"What do you Really Want?" The small girl's voice rang out over the clear morning air as she called across the way to a playmate. All the people waiting for the bus seemed to wake up and listen.
What do you really want? Can there ever be a more momentous question to you that this one voiced so simply by the little girl? What is it you want? Mink coats, diamonds, rubies? Thieves have risked all for a mess of pottage, a few pieces of gold or silver. . .only to find at the end it was not what they really wanted.
What do you really want, then? To be an actress. . .president of your women's club? To be a leader among the men in your group? Perhaps to be an executive in the corporation? To make speeches so that people will want to hear you? Is this what you really want? Are your sure?
"But," you protest, "you are placing so many mirrors before me I am confused. I can't really be sure what it is I want. How do I find out?
This first thing to do is to set up a scale of values for yourself. Take your time! Don't jump to conclusions. Think now of what it is that has made you happy. Maybe it was new coat or maybe it was the time you bought Junior some balloons and popcorn. . .and the whole family went to ride on the merry-go-round! Maybe it was the time you surprised him with his favorite steak dinner. . .or maybe it was the time you sent her roses and a favorite record.
Happiness, you see, is a very elusive quality. The story goes that once a king, finding himself unhappy. . .decided he'd change shoes with the first happy man he could find. That supposedly would make him happy too. But alas, the happy man was found idly fishing on a flowery bank. . .and not wearing any shoes!
Are you sure you'd like to write a book which would bring in millions of dollars? Are you sure that would make you happy? Are you sure you'd come whistling to work if you were sitting in the boss's big chair. . .responsible for all the welfare and workings of everybody else? Maybe you would come out on top in those situations. But if you did, it wouldn't be the money or the power. . .it would be the self mastery, the inner serenity, the sense of values that see you through.
No matter how rich you got to be you couldn't consume more than about three meals a day with good results. There are definite human limitations!
The only way to start the happiness chain working for you again is to start giving of your goods and services again. That's why people often take jobs when they don't have to work. They've discovered they like to be of service. There's a satisfaction in feeling that you are needed. . .befriended. . .wanted. . .that all the money in the world can't buy!
If you've solved most of your own problems. . .why not try helping someone else with theirs. . .in an unobtrusive way, of course. There are plenty of problems still. Boys and girls who need an education and have no way of getting it alone and unaided. People in hospitals who need gifts or a friend. The aged who need a bit of sunshine because they're lonesome. There are an endless number of people like these. By helping the, you help yourself.
If you've never tried spreading happiness to others this way. . .you're in store for a treat. Because, oddly enough, this is the surest way to find happiness for yourself!
Happiness once found can become a habit. Habits become patterns for good or bad. Self-centeredness, misery, unhappiness, chronic complaints can become vicious little habits which actually do sap your strength and vitality. . .your love for life. A devitalized life is not a happy one.