The three virtues of happiness
I like to talk about personal happiness a lot. It’s amazes me than any other quality of life. Not only does it very for each person, we still really don’t know what it is and how to obtain it universally. The thousand upon thousands of people all over the world I have had the pleasure of meeting, seem to have no common denominator among them for why some are happy and some are not. And with people going in and out of happiness, it’s really hard to pin point anything concrete.
Your best best is to use some sort of process of elimination to try and weed out some of the obvious reasons people are not happy. Oddly enough I have met drug attics and alcoholics that were very happy in a way I thought was genuine. I have also met what we would call very poor people, to also be very genuinely happy. I’ve met beautiful and what some might say ugly looking people that both were genuinely happy.
In fact the only common thing I have ever seem where people are not happy.
- Being in an unfixable bad relationship
- Being in jail/prison for a long time
- Being a life long thief
I have never met anyone in these three ways of life that I felt was really happy.
The common thing with these three is that they are all trapped by wanting something they cannot have. Changing someone in the relationship, freedom when locked up, good character as a thief. You cannot have any of these, even though our basic human instinct needs it.
When you flip the view you can see that what people need is to have or be able to pursue what they deeply need. This creates happiness or without it takes happiness away.
Happiness is like two cars. One is really nice and one is in bad shape. Let’s say you need to drive to happiness. Would you take the bad car now or wait until the nice car is ready, even though the nice car has no set date. Most people wait for the really nice car to be ready before going to happiness. When they could of taken the bad car now and have been there the whole time.
But limiting our ability to go after what we want, we will always be less happy. Our goal as people is to pursue our deep needs.
The trick is not let modern foolery distract you from the core mission to obtain your virtues.
Take care of yourself and the people close to you.
This requires that you think intelligently and honestly about the very best course of action to maximize your opportunities and minimize possible danger and threats. Think ahead about what might happen if you were to take a particular course of action, and take intelligent steps to guard against setbacks and reversals of fortune. The most successful people are prudent in all of their personal and business affairs.
Being a good citizen
The second habit for you to develop is the habit of justice. This refers to your commitment to the establishment and maintenance of laws in society that protect the person and property of every individual. The American republic has endured for more than 200 years because it was carefully established by the founding fathers on the basis of law, not men. At every level of our society, specific laws are prescribed and laid down that are applicable to all people, regardless of wealth or station in life.
Aristotle referred to it as one of the eight essential virtues, that of “generosity.” Most people are psychologically and emotionally structured in such a way that they are only truly happy and satisfied when they feel they are doing something that serves and benefits other people. When you give freely and generously of yourself to others, whether it is to members of your family or to members of the public, you feel more valuable and happier inside. When you dedicate yourself to serving your customers with the very best quality product or service of which you are capable, not only do you feel a deep sense of personal satisfaction, but you also put yourself on the side the angels when it comes to personal and business success.
I know many of these might teeter on the level of religious belief, but I do think you need some view of a higher power. If not god than the universe itself. Living a solely closed off unvirtuous life (as far as I can see), will never lead to a deep happiness. You need to take care of what’s important that is close to you, keep the ability to go after what you want available, and be able to feel good about who you are in your core.