"True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
I've recently recommenced binging on Criminal Minds, and one of my favorite things about that show, even though the writers have no clue what a Libertarian is, is their extraordinary taste in choosing quotes to share with the audience. This was one such quote, and it startled me, how similar it is, to words I say very often, and which almost invariably earn me a puzzled or skeptical stare:
Most people mistake Pleasure...for Happiness. But pleasure is fleeting, gone sometimes in a moment, whereas happiness is always with us, every hour of every day, regardless of circumstances.
Pleasure comes from indulgence, and therefore can only last as long as the indulgence.
But Happiness comes from service to a cause larger than ourselves. Happiness comes even if one is not actively engaged in that cause, but working and advancing towards active engagement.
And that is because Happiness is ultimately wired into our DNA, tied into our tribal instinct, every last one of us, to advance the welfare of our tribe, humankind. To attain Happiness, which comforts the Soul every single hour of every single day, regardless of circumstances, one need only identify how best one might serve humankind, and then pursue one's calling with fidelity and purpose.
"Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country."
Kennedy clearly understood how our DNA is wired to serve others. And I would actually take it a bit further, integrating his great words with the great words of Helen Keller:
Ask not how Life can serve you, for Life has already proven its Love for you, by giving you Life. Ask, rather, what you can do for Life, for by serving Life, you will find that Life loves you even more.