How to stay happy no matter what you lost: The path to happiness

HAPPINESS AMIDST DEPRIVATION

The path to attaining stable happiness by overcoming the shackles of deprivation.

BEING DEPRIVED - What it means

What it means to lose

Each and every one of us has had moments of sadness and misery due to being deprived of what we desire. When you are in want or need of something material, tangible or otherwise,   attaching our happiness to the item /thing which you desire is a human habit which is universal and common. Hence, if one can develop their minds to a level where they do not depend on external items/things and rely on   internal resources to achieve happiness and peace of mind, such human beings will represent the enviable minority who enjoy lasting happiness through successful living.

Happiness through success , despite deprivation

Abraham Lincon

If you browse through the pages of history, you will come across many a story of how the globally acclaimed human beings have beaten all odds to reach the pinnacle of success. It is common knowledge that some kids who grow up in poverty ,sometimes being deprived even of the basic necessities  in life, have reached incredible heights in their careers and lives. Let us look at some examples to understand this phenomenon.

  1. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of United States, was a poor farmer’s son born in a log cabin.

  2. Englebert Humperdink(George Dorsey), a world renowned all time favorite singer who sold records, worth USD 150 million ,slept in public toilets as he could not even afford a cheap hotel room when travelling across England performing his music.

  3. Shania Twain a world acclaimed female vocalist ,who has sold records worth over USD 100 million hails from a very poor family ,and her early childhood with her abusive father, was indeed a nightmare. She started singing in bars at the age of eight to payoff household expenses.

  4. Jack MA, the richest man in China whose net worth is  over 35 billion USD, is  a man who has been rejected by 30 job interviews.

  5. Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC started his business at the age of 65 and died at the age of 85 as a self-made billionaire.

How to train your mind to be happy against all odds

1. Distinguish between needs and wants

How to control Desires - Always need more and more

If you analyze carefully, most of the things we crave for and cling to, are not needs. They are merely wants which are fueled by the society we live in. For instance, a car is not an absolute necessity(NEED)  to a person who lives close to a bus station, but he/she will crave for it to gain social acceptance. People buy clothes  not only to satisfy the basic need to cover their bodies  but to satiate the mere WANT to maintain standards of fashion. Therefore, the first principle is, one should know to draw a fine line between needs and wants. The best things ( needs) in life such as clean fresh air, love, contentment, kindness are free and within everyone’s reach.

2. See the positives in every situation

If you are CEO of an organization, you may have all the necessary finances to purchase many material things you dream of. However, You will be under heavy stress to run the company efficiently. Remember the old adage “uneasy is the head that wears the crown”. In another instance you might feel disheartened when your colleague gets a promotion and a salary increment which you think you deserve more than he does. In such a situation you should remember that alongside the promotion and the increment, more duties will be bestowed on him, causing more stress and fatigue. This is the second principle. Remember that there are no free lunches. The benefit might come now but the cost later.

3. Build up on what you have and not on what you do not have

Be happy with what you have
You should more often try to expand on what you possess. For instance, if you are born with speaking skills, you should strive to be a great orator. If you do not have a musical voice, you should not try your hand at becoming the greatest singer the world has ever produced. In his book “How to win friends and influence people”, Dale Carnegie says that “if life gives a you a lemon, learn to make lemonade”. Instead what people usually do is try to make apple juice. Remember that “every cloud has a silver lining” meaning, there is at least some element of good in every situation. Also see the glass as half full and not half empty .This is principle number 3. If I may elaborate on my personal life, Ever since, I was a child I have loved ice-cream, be it chocolate, vanilla or strawberry flavor ,and consumed lavishly to satisfy my taste buds. At the age of fifty, I was diagnosed with diabetes, and the doctor insisted that I give up on ice cream if I want to live a healthy life. I sulked for a few days but later on analyzed and realized that by being deprived of ice-cream only one of my five senses, mainly the tongue and the taste buds, will be deprived of some degree of pleasure. Still I have the full power to enjoy my other four senses. I still can see beautiful pictures with my eyes, enjoy the morning sunrise and rainbow in all its glory, listen of the shrill of the birds and the sound of the rain on a warm summer night with my ears, inhale the sweet fragrance of roses in the woods,  with my nose and feel the touch of cold water in the sweltering heat of the day with my body.

4. Vital few and a trivial many

Pouring Glass

If you take a glass container and fill it to the brim with small rock stones or gravel, you will say it is full. However, you will also see empty spaces between the stones or gravel. Next, pour some sand on to it to cover the spaces. Still you can say that the container is full. The rock stones or gravel are the vital things in life such as food ,clothing, housing etc and the sand can be paralleled to the trivial things in life such as ornaments, accessories to clothing etc worn merely for  the sake of fashion. Therefore, the 4 th principle is you can still have a “full” life if you have the vital few yet without the trivial many.

5.Why be unhappy wanting more, when you were happy with less?

Be happy with less
I have a friend of mine at work who was happy by nature. One day I asked him if he has ever been unhappy in his life. The answer he gave really opened my eyes wide.” When I do not get something I want, and become unhappy, I ask myself, when did I start wanting this thing that makes me unhappy. Let us say, I started wanting it since yesterday. Then I tell myself, up until yesterday, I was happy without it. Then why should I make myself unhappy today, by wanting this one thing of which the deprivation has made me unhappy . By self-interrogation in this manner, I make myself from an unhappy soul to a shouting optimist in a few seconds”. This is the fifth principle. To enjoy life, you need three things. Namely money ( in most situations), time and energy. When a person is young, he/she will have the energy and the time in his/her hands but not so much money. As you enter adulthood he/she will still have the energy and money but less or no time as he/she will be working hard to earn a living. In old age, he/she will have all the time in the world and the money earned, but no energy. Therefore, if you wait until you have all three things in place, you will never enjoy life, as one will never have all three things in abundance at any given time in life. Hence, the moral of the story is” Enjoy life in the present moment with what you have”. Steve Jobbs, the founder of Apple computers, a billionaire, in his final speech said that, even if you drive an expensive Mercedes- Benz or a cheap second-hand car, the distance that you need to travel between point A and B will not change. When deprived, do not focus on the one thing that you do not have and are craving for, but think of what you have  and what you can do, in a holistic sense. To drive home this point ,Nick Vujicic would not have become a world famous motivational speaker who has inspired many lives ,if he spent his time in self-pity sulking about his dismal appearance. Say, tomorrow you meet with an accident and lose one of your limbs, are you going to mourn your loss for the rest of your life, or pick up courage and live your life to the fullest with what you have?. All things in life are transient .We bring nothing when we are born to this world. Some day when we leave this world we do not take any material possession or persons close to our heart. If you hold a handful of sand loosely, it will stay on your palm for a while. If you clench your fist too tightly, the grains of sand will slip through your fingers.

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