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Summary: Real happiness comes from investing in people and a God-directed passion

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff–

More is Not Better--Simplicity is freedom.

Have you seen the bumper sticker "He who dies with the most toys wins." I saw one that said, "He who dies with the most toys still dies." I believe that many of us have bought that idea that life consists in how much we have.

Yet we are blitzed with countless reminders that having more means being more important, being more attractive, being more valuable.

Every person is bombarded with an average of one hour of advertisements every day.

Advertising is on our streets and highways; in restaurants, shops, movies, and magazines; at concerts and sports event; in our schools and museums; and even in our homes and on our clothes.

In a recent survey, 93% of teenage girls named shopping as their favorite thing to do. (90% of boys like to go to the malls and watch the girls shop). By the time they’re three years old, most American children are making specific requests for brand-name products. Every day you are being told that unless you buy this product or eat at this restaurant, you’re not really happy. We’ve grown up in a culture that says having more means being happier.

Luke 12:15 "A person’s life does not consist of the abundance of possessions." That’s not where you’re really going to find fulfillment and happiness.

Money & Happiness

Ask most people today if money buys happiness and they’ll say no. But ask those same people if a little more money will make us a little more happy-- and most will agree. The Roper Organization asked Americans who make $15,000-$30,000 how much they needed to fulfill all their dreams. The largest group said they’d need $50,000-$60,000. Yet when that same question was put to people earning over $50,000, the largest group in that segment said they’d need at least $125,000 a year, if not more.

Over the past 15 years researchers have studied the relationship between money and happiness. They have concluded that money can buy pleasure, but not happiness. What’s the difference? Pleasure is temporary release. Ability to take a Florida vacation, buy a better car, a membership at the country club. We can buy temporary feel goods, and we can often do it for years at a time. But, Happiness comes from your experiences in which you enjoy investing your mental and emotional energies.

Happiness comes from Investing in Your Passion and Investing in People

Investing in Your Passion

No one knows this better than Richard Westerfield. At age 22, having studied piano, violin, and voice, he got his first chance to conduct and orchestra. "The moment I picked up the baton, I knew this was what I wanted to do." His parents however, urged him to be more practical. So he got a master’s degree in business and took a well-paid position in international investment banking.

But Richards passion for music never ebbed. After putting in 12 hour days on Wall Street, he’d stay up nights writing music scores. His vacations were spent guest conducting for orchestras around the country. One year he got his big break when a famous European conducter (Erich Leinsdorf) had to bow out of 5 guest appearances with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. Westerfield, his understudy, took over to critical acclaim.

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