A topic that has kept me on my toes and my brain on a dose for a long, long time now. I am always scared to write about happiness as it is really tough to ascertain whether I have enough context to put thoughts into words. But like everything else, this needs to be done. I have put in I in the title deliberately right now, because I am pretty sure I’ll have II and III worth of ideas later on in life.
Over long chats with a friend on the idea of happiness I have frequently spoken a lot. Writing should make things clearer 😁
It is tough to define happiness in a form which is true for everyone. The word is often interchangeably used with terms like pleasure, peace, satisfaction, success etc.
Happiness for me is a state when the voice inside my mind is silent.
When the number of threads of thoughts inside my mind are reduced to a meagre few, when I am fully focussed on the things that lie in front of me are the moments I feel happy. It is a fact that this cannot happen at all times, but the effort of maximising this state for an extended period of mind helps getting through obstacles with ease. Happiness is not momentary and never stationary. It is like a wave. You have got to be on top of the wave (on a surfing board) to maintain a state of happy. However, balance is hard to maintain and you cannot surf on the same wave for eternity. To assist this, a new wave emerges every other minute or so, which you can ride again.
- Money cannot buy happiness
Greatest lie told by the society to fellow beings. It is definitely true that money cannot buy happiness for you but it can get rid of the nuisance that keeps you from being happy. This does not mean that materialism is the best. Far from it. If material things made the human race happier, the 21st century human would have been happier than the cave man, but it is not so. Material things are made not to last for a lifetime. Since they are sources of income for someone, and you buying something just once doesn’t complete the loop, too much material aspiration only makes me more miserable.
Latest trends cost money. Money comes from time. Time doesn’t come back.
Having decent money keeps you from worrying about a lot of other useless stuff and so helps focus more on attaining happiness. Spending at the right places does make you happier and feel more in control.
2. A lot of happiness is knowing the truth
Society makes norms. Individuals carve their own truths. Knowing what my truths are, makes me feel more comfortable with myself and hence more happy. Personal truths are many times different from the norms.
“Work where your passion lies”.
“True happiness comes to those who forego all attachments”And many more such quotes.
These are the truths that are fed by the collective intelligence of the masses. Since the collective is not so intelligent, so are these moulded truths. An intelligent/smart person can look beyond the facade that is painted by the society, and can see the misery that accompanies these cooked principles.
We know how school is a substitute for parents to not worry about their kids for a major part of the day and get on with their jobs. School is not essential for learning. It is a place where pupils learn to respect the rules, do stuff they don’t like, study obsolete concepts and do a bit of real learning on the side. Home schooled kids are as smart, if not more than school schooled kids.
You don’t need to really enjoy your job. It is called a “Job” because you trade your time for money. Some days this trade won’t make sense to you. In the long run, markets go up, but they also crash. Similarly, finding a job that can be done in the long run without crashing a lot should be the goal. Not finding happiness in the job.
Point of the matter being, the faster you find your own truths, however different they maybe from the society’s norms, the faster you’ll attain happiness.
Knowing our truths makes us FREE from the norms. And the purest form of happiness is freedom.
3. Happy is just another skill.
I find being happy a skill. Skill that is mastered by training both the body and the mind. Some people are born with a genetic advantage of being an athlete or a genius. Similarly, I have found people who can “find” happiness quite easily while other have a tough time. And it is completely normal. As I mentioned in the earlier part of the blog, my mind finds moments of extreme focus, minimal deviant voices as a state of happy. It doesn’t come naturally. I have to train the mind for that. Similarly, the days when I hit my exercise targets are happy days for me. It requires training of the body.
We are a species built on the idea of shortages and preparing for apocalyptic scenarios. Our ancestors didn’t have enough food to eat, or things to stimulate their brains with. Thus, in an era of abundances that we now live in (Naval talks about this quite heavily)-
a. Abundant ways to get distractions and dopamine hits from the screen of your device.
b. Abundant ways to make your physical self bad by eating processed food, easily available sugars etc.
c. Abundant problems and issues to worry about.
it takes special training to keep yourself happy. Making an effort to look at the brighter spots in everything that happens around you is tough but necessary. Hence the effort required to train for a skill is similar to one required to train yourself for happiness.
It requires exercising your mind and body to refrain from over-indulgence and practice balanced abstinence to attain the goal of happiness.
4. Happiness is not a conscious priority
People I interact with have priority lists about work and life. Seldom have I ever seen attaining happiness on that list. Not consciously thinking about happiness in all the daily decisions you undertake is path away from happiness.
Happiness is a choice. Just like every other choice that we spend time, diligently planning, being happy demands the same. It cannot be an afterthought. Happiness as a top priority in all that we undertake can work wonders. It helps us take better decisions faster, as we know the underlying principle of taking such calls. It helps us be more calm because unlike money or success, a priority of happiness cannot make us feel unfulfilled at a later point time.
And so as we keep on prioritising happiness, we keep on minimising regrets which ultimately leads to a better life.
Long post comes to an end. I feel happy, I could write about this. It was not easy but then what is 💁
Let me know what and how you think about happiness in the comments below. And as always, thanks for visiting the blog.
A graduate from BITS Pilani, class of 2019, I am currently working as a Product Manager at Flipkart. I like to write about things that get stuck in my head. By writing I make sure everyone knows what absurd thoughts I have :P Thanks for visiting.