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I don’t know if it’s what they call the midlife crisis, but I’ve come to the realization that my life has a purpose. Everyone has a purpose. It’s aimed at a goal or result of some kind. Everything I do, I do for a reason. Behind every smaller or intermediate goal, there is a larger goal that I’m striving toward. That is my ultimate goal, which is to be happy.
For example, if you ask yourself: Why do I want to get a good job? The answer is probably so that you can earn a good salary. Why? So that you can have enough money. Why? So that you can buy a house and a car and have a nice standard of living. Why? So that you can have happy relationships and a good life with other people. Why? And the final answer is always: So that you can be happy. No matter what you do, your ultimate goal is to achieve your own happiness, however you define it. You are therefore successful to the degree to which you can organize your life in such a way that you are genuinely happy. You are a failure to the degree to which you cannot attain your own happiness.
The only difference between people in this area is that some people are better at achieving their own happiness than others. Some are good at it and others are not. Some people do the right things and get the desired results. Other people make choices and decisions that leave them unhappier and worse off than they ever would have been if they had done nothing at all. But in every case, each person is aiming at his or her own happiness.
As Aristotle said, “Only the good can be happy, and only the virtuous can be good.” Just imagine: you can only be happy if you are a good person, and you can only be a good person if you practice the virtues that are associated with goodness. What this means is that to have a happy life, you must continually strive to become a better person. Each time you act consistent with the highest good that you know, you feel happy inside. You enjoy higher levels of self-confidence and self-esteem. You become more effective in your relationships and in your work. In this sense, virtue is its own reward. It pays for itself in the inner feelings of happiness, contentment and personal power you feel when you do and say the things that are good and noble and true. This is why I decided to start a new career by making a difference in the lives of other people. Thus I can add more happiness into my basket: the third basket about people and society.
Everything in life involves relationships with other people. The quality, quantity, and complexity of your relationships defines you and shapes your life. We are all both dependent and interdependent. No one lives as an isolated island, completely unto themselves. In my life, I’ve encountered what I call bad people and good people. I’ve been cheated on many occasions, but I’ve also been helped on many occasions.
The power of smiling
Many people have heard at one time or another that a smile will give them a real boost. They have been told that a smile is excellent remedy for confidence deficiency. But still many folk do not really believe this. Why? One day, while working in IKEA, a middle-aged Swedish woman approached me and asked, “Why are you always smiling and happy?” I replied, “Am I?”

Without noticing, I had become one of those people who say “Good morning” or “hey” to everyone I met in the morning, though I had always smiled without really thinking about it. When I look back to where I started being happy and saying hello to everyone in the mornings it takes me back home in Rwanda. There it seems everyone greets each other in the morning, whether or not they know each other. We say “Waramutse?” which means “Are you alive?” In our culture if someone is sleeping, it means they’re half dead. So if you get up in the morning, it’s a blessing.
One day I decided to just go in and not say anything. I noticed that everyone was deep in thought, and not as many people noticed that I was near them as before. Before, I was the one to interrupt their focus by saying hello. Some people were so happy that I greeted them, but others didn’t like it. I didn’t know that until this person stopped me and asked why I was so happy all the time, greeting almost everyone.
For me, smiling has been a tool for me to show my happiness, appreciation, and confidence. If you do your research, you’ll find that a real smile does more than cure just your ill feeling. It melts away the opposition of others, and instantly, too. Another person simply cannot be angry with you if you give him a big, sincere smile.
This phenomenon often works for women. One day, I was in the parking lot and my neighbor, a young lady, couldn’t change her tires herself. When she saw me at first, she tried to act like she knew what she was doing. When I said “Hej,” she returned with a big smile and said, “Hi, I am changing my tires but it is taking too long. Can you help me?”
I didn’t have much time, since I had to go to work. I thought about me being late and how much it would cost, but also what I could do to help her. Without hesitation, I said, “I can help, but I don’t have time to do it right now. Maybe I can drive you at work, and then we can change the tires later after the work.” She agreed and I drove her to her work and changed the tires in the evening. Big smiles work on many occasions!
When you smile big, you feel like happy days are here again. I have many times when I don’t feel like smiling, like when I’m afraid or angry. Of course we all do, sometimes. But if you tell yourself forcefully, “I am going to smile” and smile, you can harness the power of smiling.

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