It’s quite ironic that for most humans, while our lifelong pursuit should be happiness no matter what they choose to do, people seem to run away from happiness and do whatever it takes to be miserable and spread the misery around to others.
The default emotion on everyone’s face one would have hoped for is a smile on the face, but we often find people either be indifferent or grumpy about something or the other.
You would expect that after years of hard work in studies, people land up with a dream job and they are excited to go to work. Well, some do enjoy their work. However, vast majority dread going to work and are even willing to fall sick just to avoid work. That doesn’t come as a surprise though.
Let me share my experience from one of my ex-employer, a leading retailer of mobile phones in Europe based in London.
Here was a director who headed a department of technical project managers and I was one of them, invited us for an urgent meeting which none of us had a clue what the meeting was all about. In fact, all five of us got worried whether we were losing our jobs.
He started how disappointed he was with the progress of projects and how unhappy he was with he entire team and he kept repeating ‘I am not happy’ when one of my colleague asked what was he not happy about. We never got a proper answer. He looked upset like a toddler denied of his favorite toy.
Later, my colleagues and myself went for a much needed coffee break as all of us were in a confused state of mind and wondering what went wrong.
While we were having our coffee, one of my colleague joked ‘Possibly, he fought with his wife.’ While everyone around in the cafeteria wondered what was the joke about as the five of us burst into a huge roar of laughter, we wondered is anything we did enough for the management to be content with our work.
We choose to laugh it out to ease our tension, it did give us some jitters and ruined our weekend as we were stressed out whether we have a job in the future.
After work, on the same day, one of my colleague asked if I could join him to the pub. There we saw this head of the department having a ball oblivious that he set the cat among the pigeons. It annoyed us even more that he did not even bother to look at us.
I can still recall that conversation and we wondered, the company we worked for is worth few billion pounds making a profit of 40% year on year, projects were delivered at break neck speed and they were still whining about delays of few projects.
What really makes these people unhappy ? They have a great job, good salary, a home, a car, latest mobile phone, good health and everything you thought would make an average person happy.
Are people who get to the top of Eiffel Tower happy ? My wife and myself were excited when we got to the top for the first time, however, we wondered why is everyone so serious. Perhaps, it was the chilly night. Let’s give them the benefit of doubt.
Are people living in London, New York, Sydney happy ? They may well be.
But nobody proudly claims to be happy. Their default emotion is that of indifference. It takes a special event like graduation, marriage and birth of a child for people to be happy.
It is also my observation that people who have got it all are the ones who are not happy.
And those who don’t have anything find an excuse to be happy.
Perhaps, there is a reason why humans tend to think negative and like to remain in the unhappy state of mind.
The part of brain, which stores the negative events in our life is more active. It was meant to alert us in future to be able to cope with it better. We tend to ruminate about negative events that happened in our past. Though it is meant to make us wiser in event of recurrence, humans tend to be preoccupied with negative thoughts.
People have phobia about other people they don’t know because of their past experience.
Our mind is always worrying about events which have a low probability of happening in the first place.
On flights, most people hate to admit but they have this fleeting thought of a crash because they have heard in the news before. Flight is the safest mode of travel but you still get this thought ‘What is this is the one in million flight that crashed’.
Talking about news, the business of news thrives on negativity. The psychology of news business is that people want to hear or discover some negativity, conflict or disasters happening all over the world.
Can you imagine a news with only positive news ? People get bored and when a positive news is aired on television, they ask ‘Don’t you have any better news to share ?’ . The definition of better news is some murder or crime which gives few people sadistic pleasure.
In romantic relationships, when everything goes well, either partner will come up with something that can jeopardize the marriage. How often we find people mourning about their relationship not working, when the real reason is something childish which can be resolved between the two. When relationships break, nobody remembers the positive and happy moments. People only remember the unkind words either of them said to the other.
Positive, non-confrontational and healthy relationship seems to be a difficult task for most people. When you make a habit of connecting with new people with a positive frame of mind, you are letting go of the fear of all past bad experiences.
So, now people need to take special effort to activate that part of the brain that thinks about positive events.
Thinking positive is not as easy as it seems or claimed by self-help books. It requires a lot of effort to think about all the positive events in life. These self-help books tell you that your happiness depends on you. This is far from the truth.
We are connected in some ways. Just like that director who told us that he was not happy, it affected us a lot. It destroyed our morale and we started doubting yourself. It affected our work too.
It is impossible that people can go on saying unkind words and expect everyone to think positive. Because harsh words can destroy people.
A positive and happy life starts with us by not only being kind but saying the right words. I always believe that if what I say does not make someone happy, I won’t say it.
If you ask me ‘Am I happy?’ – The answer is ‘Of course, I am’ .
I have mentioned in my bio too, I lost half my savings in the UK, met with a car accident, bed ridden for 6 months, sunk into deep depression, fought my way back.
Now, I have a 9 year old handsome dude to look after. What more can I ask for ?
I will deal with the future head on like I have dealt with the past.