The never ending pursuit of happiness
Everyone is pursuing happiness, but are they able to explain what happiness means to them? In our mind we have a name or a picture of what we are chasing which are mostly material things, but those things never leaves us with lasting happiness. Happiness is always a destination to reach, and we are all on the journey all the time, because we hardly reach the destination and all of a sudden we realize that it was not the right destination, there is always a new one further away. And life goes on, in the hope of reaching the destination one day and realize that you have finally arrived. But it seldom happens.
You feel that when you make your first million life is going to be easy from there, you will have the security you need, and you will have the flexibility to choose what you want to do from there on. You feel when you succeed in your business, whatever that success maybe, you would have left behind the hard life, there is going be happiness at every turn. Ultimately you want to be free of worries, hardship, responsibilities, so that it brings happiness.
We all want to be happy, but we just don’t know what makes us happy. We feel whatever goal we have set for ourselves is what’s going to make us happy. That, happiness is a distant dream that we need to work towards, and we try to objectify it so that we can better understand happiness.
Latest model of mobile phone is happiness for some, a premium car is happiness for someone else, a fancy home is happiness for the other. We are unable to explain to ourselves or others what happiness is, so this is how we try to express it, by objectifying happiness. But are we happy after we get that ? Yes, but for very short period of time until we realize that object was not the happiness, and we go on find new objects to draw the picture of happiness.
Happiness is not a phone, or a car , or a house, that’s just a smoke screen put in place by clever advertisement over the years. Happiness is within you, and not out there. As we grow up we unlearn this truth completely and try to learn what the world has to teach us, which is a made up truth about happiness. That’s why children are more happier than the adults, the more they grow the less happier they become, because the concept of happiness keep changing.
Having said all this, so what is happiness then? Are we supposed to shun our worldly financial dreams in search of happiness, is it something that you get only by becoming a Sanyasi ? The answer is a big resounding “NO”.
Happiness is a state of mind, its an emotion which gets triggered by many factors. There are external stimuli which helps to trigger this internal stimuli, and all these dreams does help it, but you cannot have dreams come true every day. You need to find other solutions to be happy, otherwise you will set aside happiness forever.
So what then?. Solution is simple, you don’t need big things to be happy, just recognize that, this realization will help you to focus on those small things which makes you happy. Then set aside some time very day to repeat those things. There should be a happiness time everyone’s life, continues to do those things you do everyday to get to that big day of never ending happiness, but focus on daily happiness as well.
What was the thing that made you laugh your heart out the last time which made tears to flow from your eyes? Was it spending time with your loved ones listening to their jokes? Was it talking and playing with your young ones? or was it something as simple as watching a comedy movie?
What was the small things that made you feel a sense of achievement the last time, and hence made you feel good? Was it spending some time on your hobby, or simply playing a video game and beating your last high score?
What was the last thing that took you to a different life experience all together without living it yourself, which gave a sense of pleasure and happiness? Was it reading a good book or watching a biography? These are all things that doesn’t cost much, some just cost you time, nothing more. Spend it, because the time spend on getting that feeling of happiness is time well spend.
You may feel that time spend on these are wasted time, but in reality its the other way around. The world wants us to be productive to churn out the economic wheel at a faster pace than ever, its on a never ending race, and we are just a small cog in the system. But we are needed for the system to work, if we are not productive the system doesn’t work, and hence there was always this focus on productivity, achievement, getting ahead.
We always teach kids to focus on studies and set aside their games and play times, so that they secure a good job, we teach them everyday of the importance of winning this race to be at the top. But what if everyone in this world makes it big ? It will be a disaster. We need laborers as much as we need professionals, and hence the world has a brutally efficient system that keeps checks and balances whereby there is always people to fill all levels and kinds of jobs out there. Whether it’s right system or not, it keeps the whole system going, let the world move forward, and let us play our part in it, but it should never be at the cost of our happiness.
Starting today set aside your happiness time. Make sure you fill it with whatever activity small or big that makes you happy. So the next time if you feel like watching a movie because that makes you happy, do it. If you feel like playing game everyday because it gives you a sense of achievement and worth which you are not getting at work, because you had to compromise job satisfaction of stomach satisfaction then do it. Nothing is worthless or a waste of time if that makes you happy. So next time if someone gives you a lecture on how unproductive you are by doing something that makes you happy just ignore them with a smile. You deserve your happiness time each day and everyday, and there should be nothing in this world that takes a priority over it.
Let’s slowly relearn the fact about happiness which we have been encourage to unlearn all our lives. Let’s build up those small moments of happiness everyday and string them up to make a bouquet which in itself will turn out to be the biggest achievement of our lives. Be happy, live happy.
Image credit : digest.bps.org.uk