If you wish to maintain a flow of happiness in your life, then make it your number one priority to be a giver
In the actor Kirk Douglas’ book ‘My Stroke Of Luck’, where he recounts his battle and victory over a stroke, he shares the following powerful truth: ‘The world is filled with people who have suffered from one misfortune or another.(1) The only thing that sets one apart from the rest is the desire and the attempt to help others.(2) People who reach out beyond their pain, out into the world in a trusting way – they are the ones who make a difference. Nietzsche said, ‘He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.(3)’
Happiness is not found with the acquisition of stuff. Nor is it found in the list of past achievements. It is the now and what we do with the now that makes all the difference.
It is through the process of helping others that you will help yourself. For in giving on a consistent basis to others you will keep the floodgates of your life open. Love will continue to flow without stoppage into your life and make your days a joy to behold.
Stop giving and it won’t be long before drought will strangle the very life out of your existence.
If you wish to maintain a flow of happiness in your life, then make it your number one priority to be a giver. A giver of money. A giver of your time. A giver of your talent. A giver of smiles. A giver of the word thank you. A giver of respect. At every opportunity turn it into a moment to give.
Even in your times of pain, choose to give. Selfish people, who hold on to everything that they have, live and die as lonely and bitter people.
Don’t be bitter. Become better. Be a giver.
In the Seattle Special Olympics some years ago there were nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled, assembled at the starting line for the hundred-yard dash.
At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a desire for running the race to the finish and winning.(4) All, that is, except one little boy, who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times, and began to cry.(5)
The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. Then they all turned around and went back. Every single one of them.
One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, ‘This will make it better.’ It was then that all nine linked arms and walked together to the finish line. Everyone in the stadium stood to their feet and gave them a standing ovation.
Why? Because deep down all humans understand that there is more to life than just winning ourselves. It is helping others to win where the greatest satisfaction is gained, even if we have to put some of our own personal ambitions on hold for a time.
TRUE HAPPINESS COMES WHEN WE SEEK THE HAPPINESS OF OTHERS
Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote that ‘To fill the hour, – that is happiness; to fill the hour, and leave no crevice for a repentance or an approval.(6)’
It is to do your very best in all you do. To be proud of who you are. To be satisfied with your efforts. This brings happiness.
Personally, throughout my life, some of my happiest moments have been found doing the most menial of tasks. I suppose that it is all to do with learning to live in a constant state of satisfaction, no matter what state you find yourself in at the time.
Benjamin Franklin explained it this way. ‘Human felicity is produced not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.(7)’
Don’t delay living as you await the dreams arrival. Grab each moment and live it to the max.
WHEN YOU KNOW THE WHY, THE HOW DOESN’T MATTER
But don’t search for happiness. In doing so you will become miserable. The unending search by mankind for happiness can only bring one thing: unhappiness.
Choose simply to be happy, for happiness is a choice. It is a clear cut decision, that no matter what life you are served up with, you are going to make the very best of it.
As I look at the life of Helen Keller, who was both deaf and blind, and see how she transcended far beyond her disabilities to a point where she interacted(8) with presidents, travelled the world as an ambassador for her nation, learnt numerous languages and even learnt how to speak before thousands of people, I am reminded of what she said when she was asked, ‘Are you happy?’
Her response, ‘Yes, because I have confidence in God.(9)’
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People who live unhappy lives have at some point decided to be unhappy. Don’t let it be you. Pour your life out and into the lives of others and when you are empty you will find that by some miraculous event, you will have been filled again so that you can go and give once more.
The end result will be the happiness that each and every one of us desires and deserves to have.
Motivational Memo: The essential ingredients for happiness are decision and action.