The Secret to Happiness?

by | May 24, 2010 | 0 comments

Do you know the secret to happiness?

Earl Nightingale uses the quote:

“the secret of happiness is freedom
and the secret of freedom is courage."

As we look around, we have the greatest freedoms in this nation. And yet we take them for granted. We don’t recognize them. We don’t fight for them. We don’t stand up for them. As far as our government is concerned, we have spent alot of time over the last many years letting the government take our freedoms away. And they will take them away, no matter what administration, no matter what political policy.

That’s human nature

And yet on a more minor scale, in our individual lives we see that we suffer the same fate. Many of us are seeking happiness and freedom but we don’t have the courage.

So many people will tell me they want to do things. They want to start a business. They want to change jobs. They want to find fulfilling work. They want to help people. They want to do things to help people and have an impact on the world.  And yet they continue in their day-to-day 8 to 5 jobs and the things that have trapped them in their lifestyle. Things that are bringing them rewards and putting food on the table but they are not fulfilling. They are not acting on their freedom with courage.

The True Secret

There is a secret to happiness. The apostle Paul writes about contentment. Not necessarily happiness, but contentment is the key. He had learned to be content wherever he was. In wealth and poverty. In freedom and in prison. Yet you see in the apostle, that he lives out a freedom—even while behind bars—– he has exercised —with courage, with freedom—to do that which he was called to do with no apologies.

I would say that Paul, who was living behind bars, was living with more courage and freedom than many of us who are living in this nation today. We don’t operate on the mentality of freedom because we don’t operate with courage. What stops that?


We do not want to set goals. We don’t want to think about what we might become and we don’t want to take one step towards becoming it. Many people say we are in a comfort zone. We’ve become comfortable.

But I still say—-it is fear.

We do not dare to upset anything that makes us comfortable. Even in a land where we can do things in such controlled fashions. We have the opportunity, the hours in a day, and the capability to do things with a minimal—yes I say minimal—risk, yet we will not even take that risk.

First Step

The first step I find for many people is answering the question:

What is it that you want?

You have the freedom. What is it that you would like to achieve? What’s out there that’s always been in the back of your mind? What do you think about while you’re driving down the road? What do you want to become? What do you wish you were?

Most of us have something like that that we’ve dreamed of doing.

Others of us never dare to ask.

Simple Question?

It’s been one of the most difficult assignments that I’ve given in a university classroom where I ask people what do they want. A simple flippant question that many of them will open a sheet of paper and start to write it down instantaneously —as the words come out of my mouth.

A wry smile, a quick flip open of the notepad, pulling the pencil out, and you can tell on their mind: I can write this down before he finishes the sentence

And yet there is a moment of pondering thought that shows up in their eyes as the pencil touches the paper: you can tell from the expression on their face: “What do I want? …This is an odd question.”

So what do you want?

Really! What is it that you have been given the freedom to do, but you need the courage to do it?

About the Author

Dale Callahan

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