Your pursuit of happiness is over because you’re about to find happiness in the wisdom of a homeless man named Robert.
While walking to a restaurant one evening, I met Robert. After spending many hours together in the weeks that followed, I became his friend. He has taught me so much; in fact, he’s the greatest teacher I’ve ever encountered on “How To Find Happiness”… even in the midst of challenge, adversity, or unpleasant life change.
One freezing morning I picked up Robert to get some coffee. He cheerfully smiled and said “Good morning” as he climbed in my car. I noticed he didn’t have his coat, so I asked him where it was. He said, “Last night I was on the sidewalk with this older guy who was so cold, he was shaking like a leaf. I felt sorry for him, so I gave him my coat.”
Here’s a guy who lives, eats, and sleeps on sidewalks. He’s cold, exhausted, and downtrodden. His most pressing concern is survival. His clothes are all he owns, but he still gives the coat off his back to help someone in need.
What compels a man like Robert to help another? Maybe we can learn something valuable from him about happiness and how to feel better fast when we’re faced with challenges and adversity.
In his book Try Giving Yourself Away, David Dunn said, “I’ve come to believe that my hobby of helping, of giving away, with the flush of pleasure it brings, is the finest heart tonic in the world.”
Dunn hit the mark. Giving ourselves in service is a powerful contributor to health, happiness, and long life. Studies reveal that people who do volunteer work at least once/week, outlive those who do none, nearly three-to-one. Giving does your heart good in more ways than one.
Og Mandino, in A Better Way To Live, asks “What if you begin treating everyone you meet – your family, neighbors, co-workers, strangers, customers, even enemies if you have any – as if they, along with you, will be dead by midnight? How do you suppose you would treat everyone? You know how. With more consideration and care and love than you ever have before. And how do you suppose they would respond to your kindness? Of course! With more consideration and kindness and cooperation than you ever experienced from others in the past.”
Isn’t that the treatment we need most during difficult times? Much of the world is on the wrong scent in pursuit of fulfillment and happiness when faced with challenge and adversity. If only they knew the secret of a homeless man sitting on a sidewalk in the dead of winter without his coat.
My friend gave his coat because giving is a heart tonic, served up on a higher road where your problems disappear because you aren’t thinking about yourself.
There at least five things you can do with your hands during adversity. You can wring them in despair, fold them in helplessness, clench them in anger, hold them up in surrender, or use them to help someone.
Do you ever find yourself discouraged about life, and all you want is a little happiness and comfort? If so, use your hands and go help someone and don’t be surprised when, as a result, you get exactly what you want.