Bring Forth Happiness by Making a Change

January is about to end and most of us have settled back into our routines. Plans for the next months may already be taking place. Finally, we feel that we’re getting into the rhythm of a new beat. 

Despite recent tragedies all over the world, hope still spouts and we move forward. Change remains constant and it is what we will continue to do to be happy and fulfilled. 

If anyone is currently in an unhappy state, perhaps these points of reflection can encourage a shift in perspective.

The Point of Origin 

Life is at times challenging. This is a fact.

There will always be roadblocks and detours. We hear this quite often but it doesn’t change our tendency to feel frustrated and defeated when things don’t go as planned. Perhaps it’s because we’re under the notion that once we achieve our goals, then we’ll be happy.

Of course, we do experience happiness when we overcome a challenge or reach a milestone. We earned the celebration of these victories. Yet shortly thereafter, our happiness slowly dissipates and we start listing down a new batch of goals. Therefore, we return to the point of origin — that life is challenging.

Understanding and accepting this fact can change the way we approach other people, our circumstances, as well as ourselves. When we expect our journey to be laid with struggles, then we can condition our thoughts to be more malleable, fluid, and adaptive to change.

Treading a challenging path is neither bad nor good. It just is.

Changing How We View Failure

Everyone has felt the pain of failure one way or another. The fact that this universal struggle exists implies that we should not be so hard on ourselves when we are unable to overcome a problem.

Often, fear of failure is intensified because we are concerned with others’ perceptions of our failed experiments. We have to remind ourselves that their thoughts about us are their business and those should not have any real impact on us. It goes back to the saying “We can’t control the outside world but we can choose how to react inside.”

Failing serves as an opportunity to grow. We may not be who we envisioned right now, and that’s okay. This does not diminish our worth. To err is human and so, let’s change the way we look at failure and begin every journey with a sense of self-worth.

Gratitude, Always

Gratitude is not always easy, especially given our first point of reflection that life is challenging.

Living in a thriving city like Singapore can make us believe that if we’re not working hard, then we’re not doing it right. While fortitude and resilience are certainly valuable traits to practice, staying in a state of “hustle” leads to wanting more and more. Wanting more drives us further away from truly being happy.

The change we need is gratitude. More specifically, gratitude for the now. Are we too preoccupied looking to the future so we end up taking the present for granted? If the answer is “yes,” then it’s time to make a change.

Let’s go back to the moment we first achieved something truly meaningful. Recall the emotions and the rush of that moment. 

We will never feel the exact same way as we did back then, which is why it is so important to be present and grateful for the now. The joy and elation we felt in the past can’t be replicated. Happiness is fleeting and we live our entire lives chasing it. So when we have it temporarily in our hands, it’s wise to savor it and be grateful in that moment.

The message of gratitude is often mistaken for passivity and acceptance of whatever is given to us. Being grateful doesn’t mean we stop ourselves from wanting to change the status quo. Rather, gratitude teaches us to break things down into smaller fragments so we can pick what’s good and move forward, carrying those pieces with us.

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” – Buddha