So, what is happiness?
Happiness is a state of mind. It doesn’t require riches, sprawling banglows, swanky cars or high-paying jobs. It requires a mental frame and that feeling called happiness emanates within us.
What is happiness? This could mean different things to different people. Some people are happy by talking with friends with some food and their favourite drink; some are happy when they are doing something they like such as an activity or vocation while some are happy when they are with their family members, loved ones, relatives. Happiness is internal; you don’t find peace of mind outside of your own consciousness if you are not at peace within yourself. For example, you may even avoid your family and friends if you are not happy within yourself.
Challenge yourself; be happy
I want to argue here that happiness comes from challenging yourself and doing what you avoid but should be doing. It comes from challenging your limits; it comes from achievement; it comes from trying, failing, learning and succeeding. That is what I feel is the crux of happiness. If you are not doing that, if you are not on the path of progress in your personal life then you won’t be happy even when you are in the company of those who love you and those who you like. Because you are in conflict with yourself; because deep inside you there is a troubling feeling that you can not have guilt-free pleasures because you have not earned it. Because you realize that by avoiding work and by not challenging yourself with every task you have not earned the right to be very happy.
Look around, who’re the happiest folks?
Look around yourself. Who you think are the happiest people? They are not necessarily the richest ones; not necessarily the most good looking ones (in fact models and film stars often appear depressed)and definitely not the ones who seem to be blessed with everything from wealth to power to a ministerial or secretarial berth. I would say the happiest are those who are making their time on earth meaningful. By working, by applying themselves, by pushing their limits, by embracing work, by choosing to love their work, by trying to excel in their works, by failing, by learning and by succeeding.
An example: guy in street is happy!
Apply this, for example, to the nearest street vendor who appears happy or to any apparently poor person on the street who is making livelihood by selling some goods or doing some menial task. I once asked this to a vendor selling chappals (shoes, sandals) in Sarojini Nagar market in Delhi, ‘The municipal people make you folks run all the time; they are raiding vendors who encroach and install shops on roads in the market. Do you think your business model is sustainable? What will happen when you are caught and asked to leave the area? He had said, ‘Nothing will happen; I will move to some other place and make a living there. Such is life and I know I will survive.’
He had hit the nail on its head; he had explained to me the formula for happiness.
Work is Happiness
It comes from challenging yourself and doing what you should be doing without worrying about problems. And all else will fall in place. You are honest and content with your work then you are happy. And it will also reflect in your relationships, your friendships, your income, your moods. So run after work and do it honestly, choose to do it like it really matters to you and that you want to realize your potential by doing that work; don’t run after happiness. Happiness is a concomitant of a life lived well in pursuit of struggle. It has nothing to do with authority, power, influence, money, riches, luxuries, leisure. It comes from giving your best to life. You apply yourself; life rewards you with happiness. As simple as that.