“Only through service to others can anyone have genuine happiness.” I was interviewing an expert on virtues recently, and she made this magnificent claim oh-so-casually, it was as if she were telling me the weather forecast. I was intrigued. So the meaning of life has been all figgered out? Did I miss the front-page news? If it’s that simple, why don’t more of us know this stuff?
With the release of a new book by John Hallward, maybe more of us will. His book is called The Happiness Equation: The Human Nature of Happy People. The author, who’s a research executive with Ipsos, surveyed over 1000 Canadians about what makes us happy and found, well, pretty much what she said.
In an interview with The Toronto Star, Hallward shares his golden key to utter happiness. In fact, he reiterates it three separate times: “Compassion over consumption.” That’s the secret. Three little – well, three medium-sized words.
Hallward means we should do what we feel passionate about, forge connections with other people, be charitable, do volunteer work.
That sure sounds like “service to others” to me.
And in case you’re wondering, according to Hallward’s research, you can forget fame and riches. They won’t do it for you. Just stay out of debt. Then open your heart, and you’re set.