What Makes us Happy?
There are several moments in my day-to-day life that I feel at a loss to think of things that make me happy, or things that I think if I did, would make me happy. The closest that I get to discovering for myself things that would make me immensely happy are things like being able to be close to my loved and dear ones, have some money to able to do things I’d like to do so that I do not have to think hard about where am I going to get the money to do those things from, to be able to do whatever I feel I am driven to do or simply put to be able to do something I have a passion for and I am good at.
But on a second thought, would getting all the three things that I pointed out above make me happy when I have them? I do not think so, I might rather be wishing for more things at that point of time to make me happy. It is a perpetual cycle.
All these thoughts made me want to look for articles,material and videos, whatever I could get my hands on to find out more on the subject of happiness and what made other people happy. Just then I came across a “Ted Talks” video by Dan Gilbert: Talking about the fact that human beings can create what he termed as synthetic happiness.
According to studies, (watch the video) we are going to be happier(synthetically) with what we have if what we have was given to us not by choice but something that we did not have any control over. If you are asked to choose between two things and you are told once chosen you are never going to be able to change the, you would be happier with what you have, than if you were given a choice.
I guess that is the reason most of us seem to think we were much happier in our childhood because we never had to make choices for ourselves. Now that we are all into our adult lives we feel at a loss when we have to make choices, choosing things that make us happy. We might wonder a lot of times if we are in the right job, in the right place, with the right company, in the right relationship and feel unhappy because we think we have options to make our choices and we perpetually struggle to chase what we think might get us happiness, losing track of actual things that add value to our lives.
I wonder if all of us would be much happier if we had this belief deeply embedded in our brain that whatever is happening with us and our lives, irrespective of the choices that we make, is not in our hands. Thinking of that makes me think that the ‘Bagvad Gita’ might actually right in saying that we should have our faith in “Whatever happens, happens for good”. I guess our forefathers were already there thousands of years ago, where science is only getting us now.
Even though I do not get shivers of excitement writing this post, I did not get them while watching Dan’s video but probably this is what true happiness is, I love writing and I just did that and this is supposed to be my happy moment but there is no drum roll happening, there are no fireworks happening right now. All that’s happened is I feel creative and productive right now, doing something that I like to do- write. My tranquil happy time is passing me by and yet I wonder why do I not feel that gush of excitement, maybe the very idea of happiness that we have gotten impressed on our brains over the years, is a false one.