I haven't been to Paris, but I did spend part of last week in Philadelphia attending the First World Congress of Positive Psychology, where I enjoyed four days of learning, dining al fresco, and taking in as much as I could of what this great city has to offer (which is a lot!). And yes, I climbed all those stairs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art - the ones Rocky climbs, waving his arms in exultation after he's finally in shape enough to take them all at a run (I did it the first time; there aren't that many).
I imagine every tourist wants to reenact that scene. I sure did. But what I didn't know from watching the movie is that there's an incredible view from atop those stairs - a long boulevard of beautiful trees, international flags, parks, fountains and people culminating in a national monument (City Hall) and a breathtakingly beautiful skyline. I felt like I was on top of the world.
The trip was already worthwhile, and then there was the Congress itself, which offered background, statistics, and solid research proving things we already know are true: that happy people are healthier, live longer, and have closer, more lasting relationships.
My personal favorite was David Cooperrider, the founder of Appreciative Inquiry, who gave a most hopeful presentation on AI, organizational development, and "Business as an Agent of World Benefit." I also appreciated hearing Mihaly Csikszentmihaly (author of Flow) talk about the evolution of human thought. His premise is that our decision to choose happiness, individually and as a species, will make a huge difference in the future we are creating each day, each moment.
As Judy W. offered from Paris, "... it is always our choice to deal with unexpected circumstances pleasantly or spend our time complaining about what might have been." Not only is this true, but Judy's choice in Paris (besides making her happier) makes the whole planet a better place to live, and helps move us toward a happier future. And now we have research to prove it!