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The highest happiness must always come from the exercise of the best thing in us. When you find happiness in anything but useful work, you will be the first man or woman to make the discovery.

If you take an inventory of yourself at the very outset of your career you will find that you think you are going to find happiness in things or in conditions. Most people think they are going to find the largest part of their happiness in money, what money will buy or what it will give them in the way of power, influence, comforts, luxuries. They think they are going to find a great deal of their happiness in marriage. How quickly they find that the best happiness they will ever know is that which must be limited to their own capacity for enjoyment, that their happiness can not come from anything outside of them but must be developed from within.

Many people believe they are going to find much of their happiness in books, in travel, in leisure, in freedom from the thousand and one anxieties and cares and worries of business; but the moment they get in the position where they thought they would have freedom many other things come up in their minds and cut off much of the expected joy. When they get money and leisure they often find that they are growing selfish, which cuts off a lot of their happiness.

No man able to work can be idle without feeling a sense of guilt at not doing his part in the world, for every time he sees the poor laboring people who are working for him, who are working every where, he is constantly reminded of his meanness in shifting upon others what he is able to do and ought to do himself. Idleness is the last place to look for happiness. Idleness is like a stagnant pool. The moment the water ceases to flow, to work, to do something, all sorts of vermin and hideous creatures develop in it. It becomes torpid and unhealthy giving out miasma and repulsive odors. In the same way work is the only thing that will keep the individual healthy and wholesome and clean. An idle brain very quickly breeds impurities.

The married man quickly learns that his domestic happiness depends upon what he himself contributes to the partnership, that he can not take out a great deal without putting a great deal in, for selfishness always reaps a mean, despicable harvest. It is only the generous giver who gets much. There is nothing which will so shrivel up a man; and contract his capacity for happiness as selfishness. It is always a fatal blighter, blaster, disappointer. We must give to get, we must be great before we can get great enjoyment; great in our motive, grand in our endeavor, sublime in our ideas.

It is impossible, absolutely unscientific, for a bad person to be truly happy; just as impossible as it would be for one to be comfortable while lying on a bed of nettles which are constantly pricking him. There is no way under heaven by which a person can be really happy without being good, clean, square, and true. This does not mean that a person is happy because he does not use tobacco, drink, gamble, use profane language or does not do other vicious things. Some of the -meanest, narrowest, most contemptible people in the world do none of these things, but they are uncharitable, jealous, envious, revengeful.

They stab you in the back, slander you, cheat you. They may be cunning, underhanded, and yet have a fairly good standing in the church. No person can be really happy who has a small, narrow, bigoted, uncharitable mind or disposition. Generosity, charity, kindness are absolutely essential to real happiness. Deceitful people can not be happy; they can not respect themselves because they inwardly despise themselves for deceiving you. A person must be open minded, transparent, simple, in order to be really happy. A person who is always covering up something, trying to keep things from you, misleading you, deceiving you, can not get away from self-reproach, and hence can not be really happy.

Selfishness is a fatal enemy of happiness because no one ever does a really selfish thing without feeling really mean, without despising himself for it. I have never seen a strong young man sneak into a vacant seat in a car and allow an old man or woman with a package or a baby in her arms to stand, without looking as though he knew he had done a mean, selfish thing. There is a look of humiliation in his face. We are so constituted that we can not help condemning ourselves for our mean or selfish acts.

The liar is never really happy. He is always on nettles lest his deceit betray him. He never feels safe. Dishonesty in all its phases is fatal to happiness, for no dishonest person can get his self-approval. Without this no happiness is possible. Before you can be really happy, my friend, you must be able to look back upon a well-spent past, a conscientious, unselfish past. If not, you will be haunted by demons which will destroy your happiness. If you have been mean and selfish, greedy and dishonest with your fellowmen, all sorts of horrible things will rise out of your money pile to terrify and to make your happiness impossible.

In other words, happiness is merely a result of the life work. It will partake of the exact quality of the motive which you have put into your life work. If these motives have been selfish, greedy, grasping, if cunning and dishonesty have dominated in your career, your happiness will be marred accordingly.

You can not complain of your happiness, because it is your own child, the product of your own brain, your own effort. It has been made up of your motives, colored by your life aim. It exactly corresponds to the cause which produced it. There is the greatest difference in the world between the happiness which comes from a sweet, beautiful, unselfish, helpful, sympathetic, industrious, honorable career, and the mean satisfaction which may grow to be a part of your marked self if you have lived a selfish, grasping life.

