This article was submitted by Shumaila Khurshid, a PhD candidate in the School of Education and NUPSA’s International Representative.


It’s an interesting question to ask: ‘What are the most important things in the world?’ For many people, it is happiness and satisfaction. But is that really true? If yes, then why do people feel unhappy and unfulfilled? Why don’t they always seems happy?

In fact, we are the sad generation with happy faces. Most of us live in the constant pursuit of happiness. We keep telling ourselves, ‘I’ll be happy if I get that job I applied for,’ or, ‘if I get that car I’ve been saving up for,’ and so on. We are always in search of happiness, in one way or another. Even in the happiest moments of our life, despite having basic necessities of life, we make ourselves unhappy by thinking, ‘This time shall pass away.’ 

Most of us expect that happiness will come from some outside source or from having materialistic things in our lives. We are practically waiting for magic fairy dust to be sprinkled over our heads, so that we can get whatever we want. Some of us live in a fantasy world, waiting for a miracle to happen. Each time, we convince ourselves that, ‘I will be happy forever with whatever purchase I am hoping for.’

Let’s think about it for a while. If we were given everything we wanted, would it really make us feel sustainably happy? The answer is perhaps, no. Despite putting a lot of effort into making ourselves feel happy, many of us have, generally, a negative outlook towards life. We’re constantly reminding ourselves that this or that will make us happy, but when we can’t get what we are craving, we find ourselves filled with great disappointment, which is a cause of great sadness.  

Unhappiness is not always a bad thing. Aiming for constant satisfaction can drive us away from joy at times. Ray Dalio said, ‘Bad times coupled with good reflection provides some of the best lessons.’ So in my opinion, all we need to learn is to be optimistic and to avoid the deception (the result of being in a fantasy world), and then we can be more aligned with the reality of life. Enduring hardships can cause us distress and make us sad, but in a long run, it leads us to achieve something valuable, learn a great life lesson and become stronger.

We just need to understand the simple fact that instead of chasing happiness, it’s better to be happy with whatever we have. This reflection helps us progress from mindless or mindful unhappiness to a cheerful life with loads of happiness and joyful moments. If we have firm belief in the fact that happiness isn’t permanent, we won’t be doomed with dissatisfaction.  

So the key formula for living happily is to accept life as it bestowed on us. Not everyone can have everything in life, but life has something for everyone. Everyone might have bad times or good time or boring times. Some might have everything, or a few things, or nothing. But remember, nothing is permanent. If you have nothing at this moment, who knows? Life may have much more for you, sooner or later.

So don’t ruin the current moment by thinking about materialistic things. Try to live happily right now, or you will run out of the time. Don’t let unhappiness take you permanently away from happiness. 

Remember, being happy is a choice that only we can bring in our own life.


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