Wednesday, 2 May 2012
In modern life, as in Greek tragedies, should we be astonished that many successful people aren't happy people? In case you haven't noticed, conventional success is much easier to attain than happiness. There are hundreds of thousands of neurotics who are successful - but there are no happy ones!
So how do you create happiness if you are successful and not happy? First, don't desperately pursue happiness. Happiness, it seems, doesn't like people who are desperate for it. Slow down in your pursuit of happiness and it's more likely to catch up with you. The more you search for happiness, through success or otherwise, the more it will seem to elude you. You can't achieve happiness by buying it or continually striving to achieve it.
Paradoxically, if your primary goal in life is to be happy, happiness will always be beyond your grasp. "The search for happiness ," Eric Hoffer declared, "is one of the chief sources of unhappiness ," Victor Frankel echoed those remarks when he wrote, "It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness." And Edith Wharton agreed by stating, "If only we'd stop trying to be happy we'd have a pretty good time."
Instead of pursuing happiness, start living life according to the way things are instead of the way they should be. Much unhappiness is caused by the belief that life should be different from what it actually is Accepting reality for what it is will liberate you from the imprisonment of what ought to be.
Don't be dismayed when the world hasn't brought you what you want. For many of the things that you have been denied the universe has brought you something better. It is your duty to discover what it is. Surprisingly, a happy life isn't the absence of unhappiness. Unhappiness will sneak into your life whether you want it or not. So will happiness. What you choose to do with either is up to you.
When happiness forgets about you, see what treasures you can find in your unhappiness. It won't be long before happiness remembers who you are, and sneaks back into your life again. Keep in mind that ten times as many good things happen to you as bad things. This is a good reason to spend ten times as much time ranting and raving about the wonder of life as you do complaining about it.
In your search for Shangri-Ia, don't overlook the possibility that paradise may be where you are right now. Everyone seems to want to be somewhere they aren't. Choose to be where you are right now and you will be happier than 90 percent of humankind.
Just as important, why waste so much time, energy, and money trying to buy the biggest house that your credit rating will allow? Truth be told, a small house can hold as much happiness as a large one. Sometimes, in fact, it will hold even more!
If you want to be happier, try going with the flow of life a little more. Let things happen naturally instead of always trying to make things happen. It's always easier to ride a horse in the direction it's going. In other words, be the source of happiness instead of looking for it. You don't have to pursue happiness if that is where you are coming from.
All told, happiness is a mode of traveling and not the destination. Happiness is a product of achieving goals, but not a goal in itself. Zen masters tell us that we corrupt the beauty o f living by making happiness the goal. They say happiness is the practice of living in the moment; it's in everything we do. Learn how to live and to be happy one day at a time - and you will have mastered how to live happily ever after.