Health, Wealth, and Love
What is happiness? The dictionary defines it as "a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy."
Like many dictionary definitions, this may be accurate, but needs to be more specific to be of practical use. How do you experience this "state of well-being?"
One of the best practical definitions of happiness that I have come across is provided by Charles Haanel in his classic work "The Master Key System." According to Haanel, there are only three things that can be desired in the "world without." They are health, wealth, and love.
I have heard a number of people talk about the desirability of health, wealth, and happiness, but I don't believe that is as accurate as Haanel's observation. That's because the three components of happiness are health, wealth, and love. Everything else we desire in the world is a subset of one of these three desires. And just as you can create virtually any color of the rainbow with the primary colors of red, yellow, and blue, you can create any shade of happiness by learning how to control these three areas of your life.
The people who are the happiest are those with the most abundant health, wealth, and love. It's true that exceptional people can be happy without the exterior manifestation of these qualities, but most people need some level of each in order to "feel" happy.
Those who have poor physical health due to an accident or illness, but who attain happiness, have learned to compensate their physical condition with superior mental, emotional, and spiritual health. A shining example of this is Christopher Reeve. But note that he also had an abundance of financial wealth and an enormous amount of love from his wife, family, and friends from around the world.
There are those without massive amounts of wealth who are still happy. But a close examination of their situation often reveals that they at least have sufficient wealth for their needs and good health and lots of love in their life. For every person without a lot of wealth who is happy, there are many more who live in unhappiness and fear. Being able to manage and increase wealth in a positive and peaceful way certainly increases a person's happiness.
And what happiness can possibly be complete without love? Love, true love, is the most important quality of all. Not just the love between husband and wife, parent and child, but love for all human kind. But it is the love of those closest to us is necessarily deeper and brings the greatest levels of happiness. No one can be truly happy who does not have a heart filled with love and gratitude. There is no one quite so miserable who lives a life of indifference or in some cases hatred toward others.
The fantastic news is that each of these three components of happiness have their starting point in "the world within." The world within is your heart, mind, soul, spirit. To improve in any one of these areas of happiness, the first place to start is with the world within. That means that every person of sound mind has the capacity to improve each area regardless of their current condition. If you have enough mental capacity to read and understand this article, you have every resource you need to create happiness for yourself.
You want excellent health? First, improve the overall quality of your thoughts. There is a mind-body connection that is undeniable. Positive thinking actually creates chemistry in your body that improves health. Second, use your mind to create excellent health habits (the right foods and the right exercise for your situation). Create the right causes, and the right circumstances will follow.
You want abundant wealth? It has long been established that all wealth ultimately flows from thought. Study and take advantage of the laws of wealth. Improve the use of your imagination so that you are able to create new opportunities for yourself. Take control of your financial habits and increase your awareness of how you use your money. If you use your mind to use your money wisely, more money will flow into your life.
You want more love? Love, being the one complete intangible of the three, ultimately comes entirely from within. To increase the amount of love in your life requires only an improvement of attitude. To receive more love from others only requires that you give more love to them.
It is this intangible quality of love that makes love the greatest value of all. Without some measure of love, of what real value is health or certainly wealth? This is why those who truly love are the happiest of all people.
"...and the greatest of these is love."