By VIGNESWARAN KANNAN
In this materialistic world, we are often swept into the sea of busyness in the pursuit for happiness. Each one of us is working towards achieving happiness in every aspect of life. All our actions are propelled towards attaining some form of happiness.
Someone once told me that the final expectation of every activity is directed towards attaining happiness as the end result. However, many have forgotten that happiness is a journey and not a destination. If you can’t be happy in this moment, it will be difficult for you later.
Life is but a fleeting moment
I recall an incident which happened at a goal-setting workshop conducted by a renowned psychologist which I attended some time ago.
During one of the sessions, there was an activity where all the participants were asked to write down their future goals and their action plans to achieve these objectives.
One of the participants who was an insurance agent drafted a unique goal and an action plan. His goal was to be a multimillionaire in 10 years’ time.
His action plan was to focus on work during that period. He will not spend time with his family as he will work from 8am to 10pm daily. He will not spend time with his friends or go on vacations.
He was confident about entering the “happy” state after 10 years as he would be a multimillionaire by that time. He would then happily spend his time with his family, friends and travel the world.
Upon reading his statement, the psychologist said this, “Please give me an assurance that you will live up to 10 years from now.” The participant was left dumbfounded.
Are we delaying our happiness?
There are many of us who are like that participant. One of my friends said she will not be happy until she obtains her doctorate. Another friend does not attend family functions as he is busy achieving his first million and told me that he has no time for happiness now.
The truth is there is no guarantee that we will live another day or even the next hour. That’s how mysterious life is.
The ultimate truth in the psychology of happiness is that happiness obtained from material elements is temporary including monetary gains. This also applies to our future dreams, needs and wants.
Happiness from material gains is temporary
You can just look back at your past happiness. You might have worked so hard to achieve a particular dream to be happy but once you have achieved it, the strength of the happiness fades away over time or a new desire crops up and you start chasing after it.
Happiness gained from material elements will never last. It has a temporary effect and many of us are unaware of this undeniable truth.
The only way to achieve or touch the radiating joy in us is by practising non-materialistic activities that will contribute to our everlasting internal joy.
That internal joy can be achieved in various ways. For some, it’s through prayers and meditation that allows one to be content with their inner self. For some, it is social service and for some its through random acts of kindness. Whatever our choices are, when we reach the climax of happiness, we can feel peace and contentment.
A balancing act
It is not wrong to work towards achieving the right material dreams. Life is, after all, about balancing the material and non-material joy. But one must learn to be happy in this very moment and spend time to harness other elements of joy which includes self-internalisation, appreciation of things and nature, relationships and a healthy body and mind among other things.