It used to be that people would focus on being rich. They chose jobs that would make them money, friends that would make them money, things that would make them money.
Then someone realized what we really wanted was happiness, and told us to focus on that. That was good advice. Except that it’s not right.
A Poor Plan
At some point we all became twisted up in the wrong things. We saw friends struggle with money. We saw family struggle with money. We struggled with money.
And so we decided we would be happier if we had more money. So we focused on how to make more money. We focused on how to get more money. We focused on all the fun that money brought us. And we were unhappy.
A Better Plan
Then some wise person said “wait a second. You are trying so hard to make money. Why? Because you want to be happy. Why not cut out the middleman and just do what makes you happy and not worry about money?” Brilliant.
And we did that. We focused on jobs that we would enjoy, not caring if they would make us rich. We focused on spending our time on projects that made us happy, soaking time and money in without worrying about the return. We focused on what would bring us joy. Although, it didn’t.
That Nagging Feeling
Sure, we laughed and we played and we smiled and we felt great. But something wasn’t right. Everywhere we turned something was brining us down, harshing our mellow, and killing our buzz.
We’d see items on the news about people hurting people. We’d hear announcements in church about people freezing in cold weather, just looking for a place to stay warm. We’d feel a weight of overwhelming unrest as something inside us knew that we were hiding within our happiness bubble when people sat outside cold, naked, and hungry.
The Truth About Happiness
The fact is that we should be happy. We should be joyful. We should be filled with excitement for life. But happiness, joyfulness, and excitement are not enough. They are not ours to hoard and keep to ourselves. When we forget that, we are no better off then those who chase after money and material things.
We must share our happiness, our joy, our excitement. We must share kindness, compassion, and understanding. We must share our means, our times, ourselves. To go through life happy while others are hurting is to go through life empty and miss the point.
If you want to be happy – truly happy – find ways to connect with those who struggle to find happiness and share yours with them. That’s where you find what happiness truly is.