P6010312 001 Finding happiness

I am looking out of my window, I can see the branches swaying with leaves beckoning back and forth. The tree seemed at peace, stoic, raking in the morning sun whilst providing the shade and greenery I appreciate so much. I used to run races as a kid. In primary school I won, every race I took park in from 200m to 400m, winning the individual champions trophy 2 years in a row and once in secondary school. I loved running and that was one of the few things I could do then to get a thunderous applause and a prize that I can bring back home. That brought me immense happiness as a child.

I can still remember the taste of a cold drink that I will buy with 45 cents after my training runs. There was happiness in drinking the prized coke and Eric Greitens, talks about the happiness of pleasure that all of us pursue in mundane activities like this. We should find it, reach out for it, and find a way to keep the mind sane. Doing otherwise in life takes you on a slippery that will make you sad. I liked what Eric’ shared when he talked about 3 types of happiness, in his book, Resilience. On this blog I am sharing one component that he has articulated so well. Eric Greitens, is a Rhodes scholar and a Navy seal officer. I stumbled upon his books researching literature on endurance and cognitive attitudes of soldiers who make it through the tough Navy seal selection training program. He cited the following 3 rings of happiness;

Happiness of pleasure
Happiness of grace
Happiness of excellence

Even when the cards are stacked against you, we still meander to find happiness of pleasures to feed the soul. Sometimes this happens in places that one succumb to unwittingly. Pleasures on a whim laced with regrets thereafter.When the recession kicks in, cigarettes and alcoholic beverage sale usually goes up. Tobacco companies were booming despite an economic depression in 2008 (2009, He and Yano). In their research they shared, despite the fatal economic downturn of post 2008 September, the 3 largest transnational tobacco companies have continued to earn profits even with the downturn. You can fact check alcohol consumption, that will also show an up trend during economic downturns. For this primary reason as a company we have said “No” to working with tobacco and alcohol producing companies because their profits are usually mangled in the misery of the common man. Sometimes we look to douse the flames of base desires to find happiness. Such happiness is usually short lived. A quick short in the arm, that just gets you on an addiction trail to do more of the same. Only to recoil in guilt and emptiness when the pleasure of drinking wears out.

I would like you to reflect back deeply. Ask yourself, what made you happy doing the simplest of things and reach out to doing that more. I remembered I loved the chicken patties and chips that I had with my young son Musaib, when we were at Mustafa (mall and cafe). We will buy 1 plate and literally eyeballing each other we were ravaging the cholesterol rich fries one after the other. One time he left for India with my wife and I remember sitting alone at the cafe one night. I told myself look, tonight I can just have the meal to myself. I did not enjoy the meal at all that night. My son, was not there and the pleasure of happiness was lost. Look for people and simple things in life that has given you happiness.

I have seen folks having a tough time with their spouse and children. Through the fights and disagreements, I believe there are moments the spouse of yours would have given you immense joy in your life. I have had huge disagreements with my wife, for we don’t usually see eye to eye in various aspects of our lives and opinions. Yes I am taller, perhaps my opinions were not well explained. But there are many things that we agree too. Likewise our children, really …. are the exam results the best gauge of the vast abilities they have? They dun need to live a life that we have failed to achieve. Our children need to seek happiness in the things they do and when families can find happiness in the simplest of things, they will find happiness too. As social beings, we seek happiness and we should, cos that pivots us from tilting into an abyss of sadness. Life throws fast curve balls at you, but there are days when the ball comes at you really slow and we just don’t realize it as we wallow in self pity and guilt. The simplest of joy is summed up simply, spending 1 hr in the sun, keeping faith and accepting what comes at you with patience like this tree, I greet every morning. Find solace in the ancient texts, for there are awesome wisdom therein, that has guided individuals to civilizations, for “indeed with every hardship there will be ease”, this verse was repeated twice. We dun need complexity to find happiness.


Chapter 94, “Solace” Quran

Tobacco companies are booming despite an economic depression, © He and Yano; Licensee Biomed Central Ltd, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0, Peasen He and Eiji Yano, 2009 May 19

Greitens, Eric,(2015) Resilience -Hard won wisdom for living a better life, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

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About the Author: Ebnu Etheris Ma.IDT, B.Hrd

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Ebnu Etheris, holds a Masters degree in Instructional Design and was part of the pioneering team of executives who saw through the start up of Singapore’s first Budget Airline, Valuair. He was responsible for developing the airline’s Crisis planning systems and initiating blended learning in Flight operations. He works as a Partner with Teamworkbound.

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