Unselfish and Happy

A fascinating study on the principle of the Golden Rule was conducted by Bernard Rimland, director of the Institute for Child Behavior Research. Rimland found that “The happiest people are those who help others.”

Each person involved in the study was asked to list ten people he knew best and to label them as happy or not happy. Then they were to go through the list again and label each one as selfish or unselfish, using the following definition of selfishness: a stable tendency to devote one’s time and resources to one’s own interests and welfare—an unwillingness to inconvenience one’s self for others.”

In categorizing the results, Rimland found that all of the people labeled happy were also labeled unselfish. He wrote that those “whose activities are devoted to bringing themselves happiness…are far less likely to be happy than those whose efforts are devoted to making others happy.” Rimland concluded: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Source: Martin & Diedre Bobgan, How To Counsel From Scripture, Moody Press, 1985, p. 123. From Rimland’s, ‘The Altruism Paradox,’ Psychological Reports , 51 (1982): 521, 522.

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