Monday, 9 May 2016

Cycle of Happiness

Cycle of Happiness

Before we find out what is the cycle of Happiness, it is very important to understand what is happiness. Happiness is a very subjective term that means different things to different people. The biggest challenge is to define happiness. Although there are many definitions given by different religions, philosophers, spiritual leaders, economists and now science as well. All of these definitions are suited to some set of societies, people or mindsets but it is still very difficult to find a definition that suits everyone. The closest I could find is Happiness is Pleasure + Purpose. Pleasure in this definition is defined as positive emotions and positive experiences. Although my own work with people shows that it is not just pleasure (positive emotions and experiences) and purpose that gives people happiness but many a times pain (negative emotions) and purpose also gives them happiness. For example, running a marathon need lot of preparation. Most of these preparations are not positive experiences but lot of pain. No matter how late you sleep, you need to get up early in the morning and you won’t find a marathon runner complaining about it. No matter whether you are a professional or amateur, last few miles are always painful and need you to break all your limits. While going through those last miles, people feel all kind of negative emotions like frustration, stress, anger and so on. Still they keep running and touch the end line because of the purpose they associate with it. So if we closely look at it, it is not pleasure or pain but purpose that gives people happiness. 

Let us look at purpose little more closely and see what do we mean by purpose. Purpose is nothing but meaningfulness. Whenever people associate empowering meaning with something, it starts to mean a lot to them. They start seeing purpose in doing this and this purpose keep on driving them. There are lots of things to ponder about purpose. 

The first question that arises in our mind is how do we create purpose? Let us look at this with a small story. Once a researcher thought of studying people who are doing physical labor work. He reached out a mason and asked him, do you enjoy your work? Mason replied, what is there to enjoy? I am coming here from last 10 years and building this wall. Everyday, I keep on putting bricks and putting cement on it. Same routine boring work, evening I go back home. There is nothing to enjoy. 

Researcher went to another masons and almost everyone gave same reply. Researcher got disappointed and as soon as he was to leave that place, he saw a mason enjoying, singing and doing the same work. He went to that mason and asked, do you enjoy your work? Mason replied, of course I love it. Researcher asked him, what is that you enjoy the most? Mason said, I am building this beautiful church wall where people will come and pray. I am serving the society in a big way. This is the best part of my work.

Now if we study the story closely, we will see that all the masons doing the same work but the one that found a purpose in doing this was the only one enjoying. Now whether that purpose was right or wrong, true of false, positive or negative, big or small it is not important. What is important about a purpose is whether it empowers you or not. If it empowers, it is worth pursuing that. 

So one thing we are sure that purpose is not a universal truth but a relative truth (although relative truth is not truth but a lie but let’s not call it a lie ). It is different for different people but the question how it is formed is still not answered. We need to dig it little more deeply. 

Let us look at the mason again. How the mason who was enjoying his work formed so empowering purpose? So some possibilities are that person who hired him told him that we are building a church here and you need to build a wall here. Well, if this is the case then why not other masons got the same purpose. This is where your personal beliefs, experiences and culture come in to picture. There is a possibility that this mason come with a belief system that building a church is a service to society because his mother told him so (oh gosh!) or he was supported by church when he was growing up. There are hundreds of possibilities and all of these sounds very silly and impractical but these all start making sense when you start looking at your own life. 

Questions for you:
1. Pick up some of the things you enjoy doing the most. 
2. What are your beliefs and purpose about those activities? 
3. Where did you pick up those beliefs and purpose? Of course, you formed it but from where did you learn that it is good? 
4. Did your friends, family, Media, some celebrity told you? 
5. Do you have any personal experience related to that, which formed such belief? 

Unfortunately, most of us are not aware of this. So most of the purposes in our life are unconsciously created and whenever anything is created unconsciously, we don’t have power over it. All the results are just accidental. So whether our purpose is giving us results or not giving us result, it is accidental. Our happiness is majorly dependent on the purpose and our purpose is set by accident. So happiness in our life is accidental. It is not in our control. When it comes, we take credit for this but when it leaves and unhappiness come, we blame others. This is the cycle of our happiness. Now the time is to break this cycle. So how do we break this cycle?

Let us hear some people who got a chance to break their cycle and set it by choice.

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