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The hunt for happiness

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

Recently, I watched Hector’s Search for Happiness, about a doctor hunting for happiness. Hector was a psychiatrist who became tired of his humdrum life. Feeling like a fraud, he was offering advice to patients to try to bring them happiness, while he himself was not happy. So Hector embarked on a global quest in the hopes of uncovering the elusive secret formula for true happiness. Throughout all of his adventures, he came to many conclusions, some of which were:

– Making comparisons can spoil your happiness.

– Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love.

– Happiness is doing a job you love.

– Happiness is feeling useful to others.

– Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love.

– Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think.

– Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy.

Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money. It says in the Bible that, “It is easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than it is for a rich man to get into heaven.” I always imagined that this meant it was almost impossible for rich people to get into heaven, until I went to the Holy Land years ago. One of the entrances into the old city of Jerusalem was called the Eye of the Needle. It was possible for someone to walk through this entrance, but a camel would have to get on its knees in order to get through that opening. So it seems the lesson here is that it takes considerably more effort for rich people to get into heaven, and perhaps to attain true happiness.

I found these other quotes about happiness:

– “It is not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes us happy.”

– From Dale Carnegie: “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.”

– “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” – Frederick Keonig

– “In getting married, the goal is to make your partner happy, not to have them make you happy!”- Father Tom McKillop, perhaps explaining why some people divorce today?

– Avoid a negative approach to life. Don’t be a fault-finder. One may find some fault in even the greatest masterpieces of art, music and literature. Is it not better just to enjoy their charm and glory?

– Mix with generous, energetic, deeply concerned individuals and avoid the company of negative folks. The company you keep can either magnetize you or else rob you of your magnetism.

Just like day and night, life has a dark and a bright side. If you permit yourself to dwell on the dark or negative sides of life, especially during COVID-19, you yourself may become dark. Look only for the good in everything, that you absorb the light and the quality of beauty.

When we come to the end of our lives on Earth, we will take no material things with us. The only things we may take are the things we have given away. If we have helped others, we may take that with us. If we have given our time and money for the good of others, we may take that with us. Looking back over our lives, what will you be proud of?

I don’t think we will be proud of what we had gained for ourselves materially, but what good deeds we had done. Those are the things that really matter in the long run. What will you take with you when you go?

Finally, this old Eskimo proverb: “Perhaps they are not stars, but rather openings in heaven where the love of our lost ones pours through and shines down upon us to let us know they are happy.”

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