The Pursuit of Happiness…

Each and every one of us has at some point in their lives wondered about the purpose of life. The purpose of life is the ultimate reason of our existence… Like an actor who walks up on stage and in their time on the stage they work towards providing their bit of substance to the play. They carefully thread the paths set by the playwright and in the few moments they appear achieve a certain predefined goal.

William Shakespeare famously once wrote “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players“… Shakespeare in his time must have also wondered about his purpose of life and during one of his epiphanies must have believed that he was closer to his purpose than ever.

But what if there is no purpose? What if life is what we truly make of it… Then what is the drive for existence? I believe the real drive for existence is the “pursuit of happiness”

When we look at life and look at the thousands of decisions we have made over our lifetime, what becomes clear is that each and every one of those decisions were made with the expectation that, that particular moment would lead to happiness.

Its easy to look at obvious decisions like going to a movie, visiting a place, meeting up with friends, but even painful choices like lying to someone or breaking a insignificant law had in its core an expectation that things would become in some way better for you. It is this pursuit that we make unconsciously, that shapes the life we have and happiness we eventually get…

What is truly amazing is that we hardly ever discuss happiness or look at ways to seek it in its purest form. Most of our lives are spent trying to indirectly find happiness. The thought that I shall do X task and it will lead to Y situation which will make me happy is so deeply embedded in our minds that we hardly ever wonder what it is to be happy.

It was during a reunion with a few of my ex-colleagues a couple of days ago that I realized that happiness involves being truly comfortable in the moment. As I sat and talked the evening away with my old friends I realized that I was very happy with myself and the moment. Despite knowing at the same moment that my team whom i closely followed had fared badly (an event that would almost always have me sporting a frown). I wondered out loud and asked a friend why it wasn’t that sad or disappointing that our team lost that evening. He simply said, “I am just happy I am here, other than that nothing else matters”.

Thats when I realized it, each one of us in this quest of happiness have become wary of what it is that will disappoint us. We try our best to avoid it but along the way we decide to gamble our happiness for an event. We hope that at the end of the event we will become a happier person and decided to throw in our valuable attention as the wager.

Each and every moment of our lives we are gambling our worries and peace of mind, all for that moment of ecstasy that we hope will last forever.

Today I stood in the middle of a field and watched the sunset… my work needed me to be present at the place at that point of time and as I watched the orange ball of fire slowly descend into the horizon, the dark rain bearing clouds moved in to take its place. The temperature dropped suddenly by a few degrees and soon there was a cool breeze blowing, I stood silently and tried my best to experience the moment that surrounded me. In that moment I was truly happy…

There is a school of philosophy that believes that “you get hurt only by the ones you truly love”. In a sense this is the very same concept of investing an expectation and being let down. One approach of happiness would be to give up investing… then you wont be let down by anyone or anything… but that would mean you should never love again.

But there is an alternative way, I have realized that we must choose to always look at the big picture. Search for things that will make you happy no matter what, maybe its reading or writing, maybe its walking in the evenings or talking to someone that inspires you, maybe its listening to your favorite music or running in the morning, maybe its dancing in the privacy of your room or talking to a baby… What ever it is figure out what it is that exhilarates you. Make that list as long and as diverse as possible… Then just make sure that you search of opportunities to do the things on that list.

Its really that simple, life will give you so many opportunities to do the things that truly make you happy. And when you get an opportunity grab it… don’t think twice…

What I have realized from life is that each and every one of us is somehow, for good or worse hardwired to seek happiness in the traditional way. We are always looking at investing our thoughts and attention at something/someone in the hope that it will make us happy, but the fact is there is already so much beauty in the world and yourself to find happiness. Considering every single decision we made was weighed on the scale of happiness, why walk away from a small treasure of happiness?

  • Mehul

    Ingenious. You write beautiful. :)