To live happily does not require much, happiness is mainly a state of mind that depends almost exclusively on us, on the way we deal with life and relate to the events that happen daily. There is a big difference between the quality of life of those who know how to give the right weight to things, relate serenely to others, establish their priorities with firmness and conviction, and those who let themselves be overwhelmed by events and do not have a clear way forward.
Today I want to offer 5 interesting insights to reflect on, inspired by Tenzin Gyatso’s principles, in order to improve our lives and live happily, because nothing in life is more valuable than our happiness.
JUDGE YOUR SUCCESS, BY THE PRICE YOU PAY FOR IT
On a daily basis I see people going to great lengths to succeed, especially in the field of work, their commitment is great and such perseverance should certainly be rewarded, but what is the price they pay to maintain the role that makes them feel important? Persistent states of discontent, nervousness, stress, and a null social life are only the most obvious symptoms.
The exaggerated attachment to the role, in order to achieve the goal, leads them to a progressive loss of values, those values on which instead it is necessary to base one’s life in order to live happily: respect, friendship and mutual help are brought pillars of a happy and full life. You cannot disrespect one of your peers (we are all human beings, regardless of role) in the name of a goal; unfortunately, instead, it happens daily that self-appointed “better” people treat others badly, without having the slightest right to do so, on the strength of an arrogance that makes them feel powerful and arrived.
However, this attitude wears down social relations, people are not different individuals according to the situations they find themselves in, man is one always, and those who claim the right to trample on others end up being first labeled, then shunned and finally ostracized, compromising their own happiness.
This means judging one’s success, especially economic success: Evaluating what it costs us on a daily basis, thoroughly analyzing its importance and placing the values we are pursuing on the scales of life, in order to understand whether it will hang on the side of happiness or on the side of moral failure.
Learning to do this, every day, before making even the smallest of choices, is most important for living happily.
WHEN YOU LOSE, DON’T MISS THE LESSON.
Losing is part of the system and part of our lives. No one always wins; those who believe they are always the best, always do the right thing, blaming external factors for their mistakes, are deluding themselves. Making mistakes is the easiest thing we can do, it is a mechanism so intrinsically linked to life itself that many great personalities of the past have dealt with it. I quote just a few famous quotes:
- “It is not worth having freedom if it does not imply having the freedom to err.” (Gandhi),
- “To desire immortality is to desire the perpetuation forever of a great mistake” (Arthur Schopenhauer),
- “We are all steeped in weaknesses and mistakes: to forgive each other our balderdash is the first law of nature.” (Voltaire).
The most famous quote, however, which brings us right back to the topic at hand, is certainly Cicero’s: “Anyone can err; but no one, unless he is a fool, perseveres in error.”
To live happily, therefore, it is necessary to understand the profound meaning of “learning from one’s mistakes,” a practice that requires first of all humility in admitting that one has made a mistake, steadfastness in understanding where one has gone wrong, and intelligence in trying to avoid making the same mistake again.
Having then established that life, as an uncharted path, can only be peppered with mistakes, one acquires the right mental shape to deal with mistakes in the right way and live happily.
NOT GETTING WHAT YOU WANT CAN BE LUCK.
It is necessary to face any failure with optimism; failures will always exist in our lives. They often carry with them a good deal of injustice, and when you do not have the means to reverse the situation, feelings of anger and helplessness can take over.
That is why it is very important to believe that there is always a reason when we fail to achieve a certain goal: whether it is a cause unknown to us or a mockery of fate matters little, what really matters is to always remember that if at that fork in the road we failed to turn right, it means we turned left, taking a road that will hold just as many surprises and possibilities for happy living.
When one door closes, another one always opens, ten others or a doorway, so it is necessary to immediately forget the disappointment and optimistically pursue the new road, convinced that we are now unable to understand the opportunities ahead, because we are blinded by anger that we did not get what we wanted.
STUDY THE RULES WELL, TO BREAK THEM WELL
Who says the rules are all fair and that we are obliged to follow them? Not all rules that the system imposes on us are right, and not all people who abide by them are right. It has often happened to me, even in the work environment, that I have had rules imposed on me that I did not think were fair, rules that favor the usual recommended people or that reduce the freedom and happiness of all, in favor of a few.
Knowing the rules well, studying how they are enforced, how controls are carried out and what we are up against if we do not comply, gives us a choice of what to do: We can decide not to follow a certain rule, taking full responsibility for the consequences, thus demonstrating dissent and at the same time providing an example for those who otherwise would not have the courage to rebel.
The social control to which we are subjected on a daily basis is very strong and has reached such a level that the class struggle has lost much of its effectiveness. Today it is the individual who must rebel, through personal change that enables him to live happily and with his freedom infect others so that they too can find ways to live happily.
When rules limit our happiness, then we are morally entitled to disregard them, trying to circumvent them in lawfulness, studying them thoroughly, and consciously preparing to pay the consequences. The price may be high, but living happily is all that matters.
EVERY DAY SPEND SOME TIME ALONE.
The importance of stopping, unplugging for a second and thinking, is underestimated. If in the course of a day we added up the seconds we spend alone, evaluating the direction our life is taking, we would hardly get to the minute.
It is peremptory to carve out a small space for ourselves, even just five minutes, in which we daily ask ourselves a simple question, “Am I happy?” Two simple, uncomfortable words that we never have time to ask ourselves can save our lives. If we do not work every day to be able to live happily by taking small steps in the direction we deem suitable for our well-being, we will never achieve happiness; the first step (the first, I repeat) is to carve out some time to think about one’s condition and in what aspects it can be improved.
When one slows down, downshifts gears, and finally gets out of this car launched at all speeds, which the society of consumerism has enticed us to buy, it is as if one acquires a new sense. That is, one realizes that by snatching a little time for oneself from the day, one begins to perceive reality differently, and soon the path we must follow to live happily becomes clear.
I close this roundup of the cardinal principles that support the path of happy living with a wonderful quote from Tenzin Gyatso: May it help those who are searching for happiness, to open their eyes and finally find The Way.
“What has surprised me most in the men of the West is that they lose their health to make money and then lose their money to recover their health. They think so much about the future that they forget to live the present in such a way that they cannot live either the present or the future. They live as if they will never die and die as if they have never lived.”