BROOKFIELD — Step out of your own little world, listen for the voice of God in your life and strive for happiness in life, rather than pleasure, was the message speaker Matthew Kelly brought to his audience at St. Dominic Parish last Saturday.

Kelly, a 40-year-old native Australian motivational speaker and best-selling author, entertained a sold-out crowd of about 1,000 with his frank, humorous talk, titled “Living Every Day with Passion and Purpose.”

Author of 17 books, including, “The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic,” published last fall, Kelly founded the Dynamic Catholic Institute which researches why Catholics engage or disengage in their faith, and explores ways to establish vibrant Catholic communities in the 21st century.

“As human beings, we have this tendency to get caught up in our own little worlds,” said Kelly, “and it’s a dangerous place because the way we see the world determines the way we live our lives.”

For example, he explained only one in 100 people have had a college experience, and 31 percent of the world’s population cannot read or write. Yet, if one views the world through their own experiences, they will discount the experiences of the majority of the earth’s population.

Kelly, also a business consultant and partner at Floyd Consulting, a Chicago-based management-consulting firm with several Fortune 500 companies as clients, warned against the problem of disengagement.

“When you go to work next Monday, there will be a spectrum of engagement amongst employees,” he said, noting that some will be more engaged than others. “At one end of the spectrum, you’ve got people who are 100 percent engaged, they are passionate, they are productive, they are engaged; then others who are 80 percent engaged or 35 percent engaged or 15 percent engaged and way at the other end, you have people that I like to call the ‘Q and S people.’ I call them ‘Q and S people’ because they quit and stay and that’s a problem,” he said, describing people who are still employed, but for all practical purposes have lost passion and engagement for their jobs.

Likewise, he said, people disengage from marriages, from parenting, in their personal finance, politically, from the environment and from the Catholic Church.

“We’ve got tons of quit and stay people at church, and that’s not taking into account the 30 million Catholics who have stopped practicing their faith in the last 30 years,” said Kelly.

In order to re-engage these people, the church, like businesses, must look for best practices.

“Look for who is best in the world at this and see what we can learn from them,” he said, offering youth ministry as an example.

While he said most parishes have a youth ministry, each parish develops its own program, which indicates they are not committed to best practices.

“That’s a complete sign of mediocrity right there,” he said.

Attaining personal clarity is key to a successful life, said Kelly, adding that in order to find this clarity of purpose, “you’ve got to spend time in the classroom of silence … clarity emerges from the silence.

“We can’t live with passion and purpose until we get comfortable with silence. Passion and purpose erupt from that kind of clarity.”

The world is a place of constant noise, according to Kelly, who said, “we’ve got so much noise, we cannot hear our thoughts. How are you going to work out who you are and what you are here for?”

While he said the world’s agenda is “to encourage you to be a good little consumer,” God has a vision to be the best version of yourself, be all he intended you to be.

“Once you develop personal clarity, you will get really good at something: saying ‘no,’” said Kelly, adding, “Most of us say ‘yes’ 100 times a day when everything inside of us is screaming, ‘no.’ We say ‘yes’ because we don’t have that personal clarity and that’s critical, because when we are saying ‘yes’ to stuff that’s not for us, we’re missing out on stuff.

“The bottom line is when we say ‘yes’ to stuff that’s not for us, we are saying ‘no’ to stuff that God might have created just for us,” said Kelly.

Another mixed message coming from the world involves pleasure. Pleasure and happiness are not the same thing, stressed Kelly, explaining that pleasure cannot be sustained between the activities producing it.

Happiness, however, is something for which God created man.

“We desire happiness; God created that desire,” he said, adding that only God can satisfy that desire.

“Here’s the thing: God created us for this happiness, but happiness is a fragile thing. God wants us to have it, but it needs to be protected as it is very fragile and the truth is, we don’t think about it anywhere near as much as we should,” he said.