Saturday, February 11, 2017

the Secret of Happiness

The Secret of Happiness
People search for happiness all their lives, and many never find it. And right here, in this little book, I’m going to tell you the secret of happiness.
Stop looking for it. Really, it’s that easy. And that hard.
People who chase after happiness almost never find it. Usually they do so by becoming self-centered and self-indulgent. Such people are never happy. They think they will find happiness by being rich, often working themselves almost to death chasing money. Or worse, becoming dishonest people and stealing or cheating others out of what they have earned. But they are not happy. I’ve never met a happy thief.
They think they can be happy by feeling good, and they drink too much, or abuse drugs, or smoke, or indulge in promiscuous sex. When it doesn’t work, they do it more. And these things make their lives very unhappy.
They try to party and do things that are fun all the time, and soon find that the “fun” isn’t fun anymore. It leaves them feeling empty.
So how come all these people chase happiness and never find it?
Because they don’t know the secret.
Happiness can’t be found. It can only come to you when you are doing other things that are important, and not worrying about finding happiness.
The secret of happiness is to care about something more important than yourself. Unfortunately, you can tell people that, but they don’t believe it. Self-centered people try it, but soon go back to thinking they are the center of the universe, that only their wants, desires and needs matter, and they can step on anyone to get them. They go back to their parties or their drugs or their sex or their booze. And thus to being unhappy, which they blame on other people.
It doesn’t matter what you care about, that is bigger than you, only that it is worth caring passionately about. Caring about being the prettiest girl in school, or having the cutest boyfriend, or eating the most hotdogs in a contest doesn’t count.
Caring passionately about important things more than yourself doesn’t mean you never have fun. Before I met your Grandma, I had more than a few girlfriends, and we had a lot of fun. Grandma and I have a good time almost all the time. I’ve enjoyed parties and dancing and poetry and travel and hiking and reading. I like Scotch and, yes, sometimes I’ve drunk too much—so the next day I wasn’t happy at all! All of these qualify as “fun,” and we all need a balance of fun in our lives. But they aren’t the kind of things you can care about that will make you happy.
Here are some of the important things I’ve cared about more than myself. I’ve cared a lot about my country, and still do, working all I can to protect her and to make her better, so kids like you will have the life of freedom and opportunity in the future that America gave to me. I’ve cared about the US Marine Corps every day since I joined in August of 1964. Of course, serving in the Marines is one way I tried to help protect my country. You know I volunteered to serve in Vietnam, a war (and was lucky enough to have an easy time of it compared to most Marines). I remember being miserable sometimes in the heat or rain or even cold. I remember being bored sometimes. I remember being scared a few times. But I don’t remember being unhappy, because I was serving something larger and more important than myself.
I’ve been lucky enough to have jobs, first as a state senator and later as an association executive, where the work I did made a difference in people’s lives. So I cared about my jobs, and happiness came to me.
I’ve cared about my family, about my parents and brothers and other relatives. Since I married your Grandma in 1992, I’ve cared about her more than anything but my country. That is, until Britnye Ruby Vela was born in 2000, and I started caring about you as much as Grandma. Every day, I ask God to protect Grandma and to protect you—and to do whatever he thinks best with me.
Caring passionately about these things more than I have cared about myself have made me a very happy person, though I didn’t set out to chase happiness.
Sure, I have bad days when bad things make me unhappy. The car breaks down. Or some lowlife steals from me. Someone does something mean to me at work. But because I have these basic building blocks of happiness in my life—things I care about—I get over being angry or unhappy pretty fast.
There are lots of other things you could care about that would make you just as happy. Working as a volunteer in an organization, or having a job where you help people. Getting involved in your church or other place of worship. Taking care of stray or abused dogs and cats. Getting food for the hungry. It’s a long list.
The trick is to have something, or even better several things, you are involved in that are important and that you care about more than yourself.
As I write this, you are eleven-years-old. But Grandma and I have noticed that you tend to be “other-centered,” that is, you care a lot about other people, not just yourself. That’s a good sign, because you can often spot the self-centered kid by that age. If you turn out that way, you will be happy. People who care about things, like money, are usually unhappy. People who care about other people are usually happy. People who are kind and generous are usually happy. People who are selfish and mean are usually unhappy.
If you don’t care about hurting your family and the people who love you by doing drugs or stealing or other self-destructive behaviors, you will make yourself and those who love you very unhappy.
You get to choose. Now that you know the secret, choose wisely.

Excerpt From:

Advice for my Granddaughter: For When I’m Gone
Advice for Boys: From an Old Marine by Robert A. Hall
All royalties go to charity.
Advice for Boys: From an Old Marine by Robert A. Hall

All royalties go to charity.

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