What’s happiness? I don’t think happiness is any one unique feeling. Joy is happiness. Laughter is happiness. Being around your loved ones is happiness. Feeling content, for whatever reason, is happiness. Feeling satisfied is happiness. That feeling you get when you win at something is happiness. Relief is happiness.
If I had a gun at my head to define happiness in one simple way I suppose I’d define happiness as feeling good at a particular moment in time.
I experienced happiness yesterday. It started with a call from a friend who had a complex international tax question that I was able to explain in a way that was no longer complex. He was so appreciative and I felt good. That happiness feeling lasted about 15 minutes. Then a few hours later I received an email from a first time, self-published author who wanted to know what he needed to do to succeed. I spent about 30 minutes crafting a very long email, bullet pointing the key things I learned over the past 5 years that I felt were critical to my success. I got an email back from this person thanking me profusely. That happiness stayed with me for about an hour.
While neither of these two individuals will very likely ever be able to adequately repay me for helping them, I think they already have. They gave me 1.25 hours of happiness, I wouldn’t have otherwise had, in a very hectic day during the busiest time of the year for me (tax season). They gave me the opportunity for happiness by asking me for help. And I took advantage of that opportunity.
I think the real take away is that we should all devote a portion of every day helping others. Giving creates happiness for the person doing the giving. The key is being on the lookout and making yourself aware of opportunities to help others. When you make giving a daily habit, you’ll be happy every day of your life.