“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.”
Over the past few days, I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support our family has received after Grayson’s passing. The calls, emails, and texts have been simply incredible.
It has served as a powerful and poignant reminder of why we are here on this earth. The purpose for which we were created isn’t to gather more stuff or capture more things. Life isn’t a giant monopoly game where the one with all money wins. Instead, we should view our lives as a spring of water flowing to give sustenance and love to others. Life is people and the relationships we build with those we come into contact with, whether for a moment or a lifetime.
If we aren’t spending the best effort and energy we have, giving away happiness, and being a wellspring of joy for others, we waste the precious time we have been given and miss the point of our existence.
Find someone to reach out to today and share happiness and love. In the giving of this gift, two will benefit…
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
How much time and energy do you spend lighting the candles of others? If you are honest with yourself do you spend more time sharing happiness, or expecting to have it shared with you? Do you see yourself as a burning candle looking to ignite others or an extinguished candle waiting to be lit?
How you view the energy you have to share will be incredibly impactful across the course of your lifetime and even more meaningful for those who cross your path. You could literally be the person that lights thousands of candles or you could be the person that breaks the ignition chain.
Do me a favor for just a moment. (I promise this won’t get too weird…).
Read the next four sentences and then close your eyes and think of someone who has impacted your life in some meaningful and amazing way. Go with the very first person that comes to your mind. How did they make this impact? What did they do? What has it meant for you over the span of time since that moment occurred?
Do you have your answers in mind? Good. Now for the tough questions. What would your life be like if this person hadn’t leaned in and offered their candle to light yours? Would you be the person you are today without their influence?
What did it cost them to offer up their flame?
I recommend for you to do two things after you complete this exercise. First, send that person an email, a letter, a text, whatever, just let them know that you appreciate the light that they offered to you. Do it now. Don’t wait for the perfect time because that will never happen.
Second, find someone tomorrow to offer your flame to and then do it again the next day and then again every day after that. It costs nothing but could change the lives of thousands… That’s a pretty good ROI if you ask me.
“For every minute you are angry, you lose 60 seconds of happiness.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
If given a choice, would you rather you be angry or happy? If you are like most people you would much rather be happy. Then why do we allow ourselves to be dragged down into the empty vacuum of anger?
Being angry is a choice, being happy is a choice. We are all given a very limited amount of time on this earth. Why would you choose to waste even one precious second being angry? If you can’t control it, let it go. If you can, do something about it. If you aren’t sure, do all you can to influence the outcome. But just don’t waste time being angry. Remember you could be happy instead.
“The most worth-while thing is to try to put happiness into the lives of others.”
When you go home at the end of the day what makes you sleep better; having helped someone else find happiness or focusing on the creation of your own happiness?
I for one have found that helping someone else is what creates the happiness reward for me. It is amazing how doing for others can have such incredible personal returns when you put serving at the top of your priority list.
“Happiness is achieved when you stop waiting for your life to begin and start making the most of the moment you are in.”
A cup of good coffee, a simple moment of peace and quiet in the day. The sound of my children laughing and playing together. Anticipation of a birthday party for my son. Good friends that you care about and who care about you. Watching my sons sit on the couch and read a book together…
Take 45 seconds right now and think about what it is that you are happy about in this moment and in the next few hours to come.
Amazing how when you do this all the other worries of the world lose their control over you.
Being happy is a choice. What are you choosing to be happy about today?
“True happiness is to enjoy the present, without anxious dependence upon the future, not to amuse ourselves with either hopes or fears but to rest satisfied with what we have, which is sufficient, for he that is so, wants nothing.”
Every day our world and society demands us to want more things. That we should covet more stuff, more experiences, all those things that others have and we don’t. It can feel like the entire world is aimed at helping us focus on what we don’t have RIGHT NOW and thus seeding discontentment and disappointment.
Now there is nothing wrong with dreams and goals. Nothing wrong with desiring to do and be more in our one “wild and precious life.” Obviously I have written about the power of goals many times. The disconnect occurs when those things are all that one thinks about, worries about, stresses over or devotes themselves to becoming.
Living for the future is to neglect the incredible gifts and blessings we have been given TODAY. I personally fight this battle constantly, and it has been a constant battle through my life. It is a daily struggle to put down the focus on tomorrow and to simplybe in the moment today. But when I do it, and shift my energy to being fully present with gratitude for exactly where I am TODAY all the seeds of discontentment and anxiety disappear as if blown away by a strong wind.
Ask yourself this question: What is it today that I am most grateful for in my life?I have found that answering this question has an amazing way of pulling one back to the present moment and focusing energy on where one is. It keeps the distractions of life at bay and for those, like me, who have a tendency to live in and for the future, it puts me solidly in the present moment. Try it out, write it down every morning and see what happens. You might find yourself happier than you have ever been.
