In any context, there is always a reason to be grateful and an opportunity to be useful.
A listener of my podcasts got back to me yesterday saying that my story was pretty similar to his. He said that it is unbelievable that he could relate to some of my experiences and learnings as his own. I told him that Life happens to all of us differently, but the lessons we can glean from our experiences are pretty similar. I said: “Life is like ice cream – the main recipe is the same, but many flavors are possible! I am happy that I am useful in my own small way.”
When going through Life it is important to realize that you are not being subjected to any special treatment. Neither are you ‘lucky’ nor are you ‘unlucky’. So let’s stop trying to make meaning out of Life. The truth is you can’t. Life is an inscrutable experience; it has a mind of its own, an agenda of its own and has a pace of its own. So, you will find it dealing you a hard blow when you least expect it or it will give you a bounty when you have completely lost all hope. When we label Life as “terrible, a pain, agonizing” in the first instance, or, when we call it, “benevolent, fortunate, gracious” in the second one, we are trying to make meaning out of it. Either meaning will disappoint.
Life is like water in your palm. It is not going to be there forever, and definitely not in the same way that it once was. So, the only way to make Life meaningful is to do something that makes you happy each day. Choose happiness over worry or sorrow in each moment. Even in the toughest of situations, you will find a reason to smile, to be thankful for and an opportunity to be useful. Choose that moment to hang in that, to last another day!
This is how Vaani and I have already lasted almost 10 years through our nightmarish bankruptcy. (Read more here: Fall Like A Rose Petal.) We are often asked why is it that we curate non-commercial, public events that Inspire Happiness. Or people want to know how do I find the time to write this Blog daily? And I always tell them that there’s a big difference between wanting to be successful and being useful. Our learning has been that we may not often be successful – in a purely worldly sense – in getting what we want. But we can always be useful. Even in the gravest of circumstances, there is an opportunity you have to be useful to those around you or to learn from people and events around you. This is why we do so much in the realm of Inspiring Happiness. We have been through so many experiences that we find it very humbling and purposeful to share our learnings with those that have the time to pause and reflect. Besides, I find myself in a constant student mode learning from all those people that I connect with daily – whether it is at the public events we curate or with the readers of my Blog or listeners of my podcasts or with people who follow my newspaper column The Happiness Road or those who connect with me on social media. Everyone you meet is teaching you something, I have realized, provided you bring a learner’s attitude to the context.
Being useful, consistently, on a daily basis, is a surefire way to postpone worrying. Vaani and I have learnt to do this very well. You too can learn to do this. Once you have learnt this art, which is to be happy despite your circumstances, you can then make your Life meaningful, instead of trying to understand if Life means anything at all. If you don’t find any meaning in your Life, to your Life, it’s only because you have not exercised the option to be happy or you have not reached out to touch another Life, to be useful.
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