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The Pursuit of Happiness

November 4, 2008

“Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” is one of the most famous phrases in the Declaration of Independence.  In fact, most of Western Culture is based on our desire to persue happiness.  Unfortunately, we have equated hedonism with happiness, when in fact service and sacrifice are often the best paths to happiness.

Recently, I came across the idea of sacrifice as a path to peace, joy, love, and untiy.  Now I’ve made some significant sacrifices in my life, but I realize that I still have a small huge bit of selfishness that tends to rear its ugly head now and then all the time.  I have been contemplating how I can better serve my family and I’ve come up with these little huge things:

  1. Eat better and exercise more.  It is selfish of me to check out early.  Not to be arrogant, but my family would be very hurt if I were to kick-off early.  The more I can do to prolong my life, the more caring of them I can be.  Sure, another cheeseburger and side of fries would be great, but am I really going to let my immediate gratification outweigh the need of my family to have their Dad around longer? (especially as an older Dad)
  2. Improve my discipline.  I admit it, I am an undisciplined, out-of-the-box kind of guy.  But again, if I can better order my life in order to better serve my family, I not only win by having more time with them, but I can help my kids avoid the perils of living life on the edge.
  3. Walk away from the keyboard.  I need to wake up and smell the coffee.  My wife could use a little more help around the house.  Whether it be dishes, vacuuming, or other housework, if I could walk away from this pesky PC, I could help to relive some of her stress and workload.  This would help her be a better Mom and would strengthen our relationship.

In a nutshell, that’s all I have for now.  Less hedonism and more service, this is what our country’s fathers left out of the equation.  True happiness comes from serving others – not from seeking selfish pleasure.

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