Did you know that no other country in the world puts such a premium on human happiness as the United States? It’s the only country in the world that has the “pursuit of happiness” written right into a Declaration of Independence.
All Americans are guaranteed the pursuit of happiness, but do you have any idea on the number of people who attain it?
There’s the true story in Dorothy Finkelor’s book, “How to Make Your Emotions Work For You,” about a girl named Mary. The girl never figured out how to be happy. While this is the story of one girl, there are millions about the same topic. When Mary was in grade school, her grades were excellent, and she had good clothes and friends. But Mary thought she would never be happy until she reached high school. She said people had more freedom in high school. When she did get to high school, the same story repeated. The same also happened in college. She felt the only way she would ever be happy was to get married. So after two years of college, she married.
What happened then? The same old story! She was miserable where she lived and couldn’t be happy until she moved to Florida. A little while after the story was released, one of the author’s assistants was going to Florida. The author asked her to look Mary up and see how she was. The assistant wrote back to her boss, “Mary is as happy as she will ever be. She has a nice home, her husband is doing well, and she has two beautiful children. But she isn’t content.”
Now, the chances are good that you know a person like this. A person who wastes life waiting for something in the future to make him or her happy.
Everything they think will make them happy, they accomplish, only to find that happiness has again eluded them. Like the man dying of thirst in the desert, they keep chasing mirages.
There’s nothing wrong with a person wanting to achieve more and more; this is natural and good.
Misfortune comes from the misunderstanding that happiness comes from things outside of us, such as where we live or happen to be going to school. However, happiness is an inner thing, and we either have it, or we don’t. If we don’t, we ought to wake up and let it in before life goes by finding us still chasing phantoms.
Most people are the “grass must be greener in the next pasture” type. They think, “If only I could get this business rolling, I’d be happy,” or they’ll say, “Once I’m married, I’ll be happy.”
But what really happens? The business gets rolling, that person gets married, only to find there’s always something else that must happen before they can be happy. These people are among the most unfortunate on earth. The trick is to get the full measure of satisfaction and happiness out of every minute of each day.
If you find yourself waiting for something in the future to happen to make you happy… look out!
If you don’t find happiness in things which are all around you every day, you may never find it until you understand what happiness is.