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A happy life is one, which is in accordance with its own nature. Marcus Annaeus Seneca

The essence of happiness lies in trying to keep in harmony with the world around us. The trouble unfortunately is that most times the world seems to be at cross-purposes with our feelings, wants, expectations and hopes. Obviously, when things are far from what we ideally want it to be we get disturbed, annoyed, irritated, upset and very unhappy. Let me share an example to illustrate the point. This morning I was traveling along with my family to Bangalore by the 7.40 am flight from Pune and had a connecting flight at 11 am to Cochin. After checking in at Pune, we were informed that the flight was delayed because of fog both at Delhi the originating destination of the flight and also at Pune and the departure was rescheduled for 8.30 am. Thereafter it was further delayed and ultimately we departed only at 10.30 am. Obviously, there would be no connecting flight and we had to compromise and take the next evenings flight a very tough decision to take since we were to miss some family functions for which the whole visit was planned.

How does one reconcile with this paradox of excitement turning to disillusionment and possibly frustration and anger?  The answer lies in accepting the reality with equanimity, assessing the alternatives calmly and trying to find positives in the unavoidable. As I write this post I am staying with my brother in Bangalore a completely unplanned and unexpected bonus. Now when I look back at the day I can see that my initial annoyance actually turned out to be a extraordinary experience. To begin with my son and ardent Manchester United fan felt privileged to visit the newly opened Manchester United Restaurant at Bangalore (this will be the highlight of his life and the one talking point for the New Year); my mother was thrilled to meet the grandchildren in Bangalore (which was never planned) and for me the experience fitted in with my post today.

If one thinks positive, seeks happiness and accepts the bitter and sweet experiences as flavors of life then nature gives us the gift of happiness daily. John Powell has correctly titled his book Happiness is an inside job and this is a message that we must tattoo in our minds and hearts. We alone determine our happiness and no amount of material wealth or possessions or relationships can give us happiness unless we seek it out within us. All of us are also guilty of succumbing to negative emotions like jealousy, pride, greed, envy etc. as a result of which we cannot filter out happiness and enjoy it for the negative emotions block the pathway to happiness seeping inside us. Instead, if we replaced these emotions with just one single feeling of LOVE we would find happiness everywhere and that to all the time.

Seeking happiness is not the same as chasing happiness. The majority of us are disillusioned because we confuse these two terms. When seeking happiness we are making an effort to find the positives, the goodness and reasons to enjoy the moment and the situation. When we are chasing happiness we are trying to force situations to meet the demands of what we perceive is our happiness. The former approach succeeds because inherently there is happiness in plenty and we are merely searching for the right tap to pour out to our hearts content. The later approach fails because we are trying to dig bore wells in parched lands in the fond hope of striking water. If after reading this post you did not find the key to happiness that you were so desperately seeking you have been following the wrong approach. Ask others who believe that they found the keys to happiness in this post and they will tell you that they can do it because they found out that they were trying to open the wrong locks and are now focusing on those locks that open with the keys hidden in this post.

Remember: “We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.” Frederick Keonig

Try this:

  1. Can you recollect the 5 happiest moments of your childhood? Now try and recollect the 5 happiest moments of the past 5 years. Now ask if you are creating situations conducive to your younger siblings/ children/ friends enjoying the same type of happiness that you have just jotted down.
  2. Now list out who/ what makes you unhappy in the following cases and reasons for the same
  • Name the people who irritate you – e.g. your subordinate who does not take any responsibility and your powerless to reprimand or punish him/her.
  • Situations that irritate you e.g. The traffic jams
  • The songs /movies that you hate e.g. pure classical because you do not understand it
  • Social/ technological/ infrastructural/ scientific changes that annoy you e.g. The toll collection outlets on highways because it slows down the vehicle and negates the purpose of the high ways.

Now try to find out the good things about the above and see if it reduces your negativity. Reducing unhappiness is equivalent to improving your happiness quotient.

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Bobby Jacob

Bobby Jacob

‘ He hopes to have a positive influence on his readers through his blog posts’

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