I spent a lot of my twenties accumulating stuff. I wanted a new (and bigger) TV, the latest computer, and a bigger house. I knew stuff wasn’t the key to happiness, but a part of me that would never say otherwise believed it really was.
But as I grew up (and ran out of money) I noticed the happiest people in my life didn’t have the newest stuff. In fact a lot of them didn’t have a lot of stuff at all. It wasn’t because they didn’t make good money, because a lot of them did. It was because they gave a lot of their time, money, and stuff away.
They were doing what I wasn’t because they had learned something I hadn’t. And it was this:
The people who get the most out of life are often the people who give the most in life.
When you think about the end of your life and the people who will be at your funeral and what you want them to say about you do you imagine them saying something like, “He always had the best stuff, the biggest TV, and made a ton of cash”?
Or do you hope they’ll say something like this (and actually mean it because it’s true)?:
“He was someone who loved God and people a lot, even when it was hard.”
“He was the man of my dreams.”
“I always felt loved by my dad.”
“He was always there for me.”
“He was a leader worth following.”
“He walked his talk.”
Having stuff isn’t a bad thing. I still love when I’m able to upgrade my phone, tablet, and laptop. I enjoy it and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I don’t expect those things to make me happy because they can’t.
The happiest times in my life are spent with people. Loving them, laughing with them, and lifting them up.
Happiness comes from what you do for people, not what people do for you.