Below is a list of random things that make me truly (read: sincerely) happy and therefore i am grateful for when i encounter them (notice i did not write winning the lottery and i will go into that later). My intent in writing this list is to remind myself of what’s really important in my life and by sharing it, I hope to remind others of what could be really important in their own lives. For yourself, probably the best use of this list as your own self reminder would be to: a - leave the things that make you happy, b - delete the ones that don’t and c - add the ones i did not mention but that would make you truly happy. At the time of writing this note (new year’s day 2010), i am indeed going through an intense self-questioning period and trying to find my Dharma or real purpose / passion in life and hence my need to start observing my actions and choices - and the feelings / emotions they evoke - to make sure i am “on the right track”; I like to think that i am but i have sensed lately that my satisfaction level appears to be a tad below what should correspond to my level of achievements (not that these are that many or that high, mind you, but simply because they are enough to make any normal being at least happy if not necessarily fully self-realized).
The list is also intended to serve as a constant reminder of things i need to be grateful for and since this should be a dynamic document that can be updated, modified and improved, as circumstances and / or our perception of them change, i encourage you to comment and suggest at will.
Here it goes:
- watching my kids play, laugh & enjoy life
- watching my kids learn new stuff (their first time reading or first swim - wow!)
- realizing that i have helped my kids learn or achieve something
- love; in any way, shape or form (and that includes making it…)
- to see my wife happy
- having a fulfilling / meaningful career, feeling that you are part of something unique & extraordinary (and that involves both the type of activity as well as people i do it with and how i am serving others through it)
- playing Tennis, running, training
- reading a good (usually in some way enlightening) book
- going to the beach
- the Caribbean islands
- the sea
- high achieving - this is a tough one to define but i will try: when i was growing up, as an athlete high achieving was for instance the first time i could slam dunk a basketball, then the first winning a of a championship; in my academic life it was getting my MBA, in my professional life it was becoming the head of Latinamerica for the firm i work for, and so on… but as you can see, all rather humble achievements since there is no Nobel prize there or anything like that
- friday afternoons & saturdays
- getting presents
- leisure traveling
- helping people
- spending quality time with good friends (like a nice dinner out with good friends)
- watching a good movie (Cohen brothers anyone?)
- listening to the music that i love
As you can see, most of these seem like rather simple and achievable things; winning the lottery would certainly make anyone temporarily happy but it has been demonstrated (a Harvard Extension School research by I. Cunha is just one example), that one has a certain predisposition towards happiness and some specific and / or dramatic events can swing you one way or another (you win the lottery you suddenly become utterly happy or God forbid a loved one dies and you suddenly become utterly sad), but a year orso later you go back to your old self regularly happy or regularly unhappy. So the things i mentioned before are events that most of us can encounter (specially Friday afternoons…) and if we become intensely aware and mindful about this, it could be the foundation of our true happiness; Wayne Dyer always says: “there is no way to happiness, happiness IS the way”. So the trick could be: a - pursuing these type of rather simple yet fulfilling moments and then b - being intensely aware in order to enjoy them to their fullest, be able to prolong them and share the feeling with our loved ones.
In his study, Cunhais notes that happiness does not depend on environmental or external variables but rather on internal variables such us Self-Knowledge, Emotional Intelligence, Reaction, Choice and Attitudes - it’s about putting effort, passion and energy on all the things that make sense in our lives, he adds.
So here goes what I would describe as the Key Happiness Factors:
a - control your thoughts - we are what we think about so we need to chose our thoughts carefully
b - find and follow your Dharma or purpose in life (with intensity and passion)
c - pursue knowledge - improve continuously as a human been
e - serve others altruistically (with compassion and unconditional love)
f - awareness and mindfulness - live the present and enjoy the journey
g - Gratitude & forgiveness - be grateful for all that you have, for love and for beauty and see guiltlessness all around you
h - develop good virtues - they raise your consciousness and help you live a better life
Cheers and comments welcome.