Being happy is probably one of the highest if not THE highest priority of every human being. But what does happiness really mean? I’m sure that each of us have contrasting meanings of happiness. I can guarantee that if I go to a shopping centre today and ask a hundred people about their idea of happiness, I would probably be given at least 80 different answers, and I’d probably come home even more confused.
When I speak to religious people, the usual response that I get is that happiness is “being in the presence of the Lord”. Some would say “I can only be happy when I die and go to Heaven”. When speaking to parents, their reponses are: “I’ll be happy when I see my child graduate in college”; “…just knowing that my child is not a drug addict makes me happy” or “…to see my child succeed in life and earn more than me”. Children too have different ideas of what happiness is. To some, it’s getting that new toy/celphone/laptop/clothes, whilst others think that a day off school is the greatest gift they could ever have.
Before you start ranking the things that would make you happy the most from the list above, you should note that some people can be made happiest by the simplest of things. But what happens after you achieve or do that something that you’ve always wished for? Would you stop there? Apart from the religious example above, most of them are achievable in 20-30 years the most. So what happens then? When you see your kid graduate, you’d be happy for a couple of months and then you’d wish for another thing. When a kid gets that new gizmo, he’d wish for another one, and another one. When you land that dream job, you’d wish for a higher pay, a promotion, early retirement and so forth, right?
While there is nothing wrong with happiness, albeit it being temporary, people can never stay happy forever. We always find an area in our lives that needs fixing. We always look for holes, we always compare and we always dream and ask for more. I am not condemning those who dream big. In fact I always advise others to aim high. What I want though, is for people to improve and value their psychological resiliency- the ability to cope with stress and the capacity to bounce back from misfortunes.
In most people’s lives, happiness and success are outweighed by failures and struggles. If you have the ability to bounce back from the lowest of lows, only you can know how far you’d go!