Zooming in and out through the lens of life, here is my first piece of writing that is coming from different experiences. This is the best piece of advise as a mom to my two amazing boys.
The Art of Living
Life is a short affair; we Should try to make it Smooth and free from strife - Euripides
Life is half spent before one knows what life is - French proverb
The art of life is to know how to enjoy little and endure much - Willian Hazlitt.
What is success-amassing of wealth, collecting of fat salary on easy job, reaching the pinnacle of glory as a businessman, a writer or an inventor, or enjoying thunderous applause as a public speaker, an athlete, or a sport hero? Take the case of man who was is determined to forego all leisure, pastime and enjoyment, in order to spend every moment on amassing wealth. His aim was to be rich enough to afford eating a chicken for supper every night. When he finally became that Rich, he had no appetite for chicken and no teeth to eat it.
There are others who reach the pinnacle of fame, and in their pursuit of power have lost all their friends. When the world lies at their feet, they loose the zest of life. Those of us who take happiness for granted, while we fix our gaze only on success, should recall the story of the little girl who, after a tea-party did a thanks giving prayer of her own. When asked by the hostess, what extra prayer was for, the little one replied: “That was to thank God for my good appetite”.
So make sure that happiness is always your first objective. Do not take it for granted. Do not confuse ‘success’ with ‘happiness’. Many Successful people complain that they are lonely. They join several clubs, yet never seem to find satisfaction. They win new friends only to lose them. Most people who are lonely are so, because they build walls instead of bridges. And the people who have no friends are not those who cannot make friends, but those who cannot keep them. Happiness is not dependent on riches. On the contrary, riches are often the course of unhappiness. Unhappiness is due to greed, worry, jealousy and suspicion. On the other hand, generosity is the prime factor of happiness.
Contentment is essential for happiness because happiness is subjective as well as relative. While striving to better your position, take great care never to feel bitter at delay or temporary defeat. For, discontent is a powerful misery maker. Happy people enjoy what they have; they are content to keep the stars where God placed them, and derive pleasure from gazing at their celestial beauty. The unhappy stretch their eager hand to grab at the stars and grumble when they find them beyond their reach.
Ambitious & Greedy:
This does not mean that, the happy have no desire. But there is a difference; they are people who are thankful for what they have and then ask for more. The miserable, on the other hand, are ambitious and greedy; they take for granted what they get, and keep on snatching at unattainable. Like the dog, in a fable, which saw its reflection in a stream and jumped into snatch the meat from the mouth of the "other dog" thus losing it's own, the unhappy person forgets his own possessions, frets at the good fortune of others and covets the good things of everyone else around. Life to them is like a self-service Cafeteria. Remember that although objective success often depends on circumstances of time, place and people, happiness depends entirely on yourself. When you are tempted to think otherwise, keep repeating the wise words of the philosopher: "You can be happy only if you realise that it is not our position in life that matters but our disposition".
In search of happiness, man has resorted to various types of philosophy: Vedic philosophy, Chinese philosophy, Buddhist philosophy, yoga philosophy, christian philosophy etc... But the common man (and that includes you and me) believes in two main philosophies of life. One maintains that life is what you get from it; the other stress that life is what you give to it.
Learning to Give:
If you want to succeed in life, you must learn to give. If you want to be happy, you must learn to make others happy. There are so many ways of giving. When someone speaks of generosity, we always associate this virtue with money. It is good but this is not so. Most of us are hungry for things which money cannot buy. We all yearn for praise, hungry for appreciation, and long for sympathy and affection. Yet it must be admitted that we ourselves never think of giving these to others. You may top the sales of the day; you may win a new contract; you may get the better of a rival-all these will give you success. At the end of the day, you will find yourself rubbing your palms with the glow of success. But at night when all is quite you will not feel a glow of satisfaction in your innermost soul, unless you have cheered a weary heart, comforted the dejected worker or your Wife and children, heartened the hopeless, put zest into the plodder, or aided the helpless. It is surprising to note that we spend so much time in learning how to achieve success, but so little time in learning how to achieve happiness.
Let us undertake a soul- searching audit of ourselves. Start not from today. Start right now! You will soon find out that if you give to the world the best you have, the best will come back to you.