I am often asked about this, so today I will reveal it to you:
The secret to happiness lies in forgetting oneself in the pursuit of something bigger.
I’ve spent years observing others, listening to them, analysing and processing – all rather rational pursuits, I don’t move very much in the “touchy-feely new-age” kind of world, and I promise I’m not there now either.
Some people will say that happiness is setting up and running little electric trains.
Others that it’s about bagging the latest bargain at the sales.
But these are only little things; this happiness is temporary.
I did mention something bigger.
For Bob Brown (the Australian Senator) it is the protection of the environment.
For Mother Theresa it was caring for lepers and orphans.
For some of the nicest, warmest, and happiest people I know personally, it has always been about caring for others (you can read about them here).
For me, it is about meeting the other. It is not always people, but it mainly is (though cats and trees have also their place). It is about being allowed into someone’s life, about sharing a moment.
When I do, when I truly listen, when I truly hear the other, my life becomes at the same time unimportant, and valuable.
When I meet “the other”, whatever their shape – when I make a difference through the simple act of being present, of witnessing – my life has meaning.
And for that brief and sometimes not so brief moment, I am happy, because I know that I have positively impacted someone else’s life.
When I put these moments end to end, multiplying them, that is my way to “be happy”.
When I forget about “wanting to be happy”, that is when I find it.
For me it takes truly being with others to forget about myself.
What does it take for you?
The answer to that question is your secret for happiness. Happy search!