What we call happiness is the harvest from our life sowing, our habitual thought-sowing, deed-doing. If we have sown selfish, envious, jealous, revengeful, hateful seeds, greedy, grasping seeds, we can not expect a golden happiness harvest like that which comes from a clean and unselfish, helpful sowing. If our harvest is full of the rank, poisonous weeds of jealousy, envy, dishonesty, cunning, and cruelty, we have no one to blame but ourselves, for we sowed the seed which produced that sort of a harvest.

Somehow some people have an entirely wrong idea of what real happiness is. They seem to think it can be bought, can be had by influence, that it can be purchased by money; that if they have money they can get that wonderful, mysterious thing which they call happiness.

But happiness is a natural, faithful harvest from our sowing. It would be as impossible for selfish seed, greed seed to produce a harvest of contentment, of genuine satisfaction, of real joy, as for thistle seeds to produce a harvest of wheat or corn.

Whatever the quality of your enjoyment or happiness may be, you have patterned it by your life motive, by the spirit in which you have worked, by the principles which have actuated you.

A pretty different harvest, I grant, many of us must face, marred with all sorts of hideous, poisonous weeds, but they are all the legitimate product of our sowing. No one can rob us of our harvest or change it very much. Every thought, every act, every motive, whether secret or public, is a seed which no power on earth can prevent going to its harvest of beauty or ugliness, honor or shame. Most people have an idea that happiness is something that can be manufactured. They do not realize that it can no more be manufactured than wheat or corn can be manufactured. It must be grown, and the harvest will be like the seed.

You, young man, make up your mind at the very outset of your career that whatever comes to you in life, that whether you succeed or fail, whether you have this or that, there is one thing you will have, and that is a happy, contented mind, that you will extract your happiness as you go along. You will not take the chances of picking up or developing the happy habit after you get rich, for then you may be too old.

Most people postpone their enjoyment until they are disappointed to find the power of enjoyment has largely gone by and that even if they had the means they could not get anything like as much real happiness out of it as they could have gotten as they went along when they were younger. Take no chances with your happiness, or the sort of a life that can produce it; whatever else you risk, do not risk this. Early form the happy habit, the habit of enjoyment every day, no matter what comes or does not come to you during the day. Pick crumbs of comfort out of your situation, no matter how unpleasant or disagreeable. I know a man who, although poor, can manage to
get more comfort out of a real tough, discouraging situation than any one else I have ever seen. I have often seen him when he did not have a dollar to his name, with a wife to support: yet he was always buoyant, happy, cheerful, consented. He would even make fun out of an embarrassing situation, see something ludricous in his extreme poverty.

There have never been such conflicting estimates, such varying ideas, regarding any state of human condition as to what constitutes happiness. Many people think that it is purchasable with money, but many of the most restless, discontented, unhappy people in the world are rich. They have the means of purchasing what they thought would produce happiness, but the real thing eludes them. On the other hand, some of the poorest people in the world are happy. The fact is that there is no possible way of cornering or purchasing happiness for it is absolutely beyond the reach of money. It is true, we can purchase a few comforts and immunities from some annoyances and worries with money which we can not get without it. On the other hand, the great majority of people who have inherited money are positively injured by it, because it often stops their own development by taking away the motive for self-effort and self-reliance.

When people get money they often stop growing because they depend upon the money instead of relying upon their own inherent resources. Rich people suffer from their indulgences more than poor ones suffer from their hardships.

A great many rich people die with liver and kidney troubles which are effected both by eating and drinking. The kidneys are very susceptible to the presence of alcohol. If rich people try to get greater enjoyment out of life than poor people by eating and drinking, they are likely very quickly to come to grief.

If they try to seek it through the avenue of leisure they soon find that an idle brain is one of the most dangerous things in the world-nothing deteriorates faster. The mind was made for continual strong action, systematic, vigorous exercise, and this is possible only when some dominating aim and a great life purpose leads the way.

No person can be really healthful whose mind is not usefully and continually employed. So there is no possibility of finding real happiness in idleness if we are able to work. Nature brings a wonderful compensatory power to those who are crippled or sick or otherwise disabled from working, but there is no compensation for idleness in those who are able to work. Nature only gives us the use of faculties we employ. " Use or lose " is her motto, and when we cease to use a faculty or function it is gradually taken away from us, gradually shrivels and atrophies.

