Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain
“I have reigned for 50 years in victory and in peace, beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot. They amount to fourteen” – Abd Er-Rahman III of Spain 960 AD.
OK. Let’s pretend.
We have succeeded in the stock market. We are rich. We have gone beyond money and its status. What could now elude us in the pursuit of happiness?
Here are a few things on the shopping list, things that money cannot deliver.
- Love. Imagine you are standing at the side of the road and a bus is coming. In the middle of the road, oblivious to their impending death is a person. You have the option. Watch them get run over or push them out of the way and get run over yourself. You or them. No other options. Is there anyone in the world you would step off the kerb for? That’s love. Worth more than your life, let alone money.
- Family. When the Lord visits you on your deathbed and asks you what you have done in your life that’s worthwhile, what will you say? Climbing Everest? Making your first million? Not so for parents. For parents it’s easy. You simply rattle off the names of the kids. That with which you persevere you value. They are, annoyingly, more important than anything else. Money, success, achievement? Irrelevant. Would Bill Gates give up everything he has ever done for the safety of one of his children? You bet he would. The more liabilities (kids) you stack on yourself in life the more you get out of it. Liabilities are your excuse to strive. An excuse to exercise the fullest extent of your mind. It’s our responsibilities that give us passion.
- Health. Anyone who has had a health scare, a brush with mortality, will tell you, life is finite and to be appreciated because it all might, suddenly, perhaps abruptly, end. An illness escaped can be a turning point. A minor epiphany, that we’re all getting closer to popping our clogs every day. When you realise that you put a bit more effort into being happy. It’s more fun when you wake up just a little bit surprised that you did. In the shadow of death you have to laugh. What else are you going to do?
- Carpe Diem. A photographer turned up at the office the other day wearing a well worn but tailor made suit. He was on the other side of 60 and didn’t have the equipment you would normally expect of a professional photographer. Something was wrong. Turns out he had recently retired “rich” as a partner of a major accounting firm and with the cosmos at his feet he had finally taken the time to work out what he really wanted to do. Photography, a career he had passed up at University in preference to a degree more suited to his grades, accountancy, and for 45 years of uncreative desk bound number crunching he had harboured the regret. So with all the time and all the money in the world he had gone back to it, to university, to fulfill his destiny. Admirable stuff, but the shame of it was of course that it was something he could have been doing all his life. The moral of the story is that we all need to stop and ask- "If I had all the time and all the money in the world, what would I do?" You never know, you might just find you could be doing it already.
- Passion. I spoke to a rich man once who complained about his inability to generate passion. In his case he had passionately built businesses and had made a lot of money. But having done it the prospect of building another business, of making money, had waned and he now almost envied those with debt, responsibilities and desire, because they had a reason to get out of bed, a reason to excel. Instead he rolled out of bed bored with his own existence. For him happiness was something to be passionate about. At least that’s what he said.
- Dreams. If happiness is an expectation met then a dream fulfilled is even better. You have to dream because as my brother-in-law said to me recently, most people that bother to pursue their dreams, achieve them. The crime is that they don’t dream hard enough.
- Effort. In the words of Ron Barassi, a master amongst men: “I don’t respect talent, good looks, brains. I don’t respect the things you are born with. I respect effort. Getting up in the morning and moving those arms and legs”. Success through effort will make you happy. Success alone is not enough.
Rich or Poor we can have it all. Money it seems is only half of the equation. If that.
But probably better Rich. Back to the stockmarket then.
Other quotes on happiness:
- Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort
- If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time
- The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance, the wise grows it under his feet
- Happiness is as a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but which if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you
- If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden. He will not be searching for happiness as if it were a collar button that has rolled under the radiator
- Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations
- Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city – George Burns
- You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life
- There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved
- Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn't know you left open
- Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others – Dalai Lama
- Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful
- Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory.
- When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us
- The Grand essentials of happiness are: something to do, something to love, and something to hope for
- Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action
- The happiness that is genuinely satisfying is accompanied by the fullest exercise of our faculties and the fullest realization of the world in which we live
- The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers
- Whoever is happy will make others happy, too
- Sanity and happiness are an impossible combination
- There is a wonderful mythical law of nature that the three things we crave most in life — happiness, freedom, and peace of mind — are always attained by giving them to someone else
- Remember that as a teenager you are in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear the phone is for you
- The true way to render ourselves happy is to love our work and find in it our pleasure
- It's pretty hard to tell what does bring happiness. Poverty an' wealth have both failed
- The happiest moments of my life have been the few which I have passed at home in the bosom of my family
- Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things: first, in being where you belong, and second — and best — in comfortably going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night's sleep and not being hurt by new shoes
- People spend a lifetime searching for happiness; looking for peace. They chase idle dreams, addictions, religions, even other people, hoping to fill the emptiness that plagues them. The irony is the only place they ever needed to search was within
- I can think of nothing less pleasurable than a life devoted to pleasure – John D Rockefeller
- That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest
- That is happiness; to be dissolved into something completely great
Abd ar-Rahman III (891–961)
Ruler of Cordoba in Moorish Spain 912–61. In 929 he proclaimed himself caliph of a Muslim dynasty (Umayyad), formally asserting the independence from the caliphs of Baghdad which his predecessors had enjoyed for almost two centuries. As a successful proponent of jihad against the Christian kingdoms and an expert at siege warfare he brought Umayyad power and Moorish cultural achievement to its zenith.
Abd ar-Rahman's capital at Córdoba was the haven to which Muslims from the east and south and Christians from northern Europe had recourse. His palace at Mad?nat az-Zahr?, which was begun in 936, became the centre of political activity and an architectural jewel.
Abd ar-Rahman recaptured the Muslim cities in Spain by techniques ranging from the use of mangonels at Beja in 929 to blockade and a permanent siege camp at Toledo in 930. During the course of his reign his personal force of slave troops grew from 3,750 to 13,750, enabling him to defeat the Christians in battle. He was victor over the Basques and Leonese near Pamplona in 920, and sacked the city in 924. In 929 he declared himself caliph with the regnal title ‘al-Nasir’. After 939 he was less active in Spain, but aggressive in North Africa, taking Ceuta in 931 and Tangier in 951.