You can never get happiness, so there’s no point chasing it. You can only be happy!
I have been invited to speak at a forum of entrepreneurs belonging to a startup ecosystem this afternoon. And the theme given to me is “Pursuit of Happiness”. I smiled when I saw the mail from one of the event’s anchors, a young man who’s full of Life and enthusiasm. I wrote back to him seeking a significant modification in the theme. I said that “Help Yourself To Happiness” would be not just appropriate but true too.
Indeed. The truth is that happiness cannot be pursued. It is not a goal. It is not a destination. Happiness is who you are when you accept what is. Simply, you are the happiness you seek.
The reason why people pursue happiness is because they postpone it. Happiness is available 24×7, and is free, for everyone, uniformly. To be happy you must just drop everything – and everyone – that makes you unhappy. Simple. But you don’t do that. Instead you get into a mental rut saying you will be happy if and when certain expectations are fulfilled. I will be happy if I get a job of my choice. I will be happy when I make more money. I will be happy if can be cancer-free. I will be happy when I meet Ms.Right. And so on and on, you go on postponing happiness. The problem with postponing happiness is that a. you are losing precious time here because your Life is a limited period offer and b. you are wasting all that time being unhappy!
Which is why I always say, help yourself to happiness. By simply being available to whatever is, being present in the moment, accepting what is and moving on with what is. Happiness is not elusive. You are. It is only because you are not present in the here and now that you are unhappy. And so you are searching and seeking. Will Smith and the makers of The Pursuit of Happyness (2006) did the idea of happiness a huge disservice by giving the movie that name. Undoubtedly, it’s an awesome movie. But I wish they had called it The Reward of Happyness – which is what the movie is really about. Surely, there are huge rewards of being happy: you see abundance everywhere, you are forever celebrating Life and you are enjoying the journey without getting keyed up about when and where you will arrive!
So, from what I have learnt from Life, I would simply say, stop the search, drop the pursuit. Simply be. Be with what is, be who you are. And you will not just be happy, you will live happily ever after too, no matter what your circumstances are.