There is no satisfaction like that which comes from the steady, persistent, honest, conscientious pursuit of a noble aim. There are a multitude of evidences in man's very structure that his marvelous mechanism was intended for action, for constant exercise, and that idleness and stagnation always mean deterioration and death of power. No man can remain idle without shrinking, shrivelling, constantly becoming a less efficient man; for he can keep up only those faculties and powers which he constantly employs, and there is no other possible way. Nature puts her ban of deterioration and loss of power upon idleness. We see these victims everywhere shorn of power-weak, nerveless, backboneless, staminaless, gritless people, without forcefulness, mere nonentities because they have ceased working. Without work mental health is impossible and without health the fullest happiness is impossible.

It has been said that happiness is the most delusive thing that man pursues. Yet why need it be a blind search?

If we were to stop the first hundred people we meet on the street and ask them what in their experience has given them the most happiness, probably the answer of no two would be alike.

How interesting and instructive it would be to give a thousand dollars to each of these hundred people, and without their knowing it, follow them and see what they would do with the money, what it would mean to them.

To some poor youth hungry for an education, with no opportunity to gain it, this money would mean a college education. Another would see in his money a more comfortable home for his aged parents. To another this money would suggest all sorts of dissipation. Some would see books and leisure for self improvement, a trip abroad.

We all wear different colored glasses and no two see life with the same tint. Some find their present happiness in coarse dissipation; others in a quiet nook with a book. Some find their greatest happiness in friends, in social intercourse; others seek happiness in roving over the earth, always thinking that the greatest enjoyment is in another day, in another place, a little further on, in the next room, or tomorrow, or in another country.

To many people, happiness is never where they are, but almost anywhere else.

Most people lose sight of the simplicity of happiness. They look for it in big, complicated things. Real happiness is perfectly simple. In fact, it is incompatible with complexity. Simplicity is its very essence.

I was dining recently with a particularly successful young man who is trying very hard to be happy, but he takes such a complicated, strenuous view of everything that his happiness is always flying from him. He drives everything so fiercely, his life is so vigorous, so complicated, that happiness can not find a home with him very long.

Nor does he understand why. He has money, health; but he always has that restless far-away, absent-minded gaze into something beyond, and I do not think he is ever really very happy. His whole manner of living is extremely complex. He does not seem to know where to find happiness. He has evidently mistaken the very nature of happiness. He thinks it consists in making a great show, in having great possessions, in doing things which attract a great deal of attention; but happiness would be strangled, suffocated in such an environment. The essentials of real happiness are few, simple, and close at hand.

Happiness is made up of very simple ingredients. It flees from the complex life. It evades pomp and show. The heart would starve amid the greatest luxuries. Simple joys and the treasures of the heart and mind make happiness. Happiness has very little to do with material things. It is a mental state of mind. Real permanent happiness can not be found in mere temporary things, because its roots reach away down into eternal principles.

One of the most pathetic pictures in civilization is the great army of men and women searching the world over for happiness, as though it existed in things rather than in a state of mind. The people who have spent years and a fortune trying to find it look as hungry and as lean of contentment and all that makes life desirable as when they started out. Chasing happiness all over the world is about as silly a business as any human being ever engaged in, for it was never yet found by any pursuer.

Yet happiness is the simplest thing in the world. It is found in many a home with carpetless floors and pictureless walls. It knows neither rank, station, nor color, nor does it recognize wealth. It only demands that it live with a contented mind and pure heart.

It will not live with ostentation; it flees from pretense; it loves the simple life; it insists upon a sweet, healthful, natural environment. It hates the forced and complicated and formal.

Real happiness flees from the things that pass away; it abides only in principle, permanency. I have never seen a person who has lived a grasping, greedy, money-chasing life, who was not disappointed at what money has given him for his trouble.

It is only in giving, in helping, that we find our quest. Everywhere we go we see people who are disappointed, chagrined, shocked, to find that what they thought would be the angel of happiness turned out to be only a ghost.

All the misery and the crime of the world rest upon the failure of human beings to understand the principle that no man can really be happy until he harmonizes with the best thing in him, with the divine, and not with the brute. No one can be happy who tries to harmonize his life with his animal instincts. The God (the good) in him is the only possible thing that can make him happy.

