No. 1022



It has been said that happiness is the universal goal. To be sure, everyone wants to be happy. No one wants to be miserable and fail in life. Sadly, many people are unhappy, and I suspect a good number of them do not really understand why they are unhappy. If you are not as happy as you would like to be, I have some thoughts to share with you today that may be helpful. At least this is my heart’s desire.
While I have never claimed to have all the answers and certainly do not now, I do try to apply some common sense to things I share in this column, along with over four decades of learning from trial and error. Yes, I have made lots of mistakes. The great thing about human beings is that we can learn from them. We are not like a cat that sits on a hot stove and finds out too late that he sits on a hot stove only once.
First, let me say that when it comes to being happy, there are some things we can do that will insure the probability of achieving a happy life. Certainly there is no sure thing here because there are some things that happen to us along the way that are completely beyond our control. With that overview behind us, let me begin by sharing something that was shared with me by Ed Jackson, a friend who spent more than 50 years in the field of education. Ed said that to be happy you need at least three things: 1. Something to do. 2. Someone to love. 3. Something to look forward to.
As a starting point, do you have those three things in your life? Do you have something worthwhile to do when you get out of bed each day? Do you have someone special in your life you love and who loves you? And do you have worthwhile goals? In other words, do you still have some things you want to achieve before you hang it up? For me, life is exciting because here at age 77 I am having more rewards, having more fun, and looking forward to each new day more than ever before.
While certainly there are no guarantees, to increase the odds of being truly happy there are some things we can do that will change our perspective and our outlook on life. When someone once said that “when you have your health, you have just about everything,” they said a mouthful. We are truly blessed if we are born with a sound mind and a healthy body. But if we are going to have and live a productive and healthy life, we have to learn to take care of our body (made up of body, mind and spirit). While I won’t go into it here, for people all across our nation the greatest neglect of all is our spiritual life. And really this is the most important because it will determine where we will spend eternity.
When it comes to being truly happy we need to understand there is a difference between happiness and joy. Happiness is something that can be seen on the outside while joy is something that takes place on the inside. For example, a kid playing alone in the dirt can be happy, while a celebrity riding in a $40 million jet airplane can be miserable, and life is no fun. Again, to increase our odds of being happy, there are basic things we must do -- get a good education, find work that is very satisfying, eat right, get plenty of sleep and exercise.
Here is what works for me, and something you might consider that can be summed up with these words by the Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Albert Schweitzer: “The only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.” The more we do and give to others, the happier we will be.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)