Happiness is a journey, and not a destination as many of us have grown up to believe. Think about it - you worked so hard for an entire year to get the best appraisal and the coveted promotion. Yes, you achieved it. You felt happy and content - but for how long? Did that stop you from running in the rat race or give you the luxury of slowing down and smelling the roses on your way home? In all probability, not. You obviously landed a fatter pay cheque but also increased responsibilities and bigger targets to meet. What happened to happiness though?
Here, we would like to introduce your very successful self to regular Joe. Joe thinks he is very happy...he isn't rich nor is he poor. Joe enjoys his work but he also loves spending time with his family and tending to his little garden. And while he loves to order stuff online from Amazon and stays connected with friends on social media platforms, he keeps a check on his online indulgences. Moreover, Joe doesn't chain himself to his office desk, he isn't fighting for any promotion; but he wakes up with a smile every day, enjoys a hearty breakfast with his loving wife, breezily drives down to work where he is loved by his peers for his positive attitude. Not surprisingly, Joe is also highly efficient at work because he isn't stressed or distracted by unattainable goals. Also, not surprisingly, Joe is doing well at his job and is extremely happy - because he is living his life to the fullest. He isn't waiting to earn a million bucks to feel happy. He feels like a million bucks everyday - because he knows that "happiness is a journey and not a destination." - quoting author and psychologist, Ben Sweetland.
Joe is also extremely kind because he knows the joy of giving. Yes, there is extreme pleasure in receiving something you always wanted - but there is more joy in giving. There is a feeling of satisfaction in knowing that you could go beyond fulfilling your needs to help somebody else grappling with tough times.
Well, before we go on - we are not saying that it isn't good to be ambitious or successful. However, in the long and arduous race for success and ultimate happiness, we often start overlooking the simple things in life that actually provide us happiness. Something as small as a fresh bloom on an old plant, a quick game of tug with your pet, or just lying down with a loved one - without any care or deadline to meet. Imagine, how many times you gulped down the dinner prepared with so much effort by your spouse without even looking at her because you were stuck with some office emails on the phone. Or, do you remember the last time you took a long walk with your pooch, drawn into her world of carefree abandon. Or, did you happen to notice the old lady trying to cross the road but didn't help her as you were getting late for a meeting? And, finally, do you remember the sheer joy of sleeping uninterrupted for 8 hours - without a constantly beeping mobile phone, notifying you of work emails and WhatsApp messages?
Well, this write-up is not to judge your choices. But, yes, it is meant to judge your values - the values against which you measure your happiness.
Think about it - how long can you go on running in life without stopping to acknowledge your friends and family. You can, possibly, do it forever. But whether those friends and family would be waiting for you at the finish line is hard to say. And then, how would you feel with no one to share your coveted 'happiness' trophy with?
Remember - creativity and emotional intelligence are rare human traits that make us human. Yet, running after materialistic goals makes us ignore these traits - leading to dissatisfaction and unhappiness, when we were actually striving for the opposite. But you can change this - by taking time to enjoy the journey. Slow down - there is nothing more important than being humane and happy. And when you understand these two emotions - you have already succeeded as a human.