In Part II, Dominick discusses the next two principles and actions steps to help us get closer to attaining happiness in our lives. He gives examples of daily affirmations and shares personal inspiring stories that help us realize the importance of finding happiness with the guidance of God’s love and light.
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Reflective Study Questions
Let us love, since that is what our hearts were made for.”Saint Therese of Lisieux
- The more permanent something is, the more it has to do with who you are and what God made you for. Dominick shared a story of how he felt very certain of his purpose when he became a father. “I was made for this.” Have you ever had that experience? If you haven’t, how might you discover what that purpose might be through Scripture and the Sacraments as Dominick suggested?
- Ultimately, our purpose is to love. How are you being called to love those closest to you during this season? How are you intentional about loving others around you, about loving God?
- The saints were really good at taking care of themselves, emotionally and intellectually, physically and spiritually. They understood the idea that by loving themselves very well, they’d be better able to love others. How are you doing at taking care of yourself right now? Have you noticed instances before where you were not able to care for others because you, yourself, were not taken care of? How do you think God might like you to take better care of yourself?
- What are some ways you can show God that you love Him?
- Have you ever prayed a daily morning offering or daily affirmation as Dominick suggested? What’s an affirmative prayer that resonates with you right now that you can say briefly every morning?
Text: The Fundamental Theory of Happiness, Part II
Hey everyone, this is Dominick, welcome back to Part II of our talk on the Fundamental Theory Of Happiness. Just real quick, I wanted to mention that if you, I’m covering everything really fast. If you want to dive into any of these topics in greater detail, I do encourage you to get the book. It’s available from Essential Press. Again, the title is “The Fundamental Theory of Happiness.” You can get it by going to essentialpress.com, forward/happiness. You can also reach me on my website, dominickalbano.com. I’m on there, I’ll answer any of your questions, my personal emails on there. I respond to all the emails, I’m not secret about it.
So yeah, please, please reach out. I’d love to chat with you. So in Part I, we talked about the idea that there’s four principles to happiness. Guidelines, rules, if you will, you follow these. They’re going to lead you to the happiness that God created you for, right? So our first principle was to become dissatisfied. And with every principle, we have an action item. So our first action item was a daily act of self-sacrifice, okay? Our second principle is to deepen your perception to see the world as God sees it. And our second action item was a daily time of silence in solitude, okay?
The Difficult Enemies
So that was Part I, now during Part II, we’re going to talk about our third and fourth principles for this Fundamental Theory Of Happiness. But before we get to that, I want to talk a little bit about the enemies of our happiness, okay? Now when I was in high school we used to play this game, Capture the Flag, you might remember that game, it’s basically like a big kids version of tag, right? You might get to like a big field or some sort of a big space and you split it in half, and you had a flag on either side and the goal was to run onto the other team side, capture their flag, run it back to your side without them tagging you, okay?
And so we used to play this in high school, really big Epic Games, we’re going on my buddy’s farm, big land we play at night, and get all dressed up and go out there and play. And some guys like the fastest guys, they would just like run all out. They go as fast they could and they were hard to catch because they were super-fast. But the thing is they like, that never won the game, right? Because they were always running right at exactly where they were. It was really easy to defend against because it was really easy to see, okay? I had this one friend that his name was Collin. And, Collin, well, he wear all black, and he painted his face, with camouflage and stuff. And he would get out there and he would like get down in the tall weeds we play at night. And he’d like, crawl through the tall weeds and I could do that like 45 minutes and I would go by and nobody would know where Collin is, Would be like, “What happened to Colin?” And before you knew it, like he popped up and he’d have the other team’s flag, and he’d be back on his side and the game would be over before anybody knew what’s going on, right?
Now why do I share this story with you? For one simple reason. The most difficult enemy to face are the ones that you don’t know are there. Simple as that, the most difficult enemies to face are the ones that you don’t know are there, right? It’s easy to face, our enemies that we know are right out in the open, but the enemies of our happiness, they like to remain in the secret. They like to remain in the dark. They like us to not know that there. And so here’s the reality, we’re not going to spend a ton of time on this, but I want you to know it, okay? Here’s the reality, there are enemies to your happiness.
There are forces in this world, human and supernatural, that do not want you to find the happiness that God created you for. It’s not fun to say, but it’s a reality and you have to know it. By diving into this idea of happiness, by refusing to be to just settle and to be satisfied with the comfort that the world promises you. You are facing the enemies of your happiness head on and seeking after the happiness that God created you for in a powerful way. So I’m praying for you, I encourage you, it’s awesome, it’s great.
