It’s with a degree of wonderment that I find myself continually retelling people that they only have one life, so make the most of it!
But why do we need to be reminded? Is it a failure to accept that we don’t get another chance to ‘do it right’, as clearly there is no ‘next time’! Change is required now if you’re not happy with yourself and ultimately there is only one person who can do something about it; it’s your choice!
Most of us have the ability to make choices to ‘change’, to take measures that influence positive outcomes, acknowledging that it may involve a degree of risk. It’s a personal decision. So is the ‘risk’ the barrier to change or the excuse for inaction when it comes to our happiness? Don’t capitulate, have a crack!
The realisation of this fact at an early age offers young individuals a decisive advantage, ‘time’ and an understanding of ‘purpose and destiny’. Plan for the personal ‘contentment outcomes’ you desire and it will make ‘living with yourself’ a lot healthier and happier.
Too many people spend an inordinate amount of time concerned about what insignificant others say, when in reality it matters for absolutely nothing. Don’t do it, don’t engage, it’s a futile distraction. What really matters is what you think about yourself, be focused from within, test your personal honesty because in the final analysis, happiness within is derived from how well you treat others in the jungle that represents your world.
Happiness is a reaction to knowing that you have taken full advantage of the limited opportunities that present themselves, that you have done your best given the constraints of your environment, while continuing to strive for personal betterment for yourself and those who exist in your sphere of influence.
In my time I have dealt with people from all walks of life, rich and poor, young and old, Jews and gentiles, educated and illiterate, black and white, disadvantaged, ‘working class’ and privileged, from the very shady to the disarmingly honest, but there was no obvious trend when it came to happiness.
Those ‘with’ are more often than not miserable, desperate to preserve and protect their gains, while those ‘without’ are fighting for a greater or fairer share of that pie, often based on unfounded, irrational or selective benchmarks, whether earned or demanded. At the end of the day I gained no measurable insight based on background, as to why one may be happier than another.
Irrespective of the politics of whether social injustice is a consequence of ‘a lack of opportunity for the disenfranchised’; I found that their overall happiness compared to those with ‘inherited inter-generational entitlement’ or ‘earned privileged positions’ had no correlation. In fact my observation was that irrespective of the social demography, across the board, the prosperous seemed more likely to fade away relatively unhappy and dissatisfied with their legacy.
It seemed that the affluent under-achievers were the most inconsequential, the message being pursue what you love, not dislike. Ultimately happiness remains a matter of individual choice. Invest, because the life-long return will compound over time and will be repaid in spades to you, your family and friends.
The truth is that personal happiness is a conscious choice made in every moment, exempt from external influence. It’s an attitude cultivated from within, it’s a decision that is completely up to you and it’s contagious if you choose to participate.
What I know is that we ‘get back what we give’. If you are a miserable, insignificant, faceless internet troll trading in loathing, anger and aggravation, then there is little doubt that you will ever achieve a base level of personal contentment. So why engage with these angry, weak bullies who facilitate grief and outrage. If you want to be influenced by external factors, why choose these faceless cowards who hide in this medium? Why engage at all?
The fact is that ‘happiness’ is the reward for those individuals who emulate and transmit a positive, decent, honest and humane aura, those who do not need to engage with pathetic predators who stalk the media and social networks trading in misery, vitriol and hatred.
If the meaning of life pertains to the ‘significance of living’ or ‘existence in general’ then clearly it is not about colour, creed or race, health, wealth, class or personal status. Simply being a nice person can disseminate happiness around you and that seems like a reasonable way to enrich the quality of your living, irrespective of your circumstances, and that can add real positive meaning and purpose to all the lives you influence.
8 August 2018
Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from your own actions. Dalai Lama XIV