“It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfillment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.”
I know this is a reminder that I need constantly. Life isn’t about the goal or the objective, it is about the journey.
Think of it this way. Do you read a great novel to find out what happened to the main character(s)? If so then why don’t you simply skip to the last pages and see what happened? Or perhaps you could find someone else who has already condensed the book into an abbreviated version so you don’t have to read the whole thing. But that isn’t where you find the joy. The happiness comes from reading the entire tale, from going on the journey with the characters, in losing oneself in a great story.
We don’t achieve happiness through getting some thing or reaching some goal. Happiness comes from loving the effort expended to pursue the dream.
“Every day we have plenty of opportunities to get angry, stressed, or offended. But what you’re doing when you indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside yourself power over your happiness. You can choose to not let little things upset you.”
The little things are the stressors that wear us out. The ones that make us lose sight of what’s truly important. When we embrace the little things that make us angry and upset we are building a negativity cancer inside ourselves.
There is no doubt that there are more opportunities to be stressed and offended in life than there are seconds in the day. Looking for the anger, offense or stress has to be the biggest waste of energy on the planet. Nothing positive can come out of it. It reminds me of the old saying, “allowing these types of things to impact you is like taking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
Happiness is a choice, and it is a choice that is a vaccine to the cancer of negativity that can build, but only if you allow it to happen.
“It’s been my experience that you can nearly always enjoy things if you make up your mind firmly that you will.”
I just finished reading a fascinating and compelling historical fiction titled “Beneath a Scarlet Sky” by Mark Sullivan. It is an incredible story about a young Italian patriot in WWII fighting against Nazi tyranny and oppression. When I read stories like this and what others have gone through it really puts everything in life firmly in perspective.
One of my favorite passages in the entire book reads: “How do you find happiness?” Anna paused, then said, “You start by looking right around you for the blessings you have. When you find them, be grateful.” “Father Re says the same thing,” Pino said, “He says, to give thanks for every day, no matter how flawed. And to have faith in God and a better tomorrow.”
Finding happiness and enjoyment is truly a choice and a belief that, no matter what, there will be a better tomorrow.
“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you are climbing it.”
I had the opportunity to go hiking today which is one of my absolute favorite ways to spend time outdoors. It was a tough hike, very wet, slippery, and steep. The hike to our particular destination was 3.5 miles, which doesn’t sound that far except that it was almost all downhill on very muddy and rocky terrain. I probably spent 90% of my time looking down at the ground picking out safe places to put my feet so I wouldn’t trip and fall. At the end of the hike was one of the most spectacular views I have ever seen. It was truly worth worth every second of effort and focus.
As I was taking in the incredible vista and marveling at the beauty of God’s kingdom it occurred to me that if I had’t had to work so hard for the view, it might not have been so impressive. The view was spectacular, but if I had simply gotten out of the car, taken a picture, and gotten right back in, it wouldn’t have meant nearly as much. The joy found in the view came as a result of the work put forth to get there.
Interestingly enough, the 3.5 mile hike back, which was all uphill, passed in a flash and didn’t seem nearly as hard as the hike in. The happiness from the accomplishment provided all the fuel that was needed…
“People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
It is amazing how true this quote is. Some people, who have everything, are never happy. Others, who by the measure of the world, have nothing, are incredibly happy. Why is this? What is the difference between these types of people? Why do some people choose to be unhappy and others choose to be happy?
Over the past several weeks I have been doing a devotional on happiness and one verse has been stuck in my mind of late. “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
If you are working for something else, for a bigger calling, happiness isn’t dependent on receiving affirmation from this world. Something to ponder. Happiness is a choice…
“Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.”
Theodore Isaac Rubin
Think back to some of the biggest accomplishments in your life. Did the satisfaction come from achieving the simple things or was it the completion of some momentous goal? There is nothing like doing the really hard work and then seeing the finished product. The beauty of this is that it also creates a desire for more hard work because you know what you are capable of accomplishing when you perform at your best.
I can’t remember all the easy tasks and accomplishments from my life but I can easily list the efforts that were the hardest to achieve. I felt happiness but also a sense of purpose and pride, that the hard work was worth it and had paid off.
I vividly remember being at mile #16 during my last Ironman marathon knowing that I only had 10 miles left to go, that all the pain in my body was temporary, that all the training and effort put in to get that point was paying off. The last mile of the race was a blur but running through the crowds at the finish line was pain free even though every fiber of my body was tired and ready to quit. The Ironman race (or any other endurance event) is never really accomplished on race day. It is completed well beforehand during the long training days and early morning workouts. The race itself is the reward, the feeling of accomplishment afterwards is the icing on the cake, it becomes the fuel for the next big thing.
The feeling of happiness from accomplishing some great task is both the reward, and the motivation for future endeavors. What is the next great thing that is worthy of your very best?