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April 14, 2015

Spread Your Happiness.

Giving

Growing up, I was quite privileged. I always had food on the table and a roof over my head.

However, that wasn’t the case when my parents were young. My father became homeless at the age of 12, and had to learn how to feed himself and his family.

Because of his past, he didn’t want his children to suffer the way he did. Needless to say, I have never experienced the struggle of not having money in my pocket or food in my belly.

But he never spoiled us. He wanted us to see that there is something more valuable than money or materialistic possessions. He wanted us to know the importance of love.

So, instead of buying us the latest electronics or clothes, he took us traveling. I got to see the world and its most beautiful parts, and learn about other cultures and history. I also looked poverty straight in the eyes.

I began to question why we had so much and they so little. How was it fair that I was born in an economically secure family while the children of Egypt were walking hungry, fighting for their lives?

I quickly realized that my purpose in life is to alleviate the suffering of disadvantaged people. The way I see it, If you have the time to complain about global issues, you have an obligation to do something about them. Because the single mom raising eight children doesn’t have the time for it. The child living on the streets of India doesn’t have the education for it. And the 78-year-old man working to feed his family doesn’t have the energy for it.

So what’s your excuse?

Not everyone needs to become a social activist or build orphanages, even though that would be a beautiful thing. But to be able to help others, you have to be able to help yourself.

So the first step is to find whatever makes you happy, whatever lights that spark within you. Some people find it right away, whether it’s playing the guitar, cooking or writing. Others wander for years searching for it. There is no right or wrong path for this, we are just different as individuals.

Step two is to become an expert at it. Dr. K. Anders Ericsson argues that it takes at least 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything. So just do it—whatever you love doing—over and over again until it becomes a crucial part of your life.

Each of these steps is equally important, but step three is where you put it into purpose. This is when you use your passion to benefit others. Some might disagree, but in my reality, the purpose of life is to spread your happiness to make others happy.

A loved one once told me, there’s only fear and love. But for some reason, fear overtakes our hearts and leaves love in the corner of confusion.

I believe it’s time for the silent lambs to wake up the lions hiding within. We cannot continue to sit and watch while people around us suffer. We watch the world through self-centered eyes, in the belief that our happiness is the only happiness to chase.

But If we live united as one, we won’t have to chase happiness.

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Author: Selma Aytan

Editor: Evan Yerburgh

Image: Flickr

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Selma Aytan