Monday, January 24, 2011
Happiness Part One
The key to happiness is this: Dedicate yourself to the development of your natural talents and abilities by doing what you love to do, and doing it better and better in the service of a cause that is greater than yourself.
This is a big statement and a big commitment. Being happy requires that you define your life in your own terms and then throw your whole heart into living your life to the fullest. In a way, happiness requires that you be perfectly selfish in order to develop yourself to a point where you can be unselfish for the rest of your life.
YOUR HAPPINESS MUST COME FIRST
In Edmond Rostand’s Play Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano is asked why he is so intensely individualistic and unconcerned with the opinions and judgments of others. He replies with these wonderful words: “I am what I am because early in life I decided that I would please at least myself in all things.”
Your happiness likewise depends upon your ability to please at least yourself in all things. However, most people are reluctant to use their own happiness as the standard by which to judge the events in their lives. This is primarily because we let others define or affect what brings us happiness. And we often believe it is more important to make other people happy than it is to make ourselves happy. This is nonsense.
Human beings are happiness-driven organisms. Everything we do in life is oriented toward maintaining and increasing our level of happiness. We are psychologically constructed so that it is impossible for us to be any other way without making ourselves mentally and emotionally ill. The fact is that you can’t give away to anyone else what you don’t have for yourself. Just as you can’t give money to the poor if you don’t have any, you can’t make someone else happy if you yourself are miserable.
The very best way to assure the happiness of others is to be happy yourself and then to share your happiness with them. Suffering and self-sacrifice merely depress and discourage other people. If you want to make others happy, start by living the kind of life and doing the kinds of things that make you happy.
LET HAPPINESS BE YOUR GUIDE
Make happiness the organizing principle of your life. That is, compare every possible action and decision against your standard of happiness to see whether it would make you happier or unhappier. Soon, you will discover that almost all the problems in your life come from choices that you have made — or are currently making — that do not contribute to your happiness.
There will of course be countless times when you will have to do little things that don’t make you happy in pursuit of your larger happiness. However, as Earl Nightingale said, “Happiness is the progressive realization of a worthy ideal.” You feel really happy only when you are moving, stepby- step, toward the accomplishment of clearly defined goals that you feel will enhance the quality of your happiness.
Since you can’t be truly happy until you are clear about your inherent possibilities, it’s important th
at you take some time on a regular basis to analyze yourself and identify your strengths and weaknesses. There is an old saying, “Success leaves tracks.” You can look back on your life and identify who you really are and what you should be doing with your life.