The Permanent Principle
So let’s get into our third principle of the Fundamental Theory Of Happiness. Principle number three, is what I call the permanent principle. Now I’m going to say this a couple times, because it’s a little bit heady, you got to stay with it, okay? The permanent principle is this. Something has to do with your purpose in direct proportion to how permanent it is, okay? So let me say that again, something has to do with your purpose, in direct proportion to how permanent it is.
Right now, we have finished, right? Our second principle, deepen your perception. This idea of purpose, that God created everything with purpose, He doesn’t do anything by accident, right? And we as humans, we get preoccupied with purpose. We’re all walking around asking these big questions. Who am I and what am I here for, what was I made for? Right? All of these are getting at this idea of purpose, right? That we all want to know what our purpose is, okay?
And the permanent principle says this, right? The more permanent it is, the more it has to do with your purpose. Now this idea was revealed to me over time, it didn’t come in a flash of genius, but I first experienced it when I had my son, right, my firstborn son. Many of you, you are parents, you’ll be able to relate to that moment when you first told your kids and it’s like, you only have these moments a couple times in your life, I’m convinced of that. But it was one of these moments where I was like, I might not know who I am, and I might not know what I was ultimately made for. But like, I was made for this, like I was made to be this kid’s dad, you’re holding that kid in your arms for the first time and it’s just like, I was made for this, I was made to be this kid’s dad.
You know we get caught up in our job, and our house and our money, our possessions, all this stuff. But the truth is, all of that stuff is fading, right? We weren’t made for that, it’s very temporary, right? It all goes away, but something like a relationship with our spouse, our relationship with our kids, that doesn’t go away. 50 years after I’m dead and gone, I’ll still be Anthony’s dad, I’ll still be my son’s dad. That’s when I first learned this idea of that, the more permanent something is, the more it has to do with our purpose. And what of course is the most permanent thing? Our relationship with God. The most permanent thing is our relationship with God by far hands down, right? The most permanent thing is our relationship with God.
And so, this third principle, right? Is the permanent principle, it’s that idea that we have to look at the permanent things in life, to discover our true purpose, to discover who we are and what we were made for. And the action item, right? The action step with this, right? To enter into that relationship with God more deeply is, a daily encounter with God, particularly through scriptures and through sacraments, right?
The church gives us and the saints prescribed to us that scriptures and sacraments are the ways that we encounter God in a daily way, right? So get yourself a Bible, right? If you don’t have one, they’re free online, go to USCCB website it’s right on there, okay? The new American Bibles are on there for free but otherwise, order one offline or go to your local Catholic bookstore. Make sure you get yourself a Catholic Bible and read your Bible every day. I know Catholics, we don’t have a great relationship with Scripture, we oftentimes complicate that, we get kind of in our own heads about scripture and we’re intimidated by it. It’s so easy, it’s literally like one of those only books you can like literally flip anywhere and just start reading and your fine. If you need a little bit more direction on that, start with the Gospel of Matthew, okay? Look it up in the front until you find Matthew, find what page it’s on, start there and just start reading, Daily time of Scripture and sacraments, the Mass, right? You watch it online, go to daily Mass if you can, certainly go to Mass on Sundays. If you can I know right now it’s a little bit more difficult, but you can watch it make an act of spiritual communion. Get to reconciliation when you can, right?
These encounters with God, they build our relationship with God. They point us to that word relation where God says, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” And certainly well after we die, we’re going to have that relationship with God. And so, the third principle is the permanent principle, the idea that the more permanent something is, the more has to do with who you are and what God made you for. And our action, our third action item, our daily action, it was a daily encounter with God through scriptures and through sacraments, okay?
Live With Purpose
So our first principle, is to become dissatisfied, first action with that is a daily act of self-sacrifice. Second principle is to deepen your perception, second action item is a daily time of silence and solitude. Third principle is the permanent principle, and our third action item is a daily encounter with God through scriptures and sacraments. And fourth principle is to live with purpose, and to live on purpose.
