often we hear people say, "I'm unhappy,"
as though happiness were the object, or purpose, of
life. It isn't, nor can it be. Happiness
is an effect, a by-product, a symptom of something
else. Therefore, seeking happiness directly
must always result in failure.
comes only to those who have done something to cause
it. It can be meeting the so-called "right
person." Falling in love brings a
euphoric, giddy kind of happiness which, if the love
is real and lasting, can settle down into a kind of
permanent state of happiness. There will be
ups and downs, of course, so-called good days and
moments and bad days and bad moments, but if the
relationship is sound and satisfying, having the
right person can bring a kind of joy for many, many
generally comes most often to productive and
creative people when they have found and are engaged
in work in which they can lose themselves.
When the work has been completed, they must then,
after a while, find more.
the author, it can be a book or a story; for the
painter, a subject, an idea. And it's the same with
architects, engineers and all the rest of us.
are usually happiest when we are unaware of our
We'll be busily engaged in
something that demands our full attention and best
talents and suddenly discover, during a pause in the
work, that several hours have passed in which we've
been completely unaware of the passage of time and
our surroundings. And, if we think about it,
we'll realize that we were living close to the peak
during that time and that we were in a very high
order of happiness.
comes when we are doing something for others,
too. On Christmas morning, our joy or our
happiness can be at a very high level, not because
of our anticipation of what we might receive but,
rather, in anticipation of watching our loved ones
open our gifts to them. In fact, if we're not
careful, we can fail to register sufficient
excitement and joy upon opening the gifts we receive
from others. We must remember that they are
happiest at that time and to give them top billing,
to stretch their happiness to its full length.
we're so anxious for them to open something we've
given, we'll tend to pass over the things they've
given us. Have to watch that, especially where
the children are concerned. They've spent
days, perhaps weeks, thinking of the moment when
we'll finally open the present on which they've
lavished so much thought and love and care.
if we remember that we are happiest when we are
doing things for others, when we are busiest, and
after we have accomplished something worthwhile, we
need never be unhappy again, at least not for
long. We need only find a project on which to
work, or put in a good hard day doing those things
that need to be done, or find a way to do something
for others. Then happiness, like a butterfly,
will come and land on our sleeve.
is not the purpose of life. It is a by-product of
keeping busy, of losing ourselves in our work and of
doing things for others. Knowing that, we need never
be unhappy again.