I am in the pursuit of happiness. Most of the world seems to be on the same path as me. But we seem to be looking for happiness in different places. Some of us think that a meal to fill our hungry stomachs will make us happy. Others think that a new private jet will.
It was nice that so many read my last blog about happiness. A few of you kindly added a couple of points that I had left out. The one that I want to apologize for not mentioning was: Tickle attack. When one has been tickled, or tickle others, then the happiness one feels in one’s body remains in our bodies for a long time afterwards. Like a drug. Want to be happy? Tickle and be tickled.
Then I wanted to add two more points to my list of things that I think will make us happy. And, no, a private jet did not make my list.
1. To be connected.
I like Psalm 1 i the Bible where it says that by delighting in the Law of the Lord one is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers. Personally my connection is with God, and if I don’t have him, then I am like a tree with no roots, or like an electric cord with no outlet to plug into. To be connected to something that is higher than myself gives me more meaning and happiness than anything else I can think of. Why?
Because it makes me realize that while I am significant, I am also like dust. The world does not rest on my shoulders alone. I am just a piece of the big whole. In God I can find meaning when the world seems meaningless, in him I can find comfort when I feel hurt and discouraged, and in him I can find hope when it looks like the black hole is ever increasing.
To me it seems impossible to experience true happiness unless we are connected to something bigger than ourselves. Some people may disagree, and I am fine with that. But, honestly, you should give God a try.
2. Help somebody
The happiest people I know are the ones who are the most generous people. Not just generous with their money, but with their resources and time too. And the most unhappy ones? The greedy ones who are always looking at how to rip some people off, thinking of how they can avoid sharing, and even how to cheat on their taxes. A person who is always thinking of him or herself will never be truly happy. But the ones who are always reaching out to others will experience a satisfaction as fulfilling as getting tickled. We get tickled by generosity.
It’s interesting to me that often the most generous people are the ones who own the least. And yet, they often seem content even though they are poor.
Today I read that the richest 85 people on the globe between them control as much wealth as the poorest half of the global population put together. This is a thought that has nauseated me most of the day. Can it be? 3.5 billion people own as much combined as those 85 people. What I wonder is this: Are the 85 people who all could fit into a double-decker bus happy? Do they wake up in the mornings content? I wonder if giving most of their wealth away would have made them more or less happy? What do you think?
At Partners we have made helping others into a career. Many of us are constantly out of money and lack of sleep. But are we happy? I think we probably are happier than many. Not because of our wealth of money, but because of the wealth of joy helping other people gives us.
Here is an article I read today about helping an other person. I thought it was very encouraging.
Want to be happier? Try God. Try fellowship. Try to help somebody who needs your help, here or elsewhere. I think this will make you happier than unlimited credit at Nordstroms.