Key to HappinessI grabbed the morning paper and read the headline, “The Secret to Happiness”.

Smiling I thought, boy – this would be the source of a good debate in Sunday School class?!

But today I was ready for a bit of a respite from all the theological banter amongst believers on joy vs. happiness.  Right now, I was hoping for something a bit more frivolous and easy to digest.

However, editorial pages are not generally known for “frivolous and easy”.

Today was no exception.

Arthur C. Brooks, President of the Washington DC based public policy think tank “The American Enterprise Institute”, shares these findings:

There are Four Basic Values that universally have the biggest influence on our happiness:

  • faith
  • family
  • community/friends
  • work

The first three Brooks says are no surprise.

Studies consistently show that people with faith – any kind of faith – are consistently happier.

Ditto for family – warts and all.

And those with a solid sense of engagement with their community and a trusted circle of friends…ditto there too.

But  work?

At first blush, it might even seem likelier to reduce happiness than promote it???

But here is what he means by work:

#1 – it is not about the money.  Yes we all want to be paid well..but the purpose is not money alone.

#2 – and this is the key – “it is about the profound personal rewards that only earned success can bring.  In other words, the secret to happiness through work is earned success.  It is deeply satisfying to apply our skills and create value in our lives and the lives of others.”

OK…so much for a frivolous morning.

What I got instead was a HUGE AHA:

My entire work-life has been built on pursuing entrepreneurial dreams.  About doing work that matters…and making a difference in the lives of others.

No wonder I have found a lot of genuine happiness in my work?!?

But where did it all start?

Two amazing parents who were very successful business people and modeled a strong work ethic.  They blessed me with their entrepreneurial spirit and the belief that work was good.  They lifted me up and encouraged me to pursue my dreams.

The other place where it began was simply timing. Being raised at a time in our nation when free enterprise…business creation…and opportunity to do better through our own efforts was embraced, supported and encouraged.

If this resonates with you at all – will you join me and begin doing what you can (as Arthur Brooks says) “to revive our moral appreciation for the cultural elements of success”  (which I also believe are Biblical):

  • individual liberty
  • equal opportunity
  • entrepreneurship
  • self-reliance

 Can I get a big Amen to that???