THE LATE PIANIST and actor Oscar Levant once said “Happiness isn’t something you experience; it is something you remember.” But what is real happiness? In just a few minutes, I’ll share with you a story that uses coffee as an analogy to tell you the simplicity of life.

But first, Frayda Levin, a former small-business owner, said a college student once told her she didn’t realize how lucky she is. Ms. Levin said she’s astonished at how many young people believe luck is a significant factor in success. Young people think fate is merely the result of fortune.

Ms. Levin pushed back. “Lady Luck” never did much for her. She certainly didn’t deal with customer complaints. She didn’t spend weekends struggling to learn new software options, figuring out finances and taxes, and anguishing over employee concerns.

When a hurricane flooded her warehouse full of inventory, Lady Luck was nowhere to be found. She was not there when the server crashed and it took a weekend to re-enter everything that was lost.

Young people today think successful people were just lucky. Did they learn that from college professors who are clueless? Will today’s graduates forgo hard work because they believe their fate depends on luck?

Ms. Levin wondered if we need an organization to coach college students to approach life understanding that they are masters of their own fate. As Thomas Jefferson said “I’m a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have it.”

Now, the main story. Many people chase after the material things such as money, fame, social status and so on to feel happy and content in their life. This essay is titled “Life Is Like a Cup of Coffee.” The author is unknown. It reveals the deep insight that many people neglect.

A group of distinguished alumni got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups: porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal and some very plain styrofoam cups. He welcomed them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said “If you noticed, all the nice-looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal to want only the best, that is the source of your problems and stress.

“The cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. The nicer cups are more expensive and they can even hide what we drink. What you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups and then, you began eyeing each other’s cups to see who had the best one.

“Consider this. Life is like a cup of coffee. Life is the coffee, the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.”

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. The professor urged them to savor the coffee, not the cups.

The happiest people don’t have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply, love generously, speak kindly, care deeply. Said another way “The paid staff get a paycheck and volunteer staff get a payback,” the late American Red Cross national Chairwoman Gwen Jackson said that.