HAPPINESS - an inside job
“I was knocking at the door of happiness all my life. When the door opened, I realized that I was knocking from the inside.” RUMI
Happiness has historically been either short-lived or elusive - at least so it was for me till I realized that it is a state of the mind that comes from ‘Sharing & Giving’‚ although we are under the illusion that it comes from ‘Getting & Consuming‘ & collecting material things. I have now realized that there is no way to Happiness, Happiness is the way and it starts from the inside. It is a path, a journey, not a goal or a destination. It is an Inside job.
The famous Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib once wrote “I have made my life Happier. I have asked some people to forgive me and others I have forgiven“. It is so simple, but to do it we need to rid ourselves of the Ego. I tried for a long time to be free and happy as the Ego, till I realized that I have to be free from the Ego, not free as the Ego. It’s maybe a subtle difference in words, but the real difference is like a stormy moonless night and a tropical sunny day. :)
The other thing I realized is that the challenges in my life that threw me out of my comfort zone, were the times when I was able to really grow as a Human Being. I now know that the Universe always gives me what I need, not necessarily what I want. So, I now feel that I don’t need to be unhappy with what I really need, even if it may not be what I want at that point in time.
On a more basic level, I have seen that INTEGRITY, TRUST & LEADERSHIP lead to Happiness. I have noticed that praise, encouragement & caring create the space for building INTEGRITY. I have also experienced that when I TRUST people, they always live up to the expectations they set for themselves. In my experience, everyone wants to make a difference in the world, no matter how small that difference may be‚ so our role as LEADERS is to create the space inwhich they can realize their potential – just like a conductor who does not make a single sound himself, but is all-powerful because he helps bring out the best in everyone else.
For those of you who love numbers, the latest Harvard research shows that no more than 10-15% of Happiness is determined by the external environment & 85-90% is internal to the person. Events in our lives remain the same. It is our reaction to those events that determines our level of Happiness.
The research also shows that when people are Happy, productivity goes up by over 50% and creativity by over 300%. It is a state we call “in the flow“ or “in the zone“. I can only imagine what happens to profitability when this happens on an ongoing basis. :)
The research from Harvard clearly reaches the conclusion that thinking: “When I am successful, I will be happy“, is a myth. The research shows that when people are happy, they become successful & prosperous & more ethical & have higher INTEGRITY & become mentally and Spiritually richer.
The other good news is that happiness is a skill that can be learnt just like football or piano or golf and there is even a recipe for everyday Happiness. Something for our “to be“ list as opposed to our “to do“ list. I always had a to do list till I realized that if doing was so important, we would be called Human doings – so now I have a “to be“ list and the first item on the list is – TO BE HAPPY. :)
Many years ago, Joseph Epstein wrote‚ “We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents or the country of our birth. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time of our death. But within the realm of this “choicelessness“, we do choose how we live. Abraham Lincoln also said: “Whether U think U can or U think U cannot, U are right.“I see that if we decide to be Happy, we have Hope & some Amazing possibilities to live into - not just for ourselves but for all future generations to come – but it’s an inside job. :)
THE MAN IN THE GLASS
When you get what you want
in your struggle for self
And the world makes you King for a day
Just go to a mirror and look at yourself
And see what THAT man has to say.
For it isn‘t your father or mother or wife
Whose judgment upon you must pass
The fellow whose verdict counts
most in your life
is the one staring back from the glass.
Some people may think you
And call you a wonderful guy.
But the man in the glass says you‘re
only a bum
If you can‘t look him straight in the eye.
He‘s the fellow to please, never
mind all the rest.
For he‘s with you clear up to the end.
And you‘ve passed
your most dangerous, difficult test
If the man in the glass is your friend.
You may fool the whole world
down the pathway of life
And get pats on your back as you pass.
But your final reward will be
heartaches and tears
If you‘ve cheated the man in the glass.
RECIPE FOR EVERYDAY HAPPINESS:
Research at Harvard lays out a recipe for everyday
Happiness which should not take more than 30 minutes every day:
1. Be grateful for 3 things in our life every day.
2. Exercise for at least 10 - 15 minutes.
3. Meditate for at least 5 - 10 minutes.
4. Write a positive message to someone (we don‘t
necessarily have to know this person).
5. Start to journal our most positive
experiences over the past 24 hours.