THE ANATOMY OF HAPPINESS
If you ask people what they want from life, many will answer that they want to be happy: but how many of those people really understand what happiness is? Some may say happiness is laying on the beach not doing anything, some may reply they feel happy when they laugh a lot, and others might feel happiness is when you are on vacation or when they fall in love.
I think happiness is a bit more complex than this. Happiness must contain a feeling of accomplishment to really qualify as happiness. Try to remember the last time you truly felt happy and you will see that you reached some sort of goal. Perhaps the goal was to go to Disney World with the family, and you saved money during the entire year and you were able to take the kids on vacation. That made you happy; not because you were on vacation so much, but because you accomplished what you set out to do.
Happiness is that feeling of accomplishment one gets right after we reach a goal. The examples are numerous: a team that scores a goal in football will bring some of the happiest moments in history, graduating is another big one, getting married to the person you love is certainly on the list, etc. Why are there so many divorces right after marriage? Couples have the goal of marrying their fiancés, and if they do, their wedding day may be their most memorable day in their universe. This goal brings about happiness for a short period of time, but if they don’t quickly make some new goals as a couple and work hard to achieve those goals… love won’t last. The bitterness and hatred that surrounds divorces are legendary.
Reaching your goals is very important to feel happiness. Try to remember how you felt the last time you decided to renovate your house: you threw out stuff, you painted walls, you made the garden prettier, you cleaned every little corner, you bought new furniture and curtains – and wow – some weeks later, you sat down and contemplated your achievements. Perhaps you had to do some work which was unpleasant to you, but how did you feel when you were done? That brief contemplation of a goal reached is what happiness is all about. It doesn’t last long, and so we must make a new goal right after it, or we soon go down the scale to unhappiness.
Another great example of happiness and one that is easy to achieve on a daily basis is the ‘to do’ list. Remember a day when you had a lot of stuff to do? Go to the bank, Pay the gas bill, go to the dentist for that check-up you have been postponing and do the laundry. You made it, you finished it… how did you feel afterwards? That’s happiness! So we see that happiness doesn’t need fancy achievements or superpower abilities; simply doing what one sets out to do is enough to bring happiness to our lives whatever these chores may be.
Seldom do we see someone who is unhappier than a person who has nothing to do. I really know this. I get messages every day from people who want to work for BOSL & CO and when I ask them what they would like to do, many answer: “Anything!” You know why this is? Because even in a game like Second Life one needs a purpose: because without one, there is nothing but boredom and unhappiness. Pity the fool who only wants to “have fun” or do nothing but hang out, they don’t last long.
Nothing brings more unhappiness than agreeing to do something and then not doing it. Setting out to do your list of chores and not doing it will always make you feel bad. Life is not about fun, it is about completing those things you agreed to do in a timely fashion. This is responsibility, this is what trust is made out of, and this is what gives you credibility in the eyes of others. This is the very core of the foundations of happiness.
It’s strange. I am on Margarita Island real life at the time of writing this piece, and yet I took twenty minutes to write this article. Wasn’t I supposed to be perfectly happy with nothing to do but lie on the beach and drink Pina Coladas? Apparently not.
Be aware of people who tell you to not do anything, be cautious of advertising that sells purposeless fun, be mindful of people who tell you to work out a plan for revenge purposes (or any other destructive plan), be very aware of people who recommend you to quit your job. These people are really telling you: “I don’t care about your happiness; I just want to use you for my own purposes and gain.”
A destructive purpose brings unhappiness just the same as no purpose. How many prisoners feel happy with what they did? Not one. So make sure your goals and intentions are constructive rather than destructive, be sure you keep your word once granted, be loyal, be truthful, agree to those things you can actually carry out and then do them to the best of your ability. This will make you worthy of trust, which in my opinion, is the most valuable commodity any person can possibly possess. Violate any of this norms enough times, and you will end up a very unhappy person.
I have learned this the hard way and thought perhaps it had some worth sharing it with you all. May you become the happiest person you can possibly be.
PS: This post was written out of my own personal experience and any coincidence with someone else’s fortune or misfortune is completely accidental. And you, what makes you happy? Please share it with us!