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Monday, April 12, 2010

Purpose: Are You Happy?

If someone were to ask you the question, "Taking all things together, would you say you are: very happy, quite happy, not very happy, or not at all happy" what would you answer? Circle the answer in your mind.

According to a 2005 survey conducted by World Values, which asked this exact question, Venezuela is the most happy country. Nigeria came in second. A study done by the University of Chicago found that people who work in professions who serve others - namely members of the clergy, firefighters and physical therapists - are the happiest.

As a massage therapist, I feel most happy when I serve others through helping them relax or by relieving their physical pain. But my contentment comes not only from providing this service but from purpose - through massage, I suddenly have a valuable, important, worthwhile purpose.

After trying accounting and sales and design, I stumbled onto massage therapy - money and motherhood led me there. I also stumbled into teaching youth dance and gymnastics via my children and found purpose - and joy.

I did not find happiness in serving others through accounting. While there was some satisfaction in filling an important role, being an accountant did not resonate with me. Though it seems obvious, finding your purpose and resultant happiness begins with finding yourself. When was the last time you assessed where you are in your life, what you are good at and what you are looking for?

If it's been a while, take this assessment. Perhaps you will find your purpose and your path to very happiness.

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