Can you remember the first time you offered yourself the bribe of happiness? Simply put, can you recall the first time you thought to yourself, “I will be happy when….” And started on the road of making your happiness conditional.
I am certain all of us, at some point of our lives, begin to make our happiness a bribe to ourselves. For some it is during the last year of school, when happiness becomes conditional on getting through a good college, for others it is when you have just got a job but you are determined to bribe yourself to the desired corner office ‘goal post’. It is also the point that, accordingly to me, is the end of childhood and beginning of worldhood (often also called ‘adulthood’).
One achievement leads to another goal and the cycle continues till, alas, we reach a stage when we begin to bribe ourselves backwards! “If I can just go back to school, I will just sit under the oak tree and read books the whole day!”, this is probably a common old age bribe we try to give ourselves, but it is too late.
The truth is that humans are probably the only species on this planet that loves to live either in the past or in the future. We are constantly planning and worried for the future and at the same time regretful for not having enjoyed the past to the fullest! Ironically, most of us forget to live and be grateful for the present.
The fault probably lies in our understanding of happiness.
We are made to think of happiness as a goal. Unlimited literature has been generated on how to achieve happiness, sadly, all of them are wrong in their very core philosophy. Let me explain this big claim.
As per the definition the word ‘achieve’ is attributed to quantifiable rewards i.e., You achieve 1st position in a race. On the other hand, the word ‘attain’ refers to qualitative awards. i.e., you attain a ‘good’ grade in an exam.
Simply put, ‘1st position’ is a well-defined goal and hence achieved, whereas ‘good’ is a subjective attribute therefore attained. IN essence, something that may be good for you may not be good for another person.
This is happiness – a subjective attribute.
Every individual has a different qualitative happiness trigger i.e., listening to music, playing a sport, seeing the bank balance grow, reading or simply looking at a sunset. However, we all are made to believe that happiness is a quantitative reward i.e., salary number, return on investment number, rank on the podium number etc. Without doubt, it is this misrepresentation and subsequent ill-pursuit of happiness as a goal, that makes us resent our daily lives.
We are unhappy because we have complicated our lives chasing happiness!
Yes, it may sound strange, but the truth is that we get tired chasing the goal of happiness, without realizing that happiness has been our companion all the way. We simply, do not appreciate the present to realize how happy we are!
It is therefore essential to uncomplicate your life, to enjoy your present and be happy. The following 5 steps will help you unclutter your daily lives and see the happiness existing in your life, today.
1) SAY ‘No’ to things and people that deserve it. The art of saying ‘No’ is the most undeveloped skillset we have. We think saying ‘No’ is impolite. Well maybe, but my happiness is more important than other’s perception of my mannerism!
2) Don’t overestimate your position by not embracing your happiness because you are worried ‘what will people think’. The truth is that most people will not think anything at all! Everyone is busy in their own lives and your actions are only a small ripple in their lives. Which is forgotten before it is registered. So, don’t bother about others. Pursue your happiness trigger fearlessly.
3) Learn to forgive and forget, not because of some social upmanship, but because you should simply not waste your time and energy on maintaining the white elephant called ‘grudge’. Grudge is a very expensive luxury to maintain. It has been proven to have bankrupted the most powerful humans. Avoid it at all costs.
4) Always have a ‘me-time’ and guard it zealously. All of us fail to find time for ourselves. Logic demands that we treat ourselves in the best manner everyday of our lives. If you don’t love yourself, no one else will. Whether it is reading the newspaper or simply having a long hot water bath, we all have our daily pleasure points. It is essential that we make it a point to pursue these simple but important happiness triggers without an excuse. Find time, make time or steal time to pamper yourselves daily.
5) Lastly, don’t fall for the ‘money cannot buy happiness’ trap. It is the biggest lie that has been propagated by people who want to control your happiness and thereby control you. Money, is an essential tool of happiness. However, money is not cash flow alone. Money, is living within your means. In other words, you should design your lifestyle around the money you generate and not the other way around. And you will see how money can buy happiness.
IN the end, it is always about how you decide to define your life. The rules of happiness are simple, but difficult to pursue. Some, trade-offs always have to be made. However, once the rules become a habit, no one can subjugate your happiness quotient ever again.
The journey of life is all about happiness, the goal post is irrelevant as long as you understand this. So, stop bribing yourself and start loving yourself.
The author is the author of the bestselling book, The Billionaire and The Monk, available on Amazon (click here to order).
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