You look at your relationship with God, you look at your relationship with your spouse and your kids, right? This purpose, this idea of God made you to be someone and made you to do something, it all comes back to love, right? Hands down by far, nothing else all comes back to love. Now, that might sound simple, and it might sound easy, but anyone out there who knows like love isn’t as easy as it sounds, right? Love is actually a little bit complex. It’s hard to love people sometimes. Sometimes loving someone means that you have to do something that they absolutely don’t want you to do. And other times it means that you have to not do something that they do want you to do, right? Like love is actually a very complex thing sometimes, it’s not easy to navigate the waters of love, okay?
And so living with purpose, right? Ultimately our purpose is to love, right? when you look at that permanent principle, you look at our relation with our spouse, our relation with our kids, our relationship with God, right? All of those relationships are founded and based on love. And this shouldn’t surprise us Why? Because God is love, right? Like David say Caritas, right? Like God is love. That’s what God is, He is love. It’s the foundation of all of those relationships. And so we have to live with love. That’s what living on purpose means. Living with purpose means is loving.
Live By The Lives of Our Saints
But here we have to really turn to the example of the saints, right? And I interviewed a lot of people for the book that I eventually called “The Fundamentally Happy.” Why these people seem to just like have something that the rest of us don’t have or live in a certain way that just seemed like they understood things different from the rest of us. Because love is hard, love is complex. It’s an art, right? It’s not a science. And so I needed to figure out, okay, what are just some, some kind of rules or guidelines or some things we can follow to love well, and to do it and to do it well.
And so, I basically broke it down to these three things. If you look at the lives of the saints, you look at their lives the fundamentally happy, you’ll find three things. They’re very good at loving themselves, loving them loving others, and loving God, okay? Now let’s start with loving yourself. A lot of people are uncomfortable with this idea. They’re just like, “Oh, it seems like selfish.” But one of the fundamentally happy I talked to, I brought this idea up and he said, “Listen, what did Jesus say? He said, ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” Right, that’s what he said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Now, what’s the limiting factor there? As you love yourself, right? If you don’t love yourself well, you can’t love others well, right? And that was the idea he pointed out to me and so the fundamentally happy and the saints were very good at taking care of themselves, emotionally and intellectually and physically and spiritually, right? They understood the idea that by loving themselves very well, they’d be better able to love others and that’s the second ideas. They’re very good, the fundamentally happy, the saints, right? They were very good at loving their neighbors, were very good at loving other people. There’s a lot of adjectives you could use to describe the saints and these other people and there’s thousand different ways to live out, loving the people around you.
But I’ll tell you this, one word that seems to be pretty universal is generous, right? That the fundamentally happy, the saints, they were generous with love. And they use the permanent principle to make sure that they were never stealing love, stealing their time, energy and attention from their spouse or their kids or their relationship with God, to spend it on lesser relationships, right? Less important, less permanent relationship. So you’ll never find these people, robbing their time, energy and attention to their spouse or their kids or relation with God for their work, or for money, or for achievements or for accomplishments, right? Anytime they were spending time, energy and attention on something like work or money or achievements or accomplishments, it was actually as an act of love in service of their family, right?
So I go to work, of course I do I make money, of course I do. Why do I do all that? Because it allows me to better provide to be a better steward of the gifts God has given me, for the people that I love, right? And so they never get confused about the role and purpose of those less permanent things as less important things in terms of their purpose and who they are, okay? So the first, they’re very good at loving themselves, they’re very good at loving others, particularly like being generous.
And third, the fundamentally happy and the saints they’re very good at loving God, and now I’m always reticent to talk about loving God in terms of like action items, because there’s a great danger in turning our spirituality or turning our relationship with God into like a checklist, right? And the spiritual life, it doesn’t work that way. It’s not just like do A, B, C and D and then you’re good, right? It’s not pass go collect $200. But still, we can look at the lives of the saints, we can look at the lives of the fundamentally happy around us. And we can see that there’s certain things that you do that are just good ideas, and we all should be doing them, right? Like best practices of the spiritual life. And I’m just going to name four, it’s too short of a list, there’s a lot more you can say. But, we keep it simple and just know that you can’t simplify your relationship with God into an act of just a list of action items.
But here’s the thing like Mass, prayer, reconciliation, and reading scripture. Those four things, again, it’s a very simple list, but if you look at the lives of the saints, you look at the lives the fundamentally happy, you’re going to find those four things and they’re available to you. they’re accessible to you. I know in this time, it can be hard to get to Mass, so you watch online, you do a spiritual act of communion, maybe it’s hard to get to reconciliation and so you just make an act of contrition. But you do those four things, and in general, right? You’re going to have an okay relationship with God.
