By | Narendra Ambwani | Helping CEO/CXO Excel
Everyone has his/her own definition of happiness and the best way to achieve it. Over a period of time I have learnt and accepted that my happiness does not depend on anything outside of me. We humans have been born to be capable of being happy entirely on our own with no dependence on anyone or anything. Let me share my thoughts and ideas for your consideration.
Happiness is a transient emotion
Happiness is an emotion just like sadness, fear, anger, guilt, confusion, regret and others. So the source and place of birth of this emotion resides in my mind not outside of me. The emotion is created by me based on how a situation or an event is seen or evaluated by me. If the event is seen by me as exceeding my desires or expectations then I generate this happiness emotion. If the situation or result is not as per my desire or expectations then I am creating emotions of unhappiness or anger or both. Once I know that it’s me who is responsible of creating the happiness or unhappiness in my mind, then I know that I am capable of controlling or dealing with it. I also know that it is all about what my desire or expectation was vs. the reality. So the root cause is my non-acceptance of the reality as it is. The moment I accept the reality as it is then there is no cause of unhappiness! I also have to rethink about future events, was my expectation realistic or too optimistic, should I temper it in future? By this process of debate I am preparing my mind for future and it’s more likely to remain cool at similar situations and results. Another reality about all emotions is that they are all transient and not permanent. You enjoy them or stress about them for few minutes and they disappear or forgotten.
Staying in the present moment
I have also realised that my mind keeps wondering into the past and future. I have understood the futility of being in the past or in the future. There is nothing that I can do on what is in the past, no one can go back in time except in imaginative stories. So why should I feel guilt about anything I did or did not in the past. I must move on, forgive myself for any misdeeds or non-achievements. I must forgive everyone who may have caused me hurt in the past. I can do nothing to undo my past. It’s a reality and unchangeable so I accept it as it is. I have also accepted the fact that future is unknown and it will unfold as it wishes to unfold. I have no control on future or the course it may take. So I must not allow worries about future to freeze my thoughts today. I have faith in my abilities and my fortune to do my best in the future when it comes. Right now I must focus on the Present and NOW. There is only happiness in “NOW” so more I stay in this moment the happier I am. Every time my mind drifts to the past or future, I make effort to bring it back to the present as happiness only exits in the present and not in the past or the future. As I mentioned, emotions are transient so I must enjoy the moment before it disappears! I must enjoy every moment as a gift of life and may be that is why it’s called “The Present”.
Enjoy the game as it happens
To me life is like a game of sports, it is thrilling because it is full of surprises, unknown twists and challenges. We all enjoy sports where results are unpredictable and that unpredictability is actually the cause of the thrill we get. I try to treat life in similar manner. I treat all problems as challenges and yet another test of my abilities to manage. Every time I go through a challenge, there is so much learning for improving my skills, so I welcome the challenge. I am thankful that a challenge was posed to me. Like in sports, I win some times and I lose some times but playing the game and being the part of it is thrilling so enjoy it.
I control no one
I believe that I control no one. Everyone is born free and has right to think freely and do things the way he/she believes is good for them. I am convinced about this thought. So I do not let emotions of others affect me. If someone failed to deliver what I wanted then I must accept it without being upset. If I love the person I may share my disappointment and suggest ideas for the future, but I will not lose sleep over the event as event is now in the past and become history. The only person whom I can and should control is myself. I must focus on what I can do in a situation and how can contribute. I must learn from my failure and failure of others. Life is a game of continuous learning. So I am always open to learn and accept feedback from all sources.
Focus on action not results
I try and pay attention to the process and actions. I believe if we focus on right process and actions we are more than likely to get the results we desire. However, results are not guaranteed, just like anything else in life. But process can be improved continuously to make subsequent efforts more likely to succeed. Results depend on many factors and I am likely to miss taking all into account, besides many of the factors may be completely out of my control. So irrespective of results, I must not be unhappy and must treat unfavourable result as an experience to learn from.
Positives far exceed negatives
Our natural tendency of our mind is to notice negatives frequently and these negatives stay in our memory for a long period. I have learnt to make a note and recognise positives as they happen. It required many years of practice and conscious effort but now it is happening. Life is full of positives all around, we just need to be mindful to notice and appreciate. We tend to take what comes to us without noticing, without being grateful and just taking it as granted. I maintain a practice of making a note in my mobile phone all that made me smile and feel good, every other day. We do tend to forget simple happy events quite fast but remember negative events for fairly long. In a day my objective is to notice positives at least 3 times more than negatives. In many ways all of us are privileged, but we fail to notice and be grateful.
Generate happiness hormones
It’s scientifically proven that certain activities and actions create positive hormones like Endorphines, Oxytocins and Dopamines. I did not know connection with modern science but have been aware of the positivity from these actions. First of them is regular exercise and laughter. I ensure a daily routine of physical exercises and participate in sharing jokes and laughter with friends and family. Life is never to be taken too seriously, one must enjoy and laugh as many time as one can in a day.
Humility, Gratitude and Giving are very powerful ways of generating positive hormones and happiness. I keep doing random acts of kindness and express gratitude as often as I can for all the good things happening around me , all the time. More I notice and express gratitude the more I feel positive. Bringing happiness to others by helping others is a huge multiplier for my happiness. I try and be kind to all and provide support to all my stakeholders in life. I am grateful for all that the life is giving me.