Have you ever wondered why you do all that you do? What is the aim of all the effort? Why get a job, why earn, why build a house, why get a car, why save for the future? Think about it for a moment…
You might say, we do this to ensure security and comfort for the rest of our lives… And why do we need security and comfort?
I think security and comfort are both geared towards one final aim, to ensure lasting and genuine happiness. Happiness is the ultimate aim of everything we do. Again, take a moment to think about this…
Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence. –Aristotle
The question I will raise is, do security and comfort really make us happy?
A secure life
Look at some senior folks who have pursued security all their lives and are about to finish their journey. How happy do they look?
Has your own pursuit of security thus far, kept you happy?
And then how real is safety? As I read in this thought provoking article, how helpful was security for the people in Japan who were hit by the Tsunami recently?
Life and future are too uncertain for anything, even money, to secure. There is absolutely no security in life. This realization need not be traumatic, in fact, it can be liberating! You don’t have to be a slave to the future any more!!
Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing –Helen Keller
Do possessions make us happy?
You may say that happiness requires nice comforts like a house, a car, big bank balance, a high paying job.
Here in India where I live, I have traveled through villages where people seemed to earn just enough to make ends meet. I have seen happiness there. I have seen smiling faces and smiling eyes that readily gave me directions to my destination, that displayed a friendly curiosity in me and my journey.
I have also worked for 3 years on Wall Street, in a big Investment Bank. I have seen some people with a lot of money but still unhappy. I am not implying that all rich are unhappy(or the poor, happy). But the fact that there are some rich who look angry or listless and there are some people of modest means who look happy, points out that there must be something else to happiness, than just money, luxury and comfort.
Most of the luxuries and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only not indispensable, but positive hindrances to the elevation of mankind. –Henry David Thoreau
Happiness, it seems, is not a factor of how much you have. You can feel happy listening to a good song, you can feel happy witnessing a beautiful sunrise, you can feel happy in any number of ways that don’t require any possessions at all.
So what causes happiness?
Happiness, to me, is the result of a decision to be happy. I feel all the happy people I have met, whether in villages or on Wall Street, had just decided to be happy. No matter what the situation, they just smile. The ones who are not happy have postponed their happiness, they have made it contingent upon some event, some amount of money, a certain status… They have put certain limitations on their happiness. They don’t believe that the only limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves.
The happy ones remove all conditions on their happiness. They are dedicated to their decision to be happy, they focus on it constantly. They are not perfect, they falter sometimes. But their focus comes back quickly. They have brought happiness into routine, they have made it a habit.
A few things to try
Go ahead and make your own resolve to be happy. Practice it, try to be happy no matter what. If you falter(and you will falter, many times), don’t feel guilty, just bring your focus back to your resolve. Slowly, you will find a sense of lasting happiness.
Denounce the idea of working for a ‘future happiness’. Instead, form goals that make you feel happy right now, form goals that make you feel enthusiastic and passionate in this, present moment.
Listen to that favorite song of yours. Make a resolution to not think about anything till it ends. This is a simple choice, totally in your hands. No one can force you, without your complicity, to not enjoy.
Look at a beautiful picture, play with your kid, talk to a genuine friend…
Happiness is so readily available, right now!
About the author: Rahul is the owner of the personal development blog, www.rahulspeaks.com. His interests include(but are not limited to) philosophy, personal development, analytical reasoning, martial arts, motorcycles, travel, writing. Get his free eBook : The Eight Pillars of Lasting Happiness.
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