The thing about being in relationship with God is you can’t change how much God loves you, right? Like that’s just a reality. It doesn’t matter if you are, I mean, think about this for a second, it doesn’t matter if you are the greatest sinner in the world or the greatest saint in the world, like God loves you the exact same, no matter what. No matter what you do, you cannot change how much God loves you. The only thing you can change is how much you love them back. How you show Him that you love Him back. That’s all you can do and four great ways, Mass, reconciliation, prayer and scripture. You do those four things, the four great ways to show God that you love Him back, okay?
The Daily Affirmation
So the fourth principle, right? The fourth principle is to live on purpose and the fourth action and we always have these action items, right? The fourth action item is a daily affirmation, okay? Daily affirmation. Now what do I mean by this? Right? Simply, it’s this. A lot of saints do this. You wake up in the morning, first thing in the morning, you drop down on your knees next to your bed and you say something like this, right? This is what I say. You can say some version of that, right? “I am a beloved Son of God, or daughter of God, I’m beloved son or daughter of God, I was made to be loved by God and to love Him back. Lord, I give this day to you.” It’s three simple, statements. “God, I am a beloved son or daughter of God. I was made to be loved by God and to love Him back. God, I give this day to you.”
A very simple, it’s often called by the church like a morning offering, right? I like to call it a daily affirmation. It just reminds me this is who I am, and this is what I’m meant to do with my life. You wake up in the morning, it’s really easy, you can do this one right now. Take your phone out, make sure you wake up to an alarm if you don’t wake up to an alarm, set an alarm at the time you normally wake up or around then. If you do wake up to an alarm already, changed the tone of your alarm. Why is that step important? Because otherwise you’re going to forget, you going to forget to do this in the morning. But if you change the tone what’s going to happen? You’re going to wake up and you be like, “Why does my alarm sound different?” What you’re going to do is you’re going to remember, “Oh yeah, because I’m supposed to do this thing.” And you’re going to kneel down next to your bed, and you’re going to say, “I am a beloved Son of God, I am made to be loved by God and to love Him back. Lord, I give this day to you.” A daily act of affirmation of that morning offering, okay?
Four Principles, Four Action Items
So, four principles, first principle, become dissatisfied, right? And our action item is a daily act of self-sacrifice. Second principle is to deepen your perception and your daily act, is a daily time of silence and solitude. Third principle is the permanent principle, and your daily act is a daily encounter with God through scriptures and sacraments. And the fourth principle is to live with purpose, and your fourth action item is that daily affirmation or that morning offering okay?
Four simple rules, guideline principles, whatever word you want to use. I like the word principles that, if you live according to these rules, right? You live according these principles, you will find the happiness that God created you for, okay? Now last thing I want to share with you is what I like to call the number one happiness hack I know. Sometimes you just need to feel happy, and sometimes you just have a crummy day and you want to feel better. How do you do it? Make someone else feel happy. Go through the drive through and pay for the order of the person behind you. Write someone a heartfelt letter, buy a book that you love and send it to someone just randomly as just kind of out of the blue. You do something… Call your mom, just out of the blue, you do something like that, right? You make someone else happy, and the law of the harvest applies, right? You will reap far more than you sow.
God created you for happiness. He created you to live a happy life, right? And it’s not surface level happiness, it’s not a feeling of happiness, it’s not the happiness the world promises, it’s a deep and abiding happiness that he has created you for. You pursue that happiness with vigor, you can’t end up anywhere other than being with Him. I hope these four principles will help you along your way.
About Dominick Albano
Dominick Albano is a nationally sought-after Catholic speaker and writer. After his powerful conversion at the age of sixteen and newfound passion for sharing the Catholic faith with others, Dominick began giving talks and leading retreats and small groups while still in high school.
Seeing a need for ministry and evangelization outreach in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Dominick founded Arise Missions in 2010. He served as Executive Director for the ministry, which leads dynamic parish missions, young adult conferences, and parish leadership evangelization training sessions.
Dominick has spent the last 15 years speaking at conferences, retreats, parish mission, and schools, and was hand picked by Matthew Kelly as a speaker for a series of events with Dynamic Catholic.
Dominick lives in the Cincinnati area with his high school sweetheart and their four young sons. When he isn’t working in ministry, Dominick can be found coaching his son’s baseball team.
Visit dominickalbano.com to learn more or to connect directly with Dominick.