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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

Plowing Ahead Even When The Internal Engine Loses Steam

"... I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great. When it comes to one, it comes as naturally as sleep.” ~ Willa Cather

But how do we plow ahead even when our internal engine loses steam? We get rocked by life and it's not always pretty. We may suffer the loss of a loved one, a failure at work, an embarrassment or some other form of shame, disappointment or misfortune.

Just as the true test of a pilot is how safely he or she flies the aircraft in adverse conditions, the real test of character is in the fight for happiness after one's internal engine loses steam. It's a challenge we all face sooner or later. And how we respond can make us or break us.

“The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too, but there will be no special hurry.” ~ Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

I'm convinced it's our birthright to be happy. And if we lose our happiness, it's our responsibility to find it again. And we have all the resources to do it. Why wouldn't we?

“There is the happiness which comes from creative effort. The joy of dreaming, creating, building, whether in painting a picture, writing an epic, singing a song, composing a symphony, devising new invention, creating a vast industry.” ~ Henry Miller

I can tell you from personal experience I've been unhappy; I've been depressed; and I've considered doing terrible things to myself to skip out of my own little pity party. The thing that pulled me from my abyss of despair was becoming a volunteer at a hospital, offering to write letters to loved ones for people dying from cancer.

When I began thinking more about adding value to someone else's life, and less about my own problems, something miraculous happened. I discovered how insignificant my own problems actually were, and how good it felt to make someone smile who was dying from cancer.

“Those who are not looking for happiness are the most likely to find it, because those who are searching forget that the surest way to be happy is to seek happiness for others.”

~ Martin Luther King Jr.

If you find yourself in a funk, or know someone who is, I submit volunteering somewhere, anywhere, where you - or that person you know - can add value in someone else's life.

“Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present.” ~ Jim Rohn

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