‘Happiness’ – not a shiny utopian unicorn

Today at the onset of a work meeting, our manager decided to show us video about how ‘happiness leads to a better work environment’. It was a TEDx video and I was quite impressed with the speaker. It was not merely his style of speaking, which I did find quite captivating, but also the subject of his talk. This was something I had thought about many a times, so I mentally nodded the entire way through his talk.

He talked about how being happy leads to a better work environment. But more importantly, the point he was trying to make was, happiness nowadays seems to be a ‘concept’, almost like a utopian place we can one day hope to find ourselves at when – and if – we achieve what we set out to achieve. If we meet conditions A and B, or if we finally attain object C. Once we meet A and B, and then attain C, we then set ourselves another goal – Goal D! – and now our ultimate happiness all depends on when – and if – we attain Goal D!

Do you see the pattern here? It is like we are bent on putting our happiness on hold until we reach this moving target far off into the sky. Don’t get me wrong – having goals are extremely important. In fact, hope itself is what keeps us going from day to day. But we all know those people, who are completely convinced that they cannot be happy until they attain a certain something they have laid their minds on. Or until they change a certain something in their lives. Until then, happiness is on hold!

What is up with that?

If you need me to break it down for you, then here it is: Happiness is not ‘the attainment of a certain object/goal/person’. Happiness is not what happens to you once you reach your final destination. If you think of it that way, you might as well be chasing the proverbial shiny unicorn while he gallops on into utopian land! I.e. its not gonna happen! There is no guarantee at all that once you reach your destination, ‘happiness’ is going to be waiting for you wrapped up in a shiny bow! Quit living for the future. Stop treating happiness like a unicorn. I assure you it is not!

Happiness is simply a state of mind you CHOOSE to be in. In the present. And who better to control your state of mind than your own awesome self? Happiness therefore, is a conscious choice. A choice you can make every single day when you wake up, or when you go for your afternoon walk. Happiness is choosing to ignore obstacles along the way to your goal, and focus on the help you received from strangers. Happiness is choosing to ignore the fact that you are in a crowded subway train, but concentrating on the fact that you did not have to drive and fight traffic today. Happiness is not only deriving pleasure from the small things, but from the journey to your destination ITSELF. Heck, look around you for a second – there is no much to be happy about!

It is perfectly healthy and natural to come up with ambitious goals for yourself. But don’t base your happiness on the attainment of it. Revel in the feeling of striving to achieve your dreams. Indulge yourself in the pursuit of the exciting journey to your destination. Surround yourself with beauty, passion, dreams, and beautiful people who are passionate about the pursuit of their dreams. Breathe in the now, dream of the future and fall in love with the present.

Just be. This – now – is happy.