A perspective on why one of the most important aspects of Human Emotions is not valued enough. Living a balanced lifestyle is not only about work and social life but also aligning with inner harmony. Penning down my introspection to demystify Happiness.
Happiness – The most talked about word. There are thousands of books, workshops and trainings on this subject. Every now and then, a new motivational speaker comes up and encourages us to enrich our lives by following his guidelines. Technology too has found space here, there are mobile apps to help us calm down and seek happiness. Enlightened sages have started storming the social media space with their experiences and knowledge related to true happiness. Overall, the Happiness Industry is worth billions of dollars and is on a rapid growth curve.
A quick search on the internet and some facts emerge; India is the most depressed country in the world followed by China, USA and Brazil at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th position respectively. These four countries contribute roughly 44% towards the global GDP and 43% towards the world population. Basically, the major economic powerhouses that are experiencing material progress are getting increasingly depressed. This doesn’t seem right!
All the definitions of happiness have one thing in common, the use of a word called ‘State’. It’s a state of being happy, state of wellbeing or a state of contentment and joy. Here, ‘State’ means– a ‘continuous emotional experience’. It can’t be temporary, with a start and an end point. You need to be a part of this continuous emotional experience to be happy.
Have you ever really observed kids? They don’t attend happiness workshops, read books or listen to the happiness sermons on social media. But still, irrespective of what they eat, wear, or possess, they are just happy. Even if you scold your child, within a span of few minutes s/he will let go and will start living the next moment. Unfortunately, they don’t contribute much to the GDP.
Now compare this with the adults. Our natural tendency is to crib, complain, worry, be insecure, etc. We get our moments of temporary happiness by achieving a goal, buying a house or car, jewelry, or taking a long pending international vacation. And after reveling in those blissful moments, we retract back to our original state. But, let’s not forget, we contribute to the GDP.
So the question is, ‘How are kids able to achieve this state with so much ease?’ If we find this answer, we shall unearth the secret of finding our own happiness too!
Goal vs. Process
There is no concept of goal for kids. They are totally in love with the process. Take them to a beach; the sand castle (end result) is not as exciting as the process of building one. At times, they would even break an existing one to build another!
Though it is good to be goal-oriented but sometimes, we measure our happiness by end-results and not through the experience. Example – if we don’t get that dream house, our life becomes meaningless. This primarily stops us from enjoying the process of creation or building.
Kids are not driven by past baggage. If a kid breaks a toy, s/he will try to reassemble it, sometimes unsuccessfully. That doesn’t really stop her/him from breaking more toys. In a way they are innocently selfish about their own happiness. They are authentic.
The decision of an adult is driven more by others than self. Whether it is education, profession, or any social decision; for us it is all about the perceptions being built. We carry a lot of baggage even before starting a project, a business or a job.
Kids make the same mistakes multiple times and laugh with the same zeal at every single moment. They know that it is completely fine to make mistakes.
Whereas, we get too harsh on ourselves. Again, this is because we are not able to enjoy the process of learning, instead we judge ourselves on the basis of results.
Discovering and learning new things everyday, is an integral part of childhood. By default, they are oriented towards learning instead of acquiring possessions. Hence, they are always passionate, their energy doesn’t die down. They are always excited for something new.
For adults, we mostly get inspired by possessions. The only problem here is that such passion is always short-lived. You might set a goal of buying Mercedes in a few years and you would tirelessly work for that. But if you are unable to tick this dream, the passion will start to decrease and so will the output. This happens because our life is still okay without that possession.
You see kids have an ability to be present in the moment. Their mindset is geared towards what gives them maximum happiness, not maximum results. To get a ‘kid-like’ happiness, these are the possible key takeaways:
- Whether you are in a job or in business; give more weightage to a new skill-set that you have acquired, or improvement in an existing skill. You might not have achieved all your goals yet, but still there are a lot more qualities and strengths being added to your repertoire.
- It is suggested not to operate with past baggage while you start something new. This baggage gives rise to insecurities, fear of failing, burden of performance, etc. More than for self, it feels like a quest to maintain a façade for others. Try to be as genuine as you can. When authenticity is lost, there is no happiness.
- If something doesn’t happen as per our expectation, it leads to self-doubt, victimhood, suppressed anguish, comparison. Happiness doesn’t reside in these realms. It’s good to forgive yourself sometimes.
- Never ending passion doesn’t originate from material goals. Even if you achieve them, that happiness will be short-lived. It will become just another house or just another car after sometime. You will constantly yearn for something more at every point in time.
Don’t get me wrong; material growth and money is very important. However, the need to be successful at any cost should not replace the need to learn and to be involved in the process. If the former becomes greater, you may experience momentary bliss but you won’t be able to connect with the continuous emotional experience of being happy.
Our kids are the real teachers. They should lead the ‘Happiness Industry’. They will do so much better, not for billions of dollars but for loads and loads of love…
– Darpan Jha
This disclaimer informs readers that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the text belong solely to the writer, and not necessarily to any organization, committee or other group or individual.