The simple act of being kind to others can be truely transformational.
Updated: May 19, 2019
Don't pursue happiness as if it is a destination. If you believe, when you get the things you covet, that all will be good with the world, then you might be missing an opportunity to be happy right now. The belief that happiness is a destination is just an illusion because of the human condition to always desire more. Consider that happiness is all around you, right now.
What does it take to be happy? A big question I have been pondering recently. Apparently, a lot of people, when asked what would make them happy, say either money, fame or both!
According to the book: ‘If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t you Happy?’ by Raj Raghunathan, people say this because they think they know what they’ll get with money and fame - i.e. they can imagine themselves having it. They can dream about the possibilities.
However the author goes on to say that the pursuit of these things might not make you happy and could even have the opposite effect. Either because the journey is pretty rubbish and the destination is not what you thought or because you don’t actually make it despite your best efforts.
I would add that my own experiences suggest that happiness is much less tangible and it doesn’t necessarily need to be tied to a pursuit of, or achievement of, anything.
From some other stuff I also have read, or listened to, recently (incl. some research by Google on their most effective people / teams) a big factor in happiness and fulfilment is the relationships we cultivate with others - partners, friends, family or colleagues.
The key to unlocking these is kindness and empathy; because these things create feelings of safety and security, which build trust; and trust is at the centre of quality relationships. Relationships are central to happiness. Because when there is trust people take more risks (personal, work or otherwise).... and this is to everyone’s gain. Emotional intelligence is built on this basis too.
Incidentally the Dalai Lama also agrees (see image) - and he’s pretty smart.
This is within all our reach right now. I am focused on it. Not in a gushy and fake way. Keeping it genuine. But paying attention to it; and being aware when I might be appearing not to be kind and making efforts to right it.
Try it as you close out the week. Be kind to the people around you. Be kind and empathetic to someone perhaps you’re not normally that way with. You never know what’s going on for them. And you might make their day. You might make yours. See what happens. If it makes you feel great then just imagine the possibilities