“Life is not always fair, but it is still good to live” – Anonymous
The best you can do is wear that smile and move on with life. It shows you are happy irrespective of what life has for you in cards.
Happiness is the state of your mind. It is an attitude you build and live your life happily.
Similarly, difficulties and obstacles are another side of the same coin called life. You will face them in every step in your life.
Now it is on you what mode you enter. Whether you enter the suffering mode and whine and screw up your happiness. Or you enter the happy mode and get through it with a big happy smile on your face.
And sometimes we create our own troubles which screw up our all happiness. Life seems derailed and slipping out of your hand.
Here is one of my life stories revolving around life and happiness and how I made the best out of the learnings.
A couple of years ago, I had a sudden thought and the second later I started thinking I am wasting my life chasing unwanted dreams.
Chasing every shiny object. Pleasing everyone, which in a way is impossible. Binge drinking and hosting parties in the house at the cost of family’s happiness and privacy.
Getting into an unwanted relationship. Staying in the circle of toxic people. In a way was putting so much unwanted pressure on myself with some unrealistic self-destroying goals.
One morning like any other, I had a sudden realization. Suddenly, I was suffocating, choking and gasping. I needed to breathe.
I was in danger of wasting my life. As I stared out the rain-spattered window of my apartment, I saw that the years were slipping by. I am growing old. What have I done? Where is my life and career leading? What is the outcome of the work I am doing?
Am I doing something worth sharing with the world? What is the impact? Forget about the size, I would have been fine even if it was small. But no nothing achieved worth sharing and impactful.
At that moment, I was clueless. But deep in my heart I wanted to do something meaningful. I have always dreamt of a life with more freedom and pursue what I love doing.
“What do I want from life?” I asked myself.
“Well…I want to be happy.”
I had many reasons to be happy. I have a lovely and beautiful wife, a daughter who is more than an angel. My family has always been happy whatever the circumstances have been. That way I am blessed.
I had no reason to be unhappy. I am a marketer, doing what I have yearned for, and earning my life with integrity. I chose to be a digital marketer some 10 years ago. Because out of many professions I have been in, this excites me and I am always on to talk about online marketing.
In addition, I have good friends; I have good health; I am never jealous of anything that others have. I never compare myself with my kins and siblings with what I don’t have.
I have been a happy kind of lucky person. But off late I had started reacting like a short-tempered loser. I had everything but something was missing and I was not happy.
Then I started auditing my life. Even before auditing I stopped binge drinking. To this day I drink socially. I have built that determination and no one can force me to pick that glass. I have become a master of my own bladder.
I took stock of the reasons for me that were creating unhappiness. After spending endless days and nights, I figured out the way I was working made me most unhappy. My thoughts and actions were the reason for all unhappiness.
Then I got at least some point to work on and to restructure my life and bring back happiness that I and my family deserved.
In the process I had to let go many things.
Had to give up on many things, which I did. Now I think of it and I see I lose nothing.
Well, the year is over, and I can say: It did. I made myself happier. And along the way I learned a lot about how to be happier.
Let me help you as well. Here is a small exercise that I want all of you to do:
Answer these two vital questions which will help you determine what you want, and why you want and how you can stay happy.
First question: What do we want from life?
[If you put this question to me. My answer would be “Happiness”.] Rest everything comes after that.
Second question: Why do we want what we want?
The answer to the first question will not only vary from person to person, but also from time to time. The answer to what we want would be different at different stages of our lives.
It would depend on our financial, educational, social, emotional, psychological, material relationships, health and professional status. Some might want a degree; others wish to clear their exams, while some others might want a job.
In middle age, the emphasis would be on stability, job satisfaction, hobbies, purpose, self worth and on one’s children and their future.
In old age it would be about health, money, loneliness, death and disease.
If you go to the second question of why we want what we want, most answers given by people anywhere in the world would sound similar.
The usual answer to the why is : because it will make me happy, it will bring peace, because it will end suffering, bring harmony, freedom, purpose, or because it will bring joy and satisfaction.
Interestingly, if we could only reverse the question, and make the second question the first, and start finding answers for that, life would become far simpler. We all want happiness, but we don’t know how to get it.
Happiness is a different thing to different people. So, answer the second question first, and do those things that make you happy.
Then whether you succeed or fail outwardly, it would not matter.
Let us dig more in detail.
Our brain, for ages, has been programmed wrongly; it has positioned the future to be your saviour. Hence, people think and believe, “If I get million dollars, I will become happy; If I get married, I will become happy.”
So your saviour seems to be in the future. This is the error the brain has made. The description of time is past, present and future. But the truth of time is present. You can never live either in the past, or in future, you always live in the present.
Because once the past was present, the future will be present. Hence, the truth of time is present. If you do not know how to be happy now, you can never be happy.
If the brain says, I will be happy in the future it is silently telling me I am unhappy ‘now’. With such programming, when it gets the object of desire, it is experienced in the ‘present’ when the present has been programmed as ‘I am unhappy now’.
So, despite getting what you want, you are unhappy.
You have to learn to be happy now in the present; and ‘out of happiness’, you have to get the object of desire and not ‘for happiness’.
This is smart living.
Again the question would be How to be happy?
You have to bring in the power of ‘being’ and not get lost to the power of ‘becoming’. The power of ‘being’ is, I am happy ‘now’ and the power of ‘becoming’ is, I will become happy if I get this or that.
You have to look deeply into your life. The ‘becoming’ which appears to have brought a lot of growth in the form of development – has it given fulfilment?
Despite achievements, there is no fulfilment. All growth is oriented towards fulfilment. When you position happiness in the future, there will be no fulfilment.
So ‘becoming’ has not really given what is needed – fulfilment. Be happy now and out of joy, go about getting what you want. Get not for joy but out of joy.
Then, your work is going to be fun, your life is going to be a joy. For joy is in the ‘here and now’ and not in the future.
The Path to Happiness
Happiness is not something that comes to us – it is something that we create. Anyone can live in favorable conditions, but living in unfavorable conditions with a smiling face is the actual art of living. If we do, even god will think twice before upsetting us.
A positive attitude gives energy and a negative attitude depletes it. So, a positive attitude plays a pivotal role in helping us overcome the problems of life.
Meanwhile, determination, simplicity, humility and an endeavour to achieve goals are some of the tricks for leading a happy life.
Always celebrate the little things that give happiness and see the difference. Take failures as challenges and try to overcome them by maintaining a positive attitude.
Science has proved that staying happy is genetic. Yes, we can agree to it upto some extent.
But upto some extent we know well, we can create our happiness with our thoughts and beliefs.
Below I have mentioned some points, you can consider them a point of reference and start following them in your day to day life. I bet you will see radical change in your life. Happiness will become a part of your character.
Stay away from Toxic people
Connect with people physically (I know it is hard in this widely connected social media world)
Do let the sun go down on anger.
Never Lie to oneself
Learn to say ‘No’ when even you mean to say ‘Yes’
Keep reading and learning
Exercise to boost energy
Have goals to look forward to
Unplug & Spend More time in Nature
Take massive action to pursue your passion