“What’s the definition of happiness?”
Luckily he has an answer and it’s a good one: “Find something more important than you are and dedicate your life to it”.
This then is Principle Two for the successful optimist. All successful optimists have a project that is bigger than they are. By contrast, people who have a project that is the same size as themselves are invariably miserable and tedious company. Once you’ve got a bigger car/ nicer house/ television bigger than God what’s left? As so many find out, eventually the answer is a nagging emptiness accompanied by the thought, “Surely there must be more to life than this?”
Those with something bigger than themselves generally derive a deep-in-the-core happiness from whatever that is. It’s a happiness that comes from a feeling you have a place in the world. A ‘bigger than me’ project can be your family, your religion, military service or a scientific calling. You don’t have to agree with another person’s ‘bigger than me’ project but it is true that people who have them are usually more driven, positive and able to get things done as a result. This is a happiness different from the passing pleasures of a good night out or great joke, and it will not manifest itself as merriment, but its motivating power is fundamental to the successful optimist.