Psychologist Bernard Rimland once developed an interesting test you can use to determine what causes true happiness. Make a list of 10 people whom you know the best. After each name write either H (for happy) or N (for not happy). Then go down the list again, this time writing S (for selfish) and U (for unselfish) after each name. Once you have completed your list, you will notice something interesting. When Rimland added up the cases of 1,988 people rated by 216 students in 6 college classes, he found that the happy/selfish category had very few in it (only 78), while 827 fell into the happy/unselfish list.
Here’s what we can deduce from this data: Selfish people are by definition devoted to bringing themselves happiness, but they rarely do. Unselfish people were deemed to live much more satisfying lives. Thus, the key to true happiness is spending your time making someone else happy. Jesus knew this, of course, for He is quoted by Paul as saying “it makes one happier to give than to get” (Acts 20:35, Williams). If you want to truly be happy, take Jesus’ advice: “Treat other people exactly as you would like to be treated by them” (Matt. 7:12, Phillips).