Richard Branson posted on November 9th, 2012 about true happiness and success.
After giving his words much thought, I responded to his question, "What's the best measurement for success? Happiness?"
Thousands of people answered with a general consenus of money cannot buy happiness.
A few felt that money or the pursuit of it did bring a certain measure of happiness. Howbeit, their idea of happiness was superficial and fragile as the weather. One lady expressed her obvious discontent and bitterness towards those with money as if the only reason Mr. Branson asked the question was because he was lonely.
Having followed Mr. Branson for some time now, I feel that he is anything but lonely, or he is a great actor of joy and family bonding. He expresses an out-going concern for others that is unique to someone of his status in life.
Happiness and joy are different. We can have joy even if we are not happy. Satisfied desires can bring happiness, yet joy can be attained even when our desires are not fulfilled. Even when our heart's desires have been fulfilled, we can feel empty inside and desire more and more without ever feeling that deep inner sense of accomplishment and joy.
Tranquility is the highest degree of joy. It is a result of virtue. We can attain joy in our life by practicing virtuous living among our families, friends, jobs, and neighbors. Attaining status, riches, or noteriety does not guarantee happiness or joy. Some of the poorest people on the planet can be the happiest while on the same token, some of the richest and successful people can also be among the happiest. Money is, therefore, not the governing factor to our joy.
Tranquility can be achieved by practicing two simple things in our lives.
When we learn what powers we have, and what powers we have not, and then concern ourselves only with the things we have been given power over, without hindrance by those things that we cannot control, we have accomplished the first step towards tranquility.
Some of the things that are within our will or control are our choices, reactions, actions, thoughts, and emotions. Things we have no power over are death, appearances, what others think or do, pain, etc.
When we are grateful for all things in life, we have taken the second step towards tranquility. Even if life gives us ill health, pain, or sadness, find a way to be grateful for it. If we lose a loved one, be thankful for the sorrow for if we had never loved, we could never know sorrow.
If we desire a new car, but cannot afford one, be thankful for the car we have and desire it.
If we desire a house to call home, be thankful for the apartment and call it home.
If we desire outward beauty, yet our mirror testifies against our desire, be thankful for the inner beauty we have and nurture it; character is greater than outward beauty and lasts much longer.
The opportunities are endless. It is possible to attain great success in business and wealth while having true tranquility and joy of family and virtue.
Some feel that they cannot be happy if they are not sacrificing themselves in helping others, yet, poverty and sorrows are a bottomless pit. There is no end. If all the rich in the world were to pour out their wealth for the poverty-stricken, then all would be poor.
Those who have found great inner tranquility will help others in many ways that money will not. Peaceful people are a joy to be around and tend to be contagious. The Greeks have three words for love: aros - affectionate love between mates; filos - love between friends; and agape - the outgoing brotherly love for everyone. The latter form of love is translated in our Bibles as "charity." Of all the gifts, the virtues, and qualities we can possess, charity is the greatest.
me agapi kai filia (Greek for: with love and friendship)