“Are you looking for something?” he asked
“Yes. I dropped my keys” slurred the other man.
“I’ll help you” the first man replied and was thanked.
After some minutes of fruitless searching the first man said
“I can’t see anything. Are you sure you dropped them here?”
“Oh I didn’t drop them here” replied the drunk man “I dropped them over there” and he pointed across the road.
Astonished the first man asked “But why are you looking here?”
Equally confounded the second man replied “Because it’s light here. I can’t see anything over there!”
I tell this story because it seems to me that many of us are searching for something, not our house keys, necessarily, but something even more important; the ‘key’ to happiness. But more and more, I’ve become convinced that we are looking in the wrong place.
We seek happiness by making ourselves feel good about ourselves. We work on our self-esteem, we work on our looks, we work on our status. I’m not denying that these are important, but I believe that more importantly we need to focus somewhere else. We need to focus on other people. We need to focus on making other people feel good in whatever way- be that through giving, supporting, helping, boosting, acknowledging, engaging with; whatever needs to happen. Of course, it’s about balancing that giving so that it doesn’t build to resentment. But it’s only when we lift our gaze away from the shortsighted and insular scrutiny of ourselves and look out to others that we will, I believe, find the true key to our own happiness.