What makes people truly happy? You guessed it – retweets, shopping and a hefty salary increase.

Hang on, that’s not at all correct. Not even the retweets part. I checked with science and it turns out that what we find truly joyful is family, relationships and helping others. In other words, we care deeply about community and enriching the lives of those around us.

Right now, there are sleep deprived parents who would give anything for 2 hours of sleep. There are people rushing home from work, only to be greeted by silence and the anonymity of apartments. These people might be your neighbor, or a friend, or someone from your Lacrosse team. People still play Lacrosse, right?

It might be you.

We all need help. We all want to help. Given how happy these acts of unconditional kindness make us feel, we should be falling over ourselves offering assistance, generating reciprocity and goodwill in the process.

Yet, somehow we never get around to it. Everyone’s tired. Everyone’s constantly overwhelmed. We’re busy, right? We commute and work, travel and do chores, value independence and don’t want to intrude. Instead of visiting our cousins, or do pro bono work, or take the old lady’s dog out for a walk, we swipe, tap and show our half-hearted commitment through hashtags, likes and shares.

Our willingness to help, to connect, to be selfless and truly human gets lost in ambiguity and vague promises. We offer but never confirm, we ask but don’t want to press.
Even though we’d love to take the neighborhood kids for a kick about in the park. Or get a block party together. Or break all social rules and ask the mother three doors down if you can watch her kids so she can take just one unaccompanied trip to the grocery store. To the magic of isles filled with laundry detergent and meditative white noise.

The point is this – human beings reproduce. It’s been going on for quite a while. A less glaringly obvious point is that, deep down, we all crave to give and to be of service.

As Bryan Johnson – who is quite the dude – answered when asked what he would put on a billboard that could be placed anywhere:

“Do an anonymous and random act of kindness today”

Real change starts with us. Doing things together.

To happiness!