that this was more than a light and carefree topic saying, “everyone has a moral obligation to be happy.”

Prager presented the idea that one must always act happy for the sake of others and not be constantly swayed by ever-changing emotions. He stressed that although people will always have frustrations and should share those dissatisfactions with others, they should not constantly show it and should instead be a ray of light for those around them. “Wherever you are, if you can bring sunshine, you will be loved for it.”

He went on to make his case for happiness as a decision stating, “We are as happy as we decide to be.” Prager agreed that everyone endures difficult times in life, but the happy people that he knows have not suffered any less than he has, they simply make the choice to be happy. His advice was encouraging and eye-opening for many. “Do not allow dissatisfaction to make you unhappy; learn to be satisfied with what you have.”

For junior international business major Cameron Gilmore, Prager’s lecture was quite a hit. "Dennis Prager gave incredibly valuable and unique insight to how everyone can, but more importantly, should be happy. His message was applicable to everyone seeking happiness in their lives, and his presentation left the audience satisfied."

Prager was raised an Orthodox Jew in New York City and is now a radio talk show host, author, and public speaker. He has spoken on the subject of happiness around the world and he currently identifies himself as a “religious, non-Orthodox Jew.”

From Prager’s perspective as a Jewish male, he believes that, “unhappy religious people, not atheists, make the best case against Christianity.” The truth behind Prager’s simple words was shocking, and many left his lecture feeling compelled to live a happier life.