It would appear that our main problem in life is happiness; yet there appears to be a confusion about the ingredients that go to make up this evidently desirable condition. To many the main ingredients seem to be money and leisure. How can one be happy without a new coat, a better pair of shoes, a new car, a better house and the leisure in which to enjoy them? How is it possible to be happy when it is manifestly impossible to have the things one wants and desires? And yet, an individual can have a million dollars and buy everything that he desires and still not achieve happiness. Another, who has worked hard all his life and raised a large family, has looked forward to retiring when he would have the time to do all the things he had always wanted to do. But, after he has retired, is he happy? No, he is sitting there thinking about the good old days when he was working hard.
So this question of happiness needs to be examined. What is it? How does one attain it?
The truth of the matter is (and philosophers have said this many times) that the only happiness you will ever find lies within you.
Actually a little child derives all of his pleasure in life from the grace he puts upon life. He goes out in the morning and looks at the day. And it is a very, very beautiful day. He looks at the flowers and they are very beautiful. He waves a magic hand and brings all manner of interesting things into being in the environment. Do you see the magic of the morning and the beauty of the flowers? Too often when we have become adult the flowers are wilted, if we even see them, and the beauty of the morning is obscured by a cloud.
Our attitude toward life makes every possible difference to our living. It is not necessary to study a thousand ancient books to discover this fact; but sometimes it needs to be pointed out again. Life does not change so much as our attitude towards it.
It is easy enough to lose sight of this when our problems are overwhelming us and we no longer seem able to handle them. When the marriage which we dreamed would be so happy turns out to be a dog fight, the project from which we had hoped so much suddenly falls flat, or the friend whom we had trusted betrays our trust.
Is there anything that we can do for conditions like these? There are many things we can do — the least of them is to take a look at the environment. Just look around and ask yourself, “Where am I?” “What am I doing here?” Once you have found out where you are, then find out what you can do to make it more habitable. The day you stop building your own environment, when you stop creating your own surroundings, when you stop waving a magic hand and gracing everything around you with magic and beauty, things cease to be magical and beautiful.
People seek happiness in various ways, hectically, seriously, desperately; but the odd part of it is that they find only what they themselves put there. People become unhappy about life because they have ceased to make life. This is the single difference between human beings. On the one hand there is the human being who is unhappy,
Copyright (©)1954 by L. Ron Hubbard. All Rights Reserved.
miserable, sick, who is not getting along in life and who does not see its brightness. Life is handling him, running, changing, making him. On the other hand, we find somebody who is happy, cheerful, strong and who finds everything in life worth doing. What is the secret about this person? It is very simple. He is busy making life. This is the single difference. The first person has stopped making life because he, himself, has decided that life cannot be made. Some small failure, maybe not graduating with the same class, not marrying the first man or woman who came along and seemed desirable, losing a car, or just some other minor thing in life started this attitude, and the person looks around one day and says, “Well, I’ve lost.” After that life makes him; he does not make life any more.
This has been the main problem which man has faced and failed to solve and it would be a very dreadful situation if nothing could be done about it. The fact of the matter is that this is the easiest problem of all the problems man faces. Simply stated, it is changing his own and the attitudes of those around him. Everyone seems totally dependent upon the attitude of other people; the attitude of somebody else towards you may make or break your life. There are two problems: changing one’s own attitude towards someone else and theirs towards oneself. For many centuries man has desired to know how to change the mind and condition of himself and his fellows but, up to a relatively few years ago, had not accumulated enough information to do so. Man now understands a great many things which he never understood before, and among these can now be placed an understanding of the human mind. Man can conquer himself, and as a result interesting miracles are taking place across this country and the other continents of earth. These miracles consist of people becoming well when they were incurably ill, of people who were unhappy becoming happy, of abolishing the danger inherent in many illnesses and many of the conditions of man. Yet the answer has been with man all the time.
The science of Scientology came about because of the increase of man’s knowledge of the physical universe and of energy. Never before in all of his history has man possessed so much information about energy, and, in accepting this, he has entered into his inheritance of knowledge and understanding of his own mind. Scientology has made it possible for man to reach the goal towards which he has been striving for thousands of years: to know himself and, in knowing himself, to know and understand other people and the rest of the physical universe.
(Written from a transcription of a recent broadcast lecture by L. Ron Hubbard )