Monday, November 20, 2006

The pursuit of happyness

Yeah, Happyness, not Happiness.
(Blame americanized English, not me!)


I watched the new Bond movie, 'Casino Royale' yesterday. Well, it was different and...no, that is not what I wanted to write about. The good thing about watching movies in the US, is that you get to see atleast 7-8 trailers of upcoming movies before the actual movie you paid 10$ for actually starts. Well, one such trailer caught my eye, and I can't wait to see it - it comes out Dec' 15th here in the US. It stars Will Smith and is called The Pursuit of Happyness. Go watch the trailer!

Well, I didn't want to write about the movie either..what got me thinking was the title itself. There's nothing much to say about it I know, but it's something every human and quite possibly every living creature in this world yearns. Happiness. How do you get it? Where do you find it? How do you capture it, hold it close to your heart and not let it out of your grasp?

A team of photography editors from Corbis were asked to interpret Thomas Jefferson's mysterious phrase, "the pursuit of happiness" using images from their archives, and here's their gallery.

I don't have the perfect answer. But I'm just sitting here, when it's well past midnight, typing away on my laptop, letting loose thoughts without caution. I have met people who have made me think..how is he/she always so happy? I have also met peple whom I'd have thought couldn't be happier, but they always seem unhappy. What makes the difference? Alas, its the person himself who defines his state of happiness. (Now, just a note of caution, my using 'he' is just a general notation for a human, nothing dumb to make a male chauvinist grin nor too sinister for a female chauvinist to raise an eyebrow about.) My dear friend wrote a post himself along similar lines a few days ago, on how to synthesize happiness, and after finishing reading my post, maybe you can go read it here. (Polo, you owe me one! :p) The fact that you can find a sick person on his deathbed happier than a guy winning millions on the final table of a poker game in Vegas makes you think twice doesn't it? What makes a happy person tick? Why is it that happy people generally remain happy and sad people tend to remain sad?

I'm not here to give any solid answers, but here are a few ideas that you may wanna think upon...
1. The 2 Gs. Hehehe...no..not that kind of..nevermind. What I'd like to mean here by 2 G's, is be Grateful...and take nothing for Granted. You never know what lies in store for you, and chances are, if can't look at what you have and feel atleast a little grateful, you might never be happy at any point of time in the future. Anyone, I repeat, anyone, can be grateful for what he has in life, if only he/she can take the time to take stock of what he/she has with her. Learn to be content with nothing and you can only be happy when you have more.

2. The Past and the Future many-a-time don't matter, what matters is the Present. I've seen many people who're lost in the past, either dreaming about the 'good ol times' or repenting a past mistake. I've seen many others who're lost in a race, no, not race, in a stampede, running straight forward fearing they'll get trampled if they stop running, looking at the horizon expecting gold, but not realizing that they're actually stamping and stomping on real gold underneath. If we could only take the time to stop and think about what we're doing, we could do so much more better. Alas, this is something that is very hard to do in this modern world, but anything is available to the one who seeks.

3. Identify your natural sources of happiness, and hold on to them. I feel this is something very important. Everybody has their own sources of happiness, be it your family, friends, sport, art, books, movies or just food. Now chances are that you have crossed the age of 20 years, so you have a set of friends, whom you know well, trust and care about. You may never get to know a certain set people better. Ofcourse you may get married soon and then your spouse becomes important. But all in all, your friends and family can remain your sources of strength and happiness throughout your life. Hold on. Never let go. Also, I said 'natural' sources of happiness and not immediate. Therefore, I don't think drinks and drugs qualify. You can be happy just doing what you love to do, even if people think you're crazy, which brings me to another point...

4. Do not let the crowd shape your life. I've seen people who are only concerned about what the 'crowd' thinks about them, and thus turn themselves into something they aren't, hoping to please everyone around them. This ultimately leaves the person with nothing, just a shell, which will one day, have nothing more to hide. Now this doesn't mean you do anything you want without sparing a thought for anyone else. Family and friends always matter, so its always good you have someone to share your thoughts with, whether you like it or not.

5. TGIF...no, not Thank God its Fridays, 'Thank God I Forgive'. You can lose all the happiness you have due to one thing. Hatred. Learn to Forgive, and you've learnt to be immune to Hatred. There are other things that can make you lose your happiness like, Fear, Anxiety, and Guilt. These feelings cannot be overcome within days, but with due practice, one can negate such feelings pretty fast. Ofcourse, Faith and Hope helps, but that is another story.

Disclaimer: The author does not practice the above ideas all the time, and cannot stake claim to being happy always...but is willing to try and listen to more ideas. If you have any thoughts that you're willing to share, feel free and share it - via a comment!

23 comments:

LEO said...

Well done Stan.....!!! Really got me thinking ......

US said...

1. Greatful and !Granted (that is not Granted)
2. Present Matters
3. Natural source and hold it tight
4. Not follow the crowd
5. Forgiveness

My take on them

1. Being greatful and not taking anything granted is good as a principle of life, BUT it may not help you become happy per say. Read the Adam Smith statement from my post.

2. Actually for being happy one should know that everything is "Transient" and 3 months from now, whatever happens will be TOTALLY IRRELEVANT. Thus, there is no fear, anxiety, stress and it leads to happiness. Keeping focus on Present will only help your career, which is one of the several factors in happiness.

3. Natural Source - Dead basic, cannot screw this one, for ANY COST and I mean ANY.

4. Following the crowd blindly is stupid. BUT observing the crowd, why they are heading that way and then take decision is smart. But nothing major to do with happiness per se.

5. Forgiveness - Correct again, also being one of my personal high priority items - "NEVER keep a GRUDGE" Never. It will only hurt you and no body else. So drop those grudges as soon as you can. Have them, but don't keep them for long. This has significant direct impact on happiness.

Overall - In my post I discuss Dan Gilbert's take on it and How easy it is to be happy. Some key points from Dan's research are mentioned there.
Dan is the author of the book -"Stumbling on Happiness", the title speaks for itself.

Happy reading.

--
US

stan_da_man said...

@dixy-chicks: hey thanks! :) nice to hear i got SOMEONE thinking...hehe.

@us: dude..i need royalty flat.hehe..juz kiddin...yea, ur post laid the seeds for such a post..its sumtin i've thought about often too..but I havnt seen that TED video yet man!!! damnit! gotta find more time!! :P

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