Shortcut to happiness

It is a universal truth that man strives to experience happiness all his life. The search for happiness is the one common goal that all men seek and it never ends in a life time. Men go through life hankering after this wonderful human feeling, enduring many hardships in the process.

It is ironical then that most of us should go through life with little success at being in this state of happiness. In trying to interpret the reasons for the gap in the quest to happiness and its actual attainment, several profound truths have emerged. The consensus by the experts is that, “Happiness is like a butterfly.  The more you chase it, the more it will elude you. But if you turn your attention to other things, it comes and softly sits on your shoulder.”

The key factor in achieving happiness, therefore, is to shed the obsession that is in us to chase happiness. The truth is that happiness can never be obtained this way. Rather, it must be understood that happiness is the byproduct that is generated when the process of living a ‘good life’ is set in motion.

In this context, it is important to also understand that it is a thin line that separates living ‘a good life’ from living ‘the good life’. Living ‘the good life’ is all about the happiness that there is in enjoying worldly and material pleasures. While this kind of happiness is required to some extent, its preoccupation makes life toxic and needs to be consciously curtailed. Chasing the good life, spending every waking hour of the day in a selfish craving for it and compromising moral values for its attainment are to be avoided like the plague. For, living the good life can never bring real happiness.

It is a proved theory that when one material need is satisfied, another crops up and there is this nagging feeling of permanent inadequacy.

 On the other hand, living a good life, which comes from following some core values such as integrity, loyalty, and compassion, breeds lasting and real happiness.
Happiness thus is not a state to arrive at, rather it is a manner of travelling.

Johann Wolfgang, a German writer, lists these nine essentials as a short-cut to happiness: “Health enough to make work a pleasure, wealth enough to support your needs, strength enough to battle with difficulties and overcome them; grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them; patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished; charity enough to see some good in your neighbour; love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others; faith enough to make real the things of God and hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.”

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