Real happiness can not be bribed by anything sordid or low. Nothing mean or unworthy appeals to it. There is no affinity between them. Founded upon principle, it is as scientific as the laws of mathematics, and he who works his problem correctly will get the happiness answer.

There is only one way to secure the correct answer to a mathematical problem; and that is to work in harmony with mathematical laws. It would not matter if half the world believed there was some other way to get the answer, it would never come until the law was followed with the utmost exactitude.

It does not matter that the great majority of the human race believe there is some other way of reaching the happiness goal.
The fact that they are discontented, restless, and unhappy shows that they are not working their problem scientifically.

We are all conscious that there is another man inside of us, that there accompanies us through life a divine, silent messenger, that other, higher, better self, which speaks from the depths of our nature and which gives its consent, its "amen" to every right action, and condemns every wrong one.

Man is built upon the plan of honesty, of rectitude - the divine plan. When he perverts his nature by trying to express dishonesty, chicanery, and cunning, of course he can not be happy. The very essence of happiness is honesty, sincerity, truthfulness. He who would have real happiness for his companion must be clean, straightforward, and sincere. The moment he departs from the right she will take wings and fly away.

It is just as impossible for a person to reach the normal state of harmony while he is practising selfish, grasping methods, as it is to produce harmony in an orchestra with instruments that are all jangled and out of tune. To be happy, we must be in tune with the infinite within us, in harmony with our better selves. There is no way to get around it. There is no tonic like that which comes from doing things worth while. There is no happiness like that which comes from doing our level best every day, everywhere; no satisfaction like that which comes from stamping superiority, putting our royal trademark upon everything which goes through our hands.

Recently a rich young man was asked why he did not work. " I do not have to," he said. " Do not have to " has ruined more young men than almost anything else. The fact is, Nature never made any provision for the idle man. Vigorous activity is the law of life; it is the saving grace, the only thing that can keep a human being from retrograding.

Activity along the line of one's highest ambition is the normal state of man, and he who tries to evade it pays the penalty in deterioration of faculty, in paralysis of efficiency. Do not flatter yourself that you can be really happy unless you are useful. Happiness and usefulness were born twins. To separate them is fatal.

It is as impossible for a human being to be happy who is habitually idle as it is for a fine chronometer to be normal where not running. The highest happiness is the feeling of well being which comes to one who is actively employed doing what he was made to do, carrying out the great life-purpose patterned in his individual bent. The practical fulfilling of the life purpose is to man what the actual running and keeping time are to the watch. Without action both are meaningless.

Man was made to do things. Nothing else can take the place of achievement in his life. Real happiness without achievement of some worthy aim is unthinkable. One of the greatest satisfactions in this world is the feeling of enlargement, of growth, of stretching upward and onward. No pleasure can surpass that which comes from the consciousness of feeling one's horizon of ignorance being pushed farther and farther away-of making headway in the world-of not only getting on, but also of getting up.

Happiness is incompatible with stagnation. A man must feel his expanding power lifting, tugging away at a lofty purpose, or he will miss the joy of living. The discords, the bickerings, the divorces, the breaking up of rich homes, and the resorting to all sorts of silly devices by many rich people in their pursuit of happiness, prove that it does not dwell with them, that happiness does not abide with low ideals, with selfishness, idleness, and discord. It is a friend of harmony, of truth, of beauty, of affection, of simplicity.

Multitudes of men have made fortunes, but have murdered their capacity for enjoyment in the process. How often we hear the remark, " He has the money, but can not enjoy it."

A man can have no greater delusion than that he can spend the best years of his life coining all of his energies into dollars, neglecting his home, sacrificing friendships, self-improvement, and everything else that is really worth while, for money, and yet find happiness at the end. The happiness habit is just as necessary to our best welfare as the work habit, or the honesty or square dealing habit.

No one can do his best, his highest thing, who is not perfectly normal, and happiness is a fundamental necessity of our being. It is an indication of health, of sanity, of harmony. The opposite is a symptom of disease, of abnormality. There are plenty of evidences in the human economy that we were intended for happiness, that it is our normal condition; that suffering, unhappiness, discontent, are absolutely foreign and abnormal to our natures.

There is no doubt that our life was intended to be one grand, sweet song. We are built upon the plan of harmony, and every form of discord is abnormal. There is something wrong when any human being in this world, tuned to infinite harmonies and beauties that are unspeakable, is unhappy and discontented.


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