So, as I mentioned in the last blogpost, How does Wellbeing affect Happiness?, we need to tweak our usual approach to life a bit in order to put our happiness first.
We have been taught right from childhood to set sky-high goals and go after achieving them with relentless pursuit. Then, when we achieve the goal, we can relax at the summit and be happy. Actually, life doesn’t work this way. Unfortunately, we need to unlearn this behavior and replace this with a better formula. Now, I share my three step formula for happiness wherever you are and be successful in whatever you do.
First, learn to enjoy whatever you have today. Second, feel free to be ambitious and set high goals for yourself and go for them. Third, work hard and stop being anxious about achieving those goals. Let’s talk about these one by one:
Learning to enjoy what you have
Somehow this doesn’t seem to be a part of our nature. Even a toddler throws away a toy after playing with it for a while and starts hankering for a new one. Learn this habit of enjoying whatever you have if you want to attain happiness. Feel free to use whatever method you wish. I try to be thankful for what I have at least twice a day. Set a reminder in your thousand-dollar phone for this. Do this consciously till it becomes a habit. Going over all the positives that I have or counting my blessings give me a fresh lease of life multiple times in a day. Mindfulness or being in the present is another powerful process as our peace is directly linked to our ability to be in present. Neither thinking about what happened nor taking stress for things to come. Once, two Buddhist monks were starting to cross a river that was kind of flooding. There was a lady waiting to cross the river but could not dare to enter the rough waters. One of the monks lifted the lady in his arms and crossed the river. He put her down at the other bank and proceeded to his hermitage with the other monk. The other monk was a bit rattled with this action of his friend as monks are not allowed to touch women. Next day, he asked his friend,’ How could you lift that woman when you are forbidden from touching women?’. The first monk answered,’ I put her down at the river-bank, why are you still carrying her?’.
Be ambitious. Set high and balanced goals.
Unless, you are a hermit or a sanyasin, it is natural that you wish to achieve something in life. Start maintaining a dream book. Write all that you desire or wish to achieve in as much detail as possible. Shortlist your immediate priorities, list action points and work on them with all dedication. The comprehensive wish-list framework described in my book can help you with this. There are many other books that discuss goal setting in detail, for example, Magic of Thinking Big. We feel that goal setting is a corporate exercise whereas we need it most in our personal lives. The corporate goals are just a sub-set of our whole goals’ list. It is important to have a balanced set of goals across all aspects of our life. Many top corporate executives say,’ It’s lonely at the top.’ This is because they neglected everything else in life to achieve just one goal. For me, it is essential to keep life balanced and not get swayed by only one aspect. Granted that periodically I become focused on one particular goal but then I try to balance it out as soon as possible. Completing my book was one such desire and I postponed few other things to get it completed and published. Now, I blog regularly but it is not at the expense of anything else. Settings balanced goals is a great step towards success which ultimately leads to happiness.
Work hard and stop being anxious about achieving the goals
A popular self-help film tells us,’ Whatever the mind of a man can conceive, it can achieve’. I agree with this statement with a caveat. The path from conceiving to achieving goes over the bridge of action. If you don’t take action, you can conceive whatever you wish, it will remain in your mind barring a few very lucky people. People who conceive dreams and don’t take action, fall into the trap of stress and tension. And that’s where the happiness ends. Little bit of anxiety over achieving our goals is good and that’s what causes us to progress. That’s good stress. It pushes us to be cautious and prepare well for upcoming challenges. The difficulty arises when the good stress or optimum stress starts getting converted to high level of stress that lasts most of the day. It reaches a point where even sleep cannot give us relief from the stress.
In fact, we substitute hard work with tension. We generally neglect our diet and wellbeing when we are anxious, stressed or tensed. This lasting stress or tension not only makes us feel wretched but gives rise to a large variety of lifestyle diseases. These are chronic in nature, i.e., once you have them, there is no looking back. You depend on the pills for whole of your life.
Some of the apparent stress relievers like booze and drugs, though numbing for a little while, actually cause more stress.
This tension filled life causes us to neglect our body, mind and soul even more. Thus the vicious cycle continues. Meanwhile, the medicines prescribed for managing the lifestyle conditions take a firm grip on your life.
That is where the importance of taking care of our wellbeing before anything else comes into picture. As I explained in my last blogpost, keeping aside some time for yourself and working on your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing can do wonders to the rest of your life. You dream bigger, work harder and achieve more while relishing what you already got. Do read my previous blogpost at this point.
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A seeker and explorer in the quest for lasting happiness, health and well-being. An MBA from XLRI Jamshedpur and a Mechanical Engineer from IIT Delhi. Has been a senior banker with large global banks like Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and ANZ Bank. Working in these demanding global institutions with a gruelling schedule and plenty of business travel. Was fortunate to realise the importance of health and wellbeing early on. Learnt and practiced many wellbeing tools and techniques to focus on his own well-being while balancing the demands of a high-profile career and a lovely family.