What makes you happier, Neil Shurley?

neilshurleyNeil Shurley and I had a friend in common on Facebook and now he’s a passionate user of Happier. Though we’ve never met “in person,” I’m getting to know Neil in a whole new way: not just through his achievements or the news articles he shares, but by what makes him happy. On Happier, that means looking at the moments in his top collections  — Family, The Little Things, Being Grateful, and Ukulele Evangelism. By seeing who and what makes the small moments in Neil’s day so full of joy, I feel like I’m really getting to know him in a meaningful way!

You seem to have really embraced Happier and use it a lot – tell us why.

In the last couple of years, I’ve become more aware of how stress and negativity overtakes my whole worldview. A few weeks ago I saw a friend post about Happier on Facebook. I jumped in and am now not only actively searching for happy moments to share throughout the day, but also telling others the good news of Happier. And it’s been working, making me feel inside that I am the happy person others see.

One of the core beliefs of Happier is that there are moments of simple beauty and happiness even in the most difficult situations. Tell us about your “We Love Lisa” campaign that was mentioned in The New York Times.

Early in my Twitter experience, I came across Lisa Adams (@adamslisa). Over the course of our “virtual” friendship, I learned more about her family, her experience with breast cancer, and her positive spirit on her blog. When I lost my father two years ago, she was the closest thing I got to a personal grief counselor. Last fall, when she was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer, I was devastated, as were her thousands of other followers. I wanted to do something to demonstrably show her that there were lots of people — many of whom she had never even met — who loved her and were thinking of her. It seemed like a small way to share with her the happiness that she’d brought to me. So I wrote a song, recorded myself singing it, and asked Lisa’s social media friends to send me photos of themselves holding signs reading “We Love You, Lisa.” I made a video and sent her the link. It still makes me happy to think that I may have at least brightened her day.

We love when Happier users make up their own collections. Explain “Ukulele Evangelism.”

The ukulele is the happiest instrument on earth. I’ve played the saxophone since junior high, but had never had any luck with stringed instruments. But the ukulele is so small, easy and just plain happy, that it’s become my very favorite thing.  I am the ukulele evangelist. If everyone had an ukulele, it would be a much happier world.

What’s your favorite thing about living in South Carolina?

The fact that my family is here. My wife grew up here, my parents moved here to be closer to their grandkids, and now my brother and his wife have moved here with their two kids. What could be better?

It’s almost Father’s Day. How does being a dad make you happier?

Figuring out how my children are experiencing the world, seeing old things in new ways through their eyes, and sharing their joys, both big and small. And I love sharing stuff I love with them – it’s wonderful to see my old Star Wars action figures and GI Joe’s getting a whole new life!

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