The One Simple Key to Godliness and Happiness

Filed in Living by on January 1, 2015 0 Comments

Girls softball team in dugout with coach

I was carrying and reading my bible every day, and got so caught up in protecting it, I forgot to live by what I learned from it: to do more for others than you do for yourself.

Denzel Washington as Eli, in The Book of Eli

Ironically, the surest way to be unhappy is to pursue happiness directly, by focusing on yourself and seeking personal pleasure. Instead, the key to happiness, and godliness, is to focus outside yourself, on others and their needs.

So how can we do more for others than we do for ourselves? Let’s explore some possibilities both at work and home.

Focusing on Others at Work

Just the very nature of working for a living involves at least some focus on others, because you are being productive (hopefully!) and generating income for yourself and your family. Let’s examine both of these aspects—how we utilize our time at work and how we spend the money we earn—to determine how we might best focus on others with our work lives.

When you are at work, you can decide to: a.) do the minimum expected of you, b.) be an average worker, or c.) work exceptionally hard and diligently. I believe that working very diligently is a good way to give back to your company and be of optimal service to its customers. As such, it is an excellent means of being “other focused.” Another way to be other-directed at work is to simply be kind, compassionate, and helpful to all whom you come into contact with during your work day: your boss, your subordinates (if any), your co-workers, employees in other departments, customers, vendors, etc.

What about the fruits of your labor: the money you earn? Well, of course, you must first use your income to pay your basic bills. If you have a spouse, children, and a pet, this simple act alone is of significant help to others. However, how you choose to spend the money you have left over after the primary bills are paid is a key indicator of how much you are doing for others, vs. doing for yourself. Do you focus most of your extra money on helping those around you, or do you spend it mostly on yourself and personal pleasures? Spending it on others is a great way to pursue true happiness and godliness.

Doing More for Others at Home

How do you spend your evenings and weekends? Of course, some hobbies and other “selfish” pursuits are expected and can help rejuvenate you, but if that is all you do, then you are missing an opportunity to find much greater happiness. Great ways to focus on others with your personal time is to share activities with your spouse and kids, coach a team, volunteer, etc.

As you look back over the broad expanse of your life to this point, have you spent most of your time and money doing more for others than yourself? And as you look forward, what would be the best use of your time and money? These questions are worthy of some thought and consideration.

About the Author ()

TIM MCINTYRE retired in 2004 from his position as president of Applied Systems after facilitating a successful sale of the company. At only forty-six years old, he made the unusual decision to fully retire to pursue other interests and simply enjoy free time. As a hard-driving Type A personality, this turned out to be a significant challenge for the Notre Dame and University of Chicago-educated MBA, CPA, and Certified Cash Manager.

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