Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Secret of Happiness


I've been working on a novel set primarily in Thailand for a loooong time now. Much of it is based off of my own experiences there. I've used the web many times in research and helping me to set the mood. Still, there's one thing I've overlooked until recently.

Travel bloggers.

Seems pretty obvious now, especially where one of my characters spent time backpacking in Thailand for his backstory. In the social media age there are numerous bloggers using their writing to help support their travel addiction (color me jealous).

One I've started following has journaled some amazing adventures - way beyond what I experienced. It has been enlightening. But when this blogger announced finding the "secret to happiness," I was curious what it would be.

There are some good points in there about making time for what matters, getting out of the rat race, and so on, but it boiled down to one point:

Ooh, look at ME!
Do whatever makes you happy.

Ah, the old idea of hedonism. It became all about what the blogger wanted to do - having the freedom to go with the flow and travel where there is opportunity. I'd love to do that as well. Wouldn't it be nice to find a way to live simply and engage in whatever strikes our fancy?

I still think we are made for something more.

Serving self brings joy for a time. Eventually, there is a realization that even this is empty. A wiser man than I once tried living for all of his desires, and he came to the conclusion that all is vanity (Ecclesiastes 2:9-11).

I was saddened by this blogger's announcement, because they were so excited by this epiphany. I know that it won't end well if this is where they camp out for life.

I would submit that we are meant not to live for ourselves, but we are meant to live for others. My greatest joy comes when I can truly help someone and give it freely without strings attached. This isn't often, because my selfish nature makes a mess of me, but when it does happen it resonates so deeply the ripples carry through my life for a long time.

Our ultimate example comes from a humble Jewish carpenter, who forsook everything, even when he had everything, to meet the needs of me. And you.

I hope this blogger realizes a life of sacrifice and giving, of serving others, will bring lasting happiness more than they have ever experienced in focusing on self. This is your life, so I encourage you to give it a try.


  1. Great post, Jason. And now that you've found travel bloggers, you have another group to whom you can market your story!


  2. "Eventually, there is a realization that even this is empty."

    Agree with you and Solomon about living for ourselves.