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ATM for happiness: Acceptance, Take Charge & Make the Most

Source | LinkedIn : By Naveen Khajanchi

Happiness – Is it really a choice?

It can be, if we actively pursue three steps

Anxiety is on the rise. Work and stress are increasing levels of anxiety among students and professionals along with the fear of technological disruption and economic uncertainty. This anxiousness timed out my happiness. An attempt to get it back led to the creation of ATM for Happiness or Anxiety Toll Management .Happiness therefore would appear to be contingent on a mixture of socioeconomic factors and trust in the world around us.

Happiness is not something that can be tangibly felt or gained. You have to manage the conditions of your life to feel it & to get there. I propose a 3-part journey to achieve happiness, which I call the ATM of Happiness. It can be drawn upon to renew your focus and manage the conditions to be content.


The first and key step towards happiness is Acceptance. Accept yourself and accept others. A University of Hertfordshire study[i] corroborates this, saying that “Self-Acceptance” is one of the traits most closely related to satisfaction, and yet, it is the least common. Self-acceptance is the ability to accept ourselves just as we are. Most of us have a dual personas-one that’s visible to others and our Inner Core, only known to us. In a lot of my relationships wherein bliss was desirable (there were hidden expectations v/s acceptance of what was there). I started judging and being unhappy or feeling vulnerable with others whereas the need was to assess and understand. So I started this journey with cleaning myself, toning down my expectations, accepting people as they are, liking them more or giving them the benefit of doubt that they are good unless proved wrong with assessment and not judgment. Each person is different and unique and it took me time to accept them. I learnt this in my class at INSEAD where I found myself quite different from the core group. At times it felt bad, and maybe I was expecting more encouragement from them. But instead, if I could accept it and not surrender my joy to their encouragement and yet cheer them in their moments of joy, I would be close to achieving my desired state. As Gandhi said, “Be the Change you wish to see in the world. “

For near and dear ones, instead of giving unsolicited advice, I am moving to saying a prayer for their wellbeing. (I think my wife and teenaged children would be praying to see that being practiced in full reality).

The  Harvard Study of Adult Development, a research project that started from 1938 and continued till 2016, found that throughout the years, one of the most important factors that strongly influenced health and well-being, were relationships with friends, and especially spouses. The people in the best relationships had lesser occurrences of chronic disease, mental illness and memory decline – even if those relationships went through many ups and downs.

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