Happiness Quotient — The Only Way to Pursue Happiness is to ‘Be Happy’
There was a time in my life I was pursuing happiness with vigor, till I realized that the only way to pursue happiness is to ‘Be Happy’.
I worked hard to earn my next car, my next house, the best wardrobe, everything money could buy, so that I could have every piece of ingredient that I felt will help me put together my recipe of happiness for life. I looked for perfection in my relationship or maybe I should say, I looked for that perfect partner who as a part of this concoction of ingredients will lead me to ultimate bliss. I planned vacations in glamorous locations and ate at exotic restaurants. I wanted to experience all the fineries that life had to offer and why not?
In pursuit of happiness, isn’t that the motto we should live by?
It’s just one life and if one is not happy then what’s the point!
As I moved on this journey, life became fuller. I kept moving up the corporate ladder. I had a bigger car, a bigger house, lovely family, a wider circle of friends, just about everything! If social media is any measure of a person’s ‘Happiness Quotient’ (HQ), I was living a perfectly joyous life.
In the midst of my pursuit towards happiness, as and when I took a pause from my busy schedule, there seemed to be something amiss. I attributed this to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. I wanted something more from life, my needs had shifted.
I was looking to add meaning and purpose in this medley of ingredients to move up my HQ.
With this established, I moved with fervor to pursue my new goal in life. From Art of Living to Isha Kriya to various other meditation techniques, I experienced everything I could get access to. I read Indian philosophy from Vedanta to Shiva Sutras, I read the works of — J Krishnamurthy, A. Parthasarathy, Swami Lakshmanjoo, Osho and various other great Indian philosophers and thinkers. I read various western authors — Deepak Chopra, Robin Sharma, Neale Donald Walsch and Paulo Coelho, to name a few.
I was always a voracious reader but moving to this genre of books changed me to the core and developed a belief system that made me feel happier and satisfied with life. I loved exploring and experimenting with various philosophies as expounded in these books to build my very own framework for a happy life.
The foundation of my Framework is based on the premise that HQ follows the universal sine wave (sinusoid).
On the timescale of life, we go through many positive cycles and reach the crest as we achieve various goals in life. We move down towards the negative cycle of the sinusoid as we feel dejected on encountering failures and rejections in life. Happiness, however, is not a ‘Pot of Gold’ that you uncover after conquering the rainbow, rather happiness is the pleasure you derive as you move towards the positive cycles of the sinusoid.
Given the nature of a sinusoid, It is simply impossible to be perpetually happy without experiencing hardship or sadness. How long we stay at the top of the curve and how fast we jump back from any trough defines how happy we will be in life. Hence, to augment your HQ, focus on maximizing the positive cycle and minimise the negative cycle in your life journey.
Now that I have defined my framework, let me detail out the key elements of my framework which guide me on how to increase the positive cycles in my life journey.
A person with no dream, no goal, can survive but to be happy, you need to be alive. Dreams & aspirations bring exuberance and enthusiasm in our lives. They give meaning and purpose to our life. Dream need not be lofty and it need not be long term. It should be enough to move you out of your comfort zone and sufficient to push you towards action. A dream at any point of time may be as basic as buying a new car or as majestic as finding a purpose in life, it does not matter.
But here’s the catch , if your goals are very short term, you may go through many cycles of crests and troughs because as soon as you achieve a goal, you stop deriving as much pleasure from it as you used to. It soon becomes a ‘new normal’ in your life.
I remember getting my first bike at the age of 8. My happiness knew no bound, I was literally living with my new bike. I would ride it for hours daily. I showed it off to all my friends. But soon the novelty wore off, it was no longer new, I was bored of riding it all the time, my friends were no longer impressed with it, something new and different had caught their attention.
Doesn’t this happen to all of us, even today. Novelty of the new car, latest promotion or even the new partner soon wears off and it becomes part of our normal routine.
It is always better to have a long-term dream and then break it into smaller, achievable milestones. Each milestone will move you towards the crest and further pump up your energies to move towards the next and then the next milestone as you inch closer to your aspiration in life.
Faith does not just move mountains but also move your HQ higher. It is important to have faith and belief in something or someone. It can be in your ability to define your destiny, your God, universe, nature, higher power or whatever gives you conviction. As you start believing in the successful achievement of your goal — your thoughts, emotions and actions all move in tandem towards the goalpost. Every thought, emotion and action has energy and as you send the right energies into the universe, it further strengthens the positive cycle of your HQ sinusoid.
This positive energy has the following effect which strengthens the HQ sinusoid -
- You will enjoy every moment of the journey because there is no fear for the future, you believe in what you are aiming for. Being in the moment gives immense happiness and that is possible only if you are not worried about the future or regretful about the past.
- If and when life throws lemons at you, it does not put you off track. Your energies at various points in the timescale, will travel down towards the negative cycle for sure, but faith will hold your hand and move you back up faster. You cannot live life without failing or without getting hurt, but faith builds Resilience which helps you bounce back. Resilience teaches you to accept what is not in your control and to let go your attachment to the final destination by grounding you to your actions today.
- It makes you disciplined. A lot of books tell us how discipline is a pre- requisite for achieving success and happiness in life. But why is it that some people can build discipline in life while others, despite wanting to, cannot do it? Is it will power? No, it is faith and belief that you can do it! Once you are driven by faith, you don’t need to call on will power. When you are driven by self-assurance and confidence you pack your life with healthy habits. You look forward to your mornings and spring out of the bed looking forward to the day.
Count your blessings, be thankful for what you have.
It is very easy to look at others and yearn for what they have but remember every journey is different. Do not compare your journey, your life with others.
Strive to be a better person every day. Compare yourself today with what you were yesterday and thank the universe for what you have achieved.
A powerful way of practicing gratitude is to maintain a ‘Gratitude diary’. End your day by journaling your gratitude for the day. You will sleep with positive energies surrounding you and will wake up feeling happy and energetic.
4. The Relationship rule
We are social animals; in-fact we understand ourselves better in context of others. As you live your life as a parent, a partner, a friend, you see yourself reflected in the other.
In relationships ask what you can give rather than what you will get.
At all points remember that the most important relationship is what you share with yourself. As you learn to love and accept yourself for what you are, you will see the world loving you back. Accepting and loving yourself helps you accept others for what they are, only then beautiful and loving relationships are formed.
I suggest that your Gratitude diary should mention why you are grateful for being you and why you are grateful for every other close relationship that you have in life.
As per the law of physics, as waves superimpose on each other, it changes the shape of the wave. Feed your HQ sinusoid with positive energies — energies of faith, gratitude and love and you will see your HQ shift more and more towards the positive cycle.