When any of these four ingredients converge in your life, namely, your passion, your talent, what others need, and getting paid; it brings a level of happiness that is full. It is the kind of happiness that makes you look forward with expectation to what the day may bring forth. You did not chase it, but happiness came to you.
Do not chase after happiness. Happiness will come to you in its own time. Chasing happiness is like chasing after a rainbow. Anybody who has done it will tell you, will never reach it. That is how elusive happiness is.
Happiness is a serendipity, meaning, it is found when you are not looking for it. If you want to know more about the origin of the word “serendipity”, look for the story of “The Three Princes of Serendip”.
Happiness comes to you when you are doing something else altogether. This is the key to happiness. Any attempt at trying to achieve it through any means is bound to fail and end in disappointment or an endless chasing after the wind.
Happiness does not come to you just sitting idly by. However, happiness comes to you while you are preoccupied with things that matter to you and give meaning to the things you do. There are four ingredients that bring you happiness. Any of these can bring you happiness when you fulfill them. But the confluence of the four ingredients gives your life a fuller degree of happiness.
This is the first key that unlocks happiness in your life — to follow your passion. Any activity you would give your energies to is your passion. What is it that you love doing with all your heart? That is your passion. One of the most common passions that people give their all to is art. It could be music, dancing, painting, or sculpting.
There is a story of a young girl from the Philippines who followed her passion to become a world-class ballerina. At the age of 18, instead of enrolling in college and study accounting, she decided to disregard her father’s wishes and went to Russia to study ballet. Her life in Russia became a struggle, being away from home, and enduring the pain and agony of her rigorous training. Many times and with tears she wanted to give up, but she kept on. She was carried beyond her struggles by her passion. Ballet was what she loved. Following her passion brought her happiness. Her name is Lisa Macuja.
Talent describes any craft you are good at. It sometimes manifests itself in the form of giftedness. But talent can also be the result of training and apprenticeship. This makes you a skilled practitioner in any craft. In many cases it is both, meaning, that a person who is gifted becomes more skillful in his trade or art as a result of undergoing training.
The difference between a gifted and a non-gifted person is that a gifted person does things with much ease and success as compared to a non-gifted person. Graffiti artists and painters are some of the most talented and gifted persons in the world. Musicians are also equally talented. If you observe these artists at work you will be awed at how technical their craft is. But at the same time, you will admire how easy it seems to them. Watch Yuja Wang or Valentina Lisitsa play the piano. They are so skillful and yet what is impossible to us looks so easy to them. Being able to use their talent to its fullest brings them happiness.
The need of the world (others).
If your passion and your talent meet, meaning, if what you love to do is also something you are good at; it brings you double happiness. Moreover, if what you love to do and what you are good at is something that answers the need of the world or others; it brings you triple happiness.
One story you’d read about Vincent Van Gogh is that he never sold any of his paintings, except one, during his lifetime. The painting was entitled The Red Vineyard and it was sold some time before he passed away. He loved to paint, it was his passion. He was good at it, he was a gifted painter. But when he was still alive, he was not popular and he struggled as an artist to make both ends meet. Obviously, there was little or no need (desire) for any of his paintings then. It was only after his death (until the present time) that his paintings spoke to the world.
But there are people whose passion is to save the planet and the environment, and who have studied and are well-trained in conservation and preservation of the environment. These are the people who are now in the forefront of efforts to save the planet, protect the environment, and preserve our wildlife. These are people who have the passion and have the talent. And they know the world needs them. They get triple happiness in what they do.
By this, we mean receiving money for any service rendered or goods delivered. In and of itself, this ingredient to happiness is basic to all who are employed or who are in business. It obviously brings happiness to a hard-working laborer to get his paycheck on paydays. It definitely brings happiness to a businessman to get paid and earn a profit for any product he sold. This brings one level of happiness to people in general.
But isn’t it also common experience for people to feel they work like slaves, clocking-in, clocking-out, and getting paid? Work doesn’t bring them happiness, you often hear people complaining about work. It’s the paycheck — and beer at the pub after a long week — that brings happiness and enables them to endure work. Work becomes something to endure, not enjoy.
But what if the kind of work they do is something they also love and enjoy doing — their passion — then getting paid is a bonus. They are happy doing what they love; and happy also for getting paid. It’s a double happiness. You know where this is going. If they love what they are doing, and they are good at it, and they get paid to do it; that brings triple happiness. And if this is something they know the world needs they are bound to enjoy happiness in the highest degree.
Professional pianists like Yuja Wang get paid for doing what she is passionate about, where she is gifted at, and people would fall in line to see her play in concert. So are many environmentalists today, they are passionate about saving the planet, they are good at what they do, they know mother nature needs them, and they receive millions of dollars in funding. This brings them happiness.