Monday, 16 November 2015
The Essence of Happiness
I will never forget the dedication in the book of one of the most reputable experts on the subject of motivation, the American Dr. David J. Schwartz, The Magic of Thinking Big. When his six-year old son completed kindergarten, Dr. Schwartz asked him what he would like to be when he grew up. Without hesitation, the child replied, “Dad, I want to be a professor.” “A professor? A professor of what?”, Dr. Schwartz asked. “Well, Dad,” his son replied, “I think I want to be a professor of happiness.” “A professor of happiness! That’s a pretty wonderful ambition, don’t you think? To them - David, a fine boy with a grand goal, and to his mother, this book is dedicated.”
If we were to ask what light is, we would get the most accurate description from a person who had lost the ability to see, and if we were to ask what freedom is, we would certainly get the best explanation from a person who had lost it. However, I do not believe it necessary to ask anyone what happiness is.
Most people think that happiness is a result of personal qualities and circumstances which cannot be measured. For others, the goal of happiness is “all or nothing.” One of the best tennis players in the world, Arancha Sanchez-Vicario, gave the following answer to the question “What is a nice day for you?”
“A day that I feel happy.”
There is no direct road to happiness, except through our own adaptation and adjustment. But what does that mean? It means that we should not live our lives waiting to become happy, but rather continuously and persistently dedicating ourselves to learning to experience personal happiness. Sometimes people are blind to the happiness around them, and the more opportunities for happiness they get, the unhappier they feel. For truly happy people, time ceases to exist; they seldom peek at their wristwatches. There are no unsolvable problems for the truly happy. They constantly smile and simply live their lives.
So what can we do to adapt to this new way of living?
We shouldn’t always wonder and ask what we need to do in order to achieve absolute happiness. Sometimes, quite often in fact, we must know what not to do - what we must avoid and distance ourselves from - so that we can become happier. An obstacle for our happiness could be fear of acting wrongly or incorrectly. This is a problem we experience from very early childhood to our golden years. The problem exists because we are used to other people telling us what is proper and improper - what is right and wrong. If we decide to form and develop our happiness ourselves, it is up to us to balance the guiding influence of moral and social conventions with the fundamental freedom of moral self-determination.
Regardless of how they connect with our careers, our education, business, family, health, wealth, perfection, glory and power our dreams and desires have their own paths. Once we are able to truly believe that we will find and follow this path, we will certainly become happier. Such faith gives us enormous power, divine guidance and inner strength to walk our path with confidence and accept our challenges with grace. Therefore, we have to learn to strive toward giving our best effort every day, to carefully measure all our thoughts, words or deeds, and to try to realize whether they make us happy or unhappy.
The ultimate goal is achieving absolute happiness. Millions of people look for it, but only handfuls create it themselves.