What would you say if I asked you to name the one thing that would make you the happiest person in the world? Aside from health, money, and good relationships for yourself and others, how would you answer?
Few people know how to answer, but some do. Take for example the life of an artist. What price would you offer to buy his talent? Buying his ability would prove difficult. Most painters would rather live in squalor than give up their ability to creatively explore the canvas with color.
Art is about self-expression. Every portrait is work rendered to the creative energy bubbling inside, and the process of rendering the work is what makes the artist most happy.
The same goes for musicians, songwriters, singers, doctors, entrepreneurs, writers, poets, politicians, builders, and anyone who loses themselves in a creative work.
The process of creatively materializing a project with talent and ability is how we find the most joy and fulfillment. It's a true blessing that every person who has ever lived in this world, barring any physical or mental condition, can translate an idea, or thought, into reality. Even Jesus experienced the blessing.
Once, upon returning from getting food for Jesus, the disciples were met with a surprise. Jesus turned down the offer to eat and said, "I have food to eat of which you do not know." (John 4:32)
Baffled by the event, His disciples asked Jesus about the mysterious source of food. Jesus replied, "My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work." (John 4:34)
Have you ever noticed that the concept of reality vanishes when you are thoroughly engrossed in something you like? When challenge stimulates your talent and ability, energy seems to be unlimited. The more you pursue your focus, the more alive you feel. That's what Jesus described to His disciples.
Jesus had a mission to accomplish. It was evident in His mind, and He was determined to accomplish it with his entire being. It was by the continuous employment of His skill, ability, and talent to fulfill His mission that God empowered His physical nature, and the same holds true for you.
Whether a person believes in God or not, every person is designed to receive fulfillment from work that continually challenges our abilities.
Losing yourself through challenging work allows you to explore your talents and abilities in unlimited ways. Exploring your qualities this way leads to discovery, and discovery leads to growth, and growth leads to maturity.
The journey from infancy to maturity is how we receive tremendous joy and satisfaction. We are rewarded with enormous energy and boundless possibilities when we walk on the path of a mission that requires our entire being to fulfill it. It's how we are transformed.
The key to a successful journey is a mission, a goal, a dream, something you can focus on during the pain sometimes we have to go through when we grow. The clearer your vision the less likely you are to quit. Your idea should be so apparent that it carries you through the worst times. Even Jesus carried His mission through all His trials.
If you think everything I just shared with you as curious, or just plain is nonsense, think again.
In 2014, Oxford University Press published a 260-page study headed by Marylene Gagne Ph.D., which analyzed the "psychological needs" of people across many cultures. The doctor discovered all people desire freedom, competency, and good relationships.
Across all cultures, languages, and religions, people have an innate tendency to freely express themselves, develop mastery over talents and abilities, and yearn to be in relationship with others. Furthermore, the study concluded that people were happier and healthier when they fulfilled these psychological needs.
The finding amounts to a scientific endorsement of Jesus' concept of experiencing higher life with God. When we pursue the fulfillment of a vision that requires discipline and mastery, we bring our God-given gifts into the captivity of one purpose, that's where the magic happens.
Here's something extraordinary to consider. If you don't focus your life in some way, you still receive results. In other words, the mechanism cannot be turned off. Much like all the fruit-bearing plants in the world, what we focus on will bear fruit.
God wants us to grow into perfection. Appropriately developed, perfection is Godhood. (Ephesians 4:13)
By developing ourselves, we understand sacrifice, pain, strength, loyalty, love, and determination, all the qualities Jesus experienced.
Living your life in the pursuit of a worthwhile cause is true living. It is how God becomes expressed in your thoughts and actions and how you improve others.
So now that you have the facts, how will you answer the question, "What will make you the happiest person in the world?"