Sadly, many of us are actually working hard every day putting happiness on hold, instead of working hard to enjoy the happiness now. There is a popular saying credited to Jim Rohn that ‘Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present. Take a look at these statements:
“I will be happy when I graduate from college.” You graduated
“I will be happy when I get a job.” You got a job. Now, the next excuse:
“I will be happy when I buy a new car.” You bought a car.
“I will be happy when I get married.” You got married
“I will be happy when I get kids.” You got kids
“ I will be happy when my kids grow up and leave the house” They’ve grown up and left the house
“I will be happy when my kids marry and get kids so I can have grandchildren” You got grandchildren.
“I will be happy when I retire from work next year.” You retired.
“I will be happy when my children and grandchildren start living a good life.”
“I will be happy when…..
And the list goes on and on and on. We keep convincing ourselves that we will be happy when we get this or that. Or, when this happens or that happens. But when we attain the first goal, we create another one, and another one, and another one!
Granted, setting a positive goal for what we desire and achieving that goal can seem to be a cause of happiness. However, it can only be a real cause of happiness if we choose to enjoy happiness in the moment than putting it on hold by creating another desire which we hope will bring more happiness than the happiness and peace of mind we should already be enjoying. Lasting happiness is not really based solely on achievements or acquisitions. Rather, like good physical health, true happiness depends on a variety of factors which is linked to contentment!
Time keeps moving forward, and will never wait for us to be happy before moving. The truth is: Every human has challenges in life and will continue to have challenges in this system. But, the exciting thing about it is that – we are not without hope! Therefore, if we keep our hope sure and positive, doing what is right and relying on our creator, there will be no better time to be happy than now. If not now, when? Happiness is an individual choice we make despite life’s worries and anxieties. The starting point is recognizing our limits as humans. We need to do our best in life within our limits, then, be content and maintain a simple eye!
Take a look at these:
Tammy worked hard to gain admission in a university to study a course she had always dreamt since childhood. She took a loan for her studies, hoping to be happy after graduation. Her parents who were struggling, looking for happiness and direction in life, placed great hopes on her Tammy to make them happy when she finally becomes the only graduate in the family.
Sadly, before graduation, Tammy was already dissatisfied and depressed for studying that particular course. Inner happiness and joy for her and for her family was put on hold. Within three months after graduation, Tammy took another loan to study a different course in a different school very low in ranking – a school, not much known anywhere. Every day, she kept telling herself she will be happy when she graduates with a second degree, become rich and repay first and second loan she took for her studies. Happiness is still put on hold – to be enjoyed later, ‘hopefully’. To Tammy and her family, happiness is tied to material success. What a mistaken view of true source of happiness!
Juliet was bored and sad for some years. When asked, Juliet said she will be happy after wedding Jude – a tall, rich, good looking young man. Juliet’s happiness was put on hold and tied to temporary beauty and money.
Finally, Juliet wedded Jude! Unfortunately, after 9 months of wedding, situation changed badly. If you had not known Juliet 3 years ago before her marriage, you will never recognize her. She looked very miserable marrying Jude. When asked what the problem is, she said she got divorced last month. Wiping tears, Juliet said she hopes to be happy in life if only she can find someone, just any one, who can love her the way she is no matter the person’s background and where he comes from. Here again, happiness is put on hold till unknown date.
For many years, Jeffrey lived from hand to mouth. Why? According to him, he used about all his salary each month to repay his car loan – his first ever car, a Mercedez Benz he bought upon graduation from college and landing first job. Jeffery said he hopes to be happy when he pays off his car loan. After 3 years of living from hand to mouth, Jeffery managed to pay off his car loan.
Sadly, a month after paying off his car loan, Jeffery was seen walking, driving no car. What happened? According to him, a month after paying off his car loan, he had an accident and the car was reduced to ashes. The good thing that happened was that, Jeffery escaped uninjured. But the insurance policy he had did not cover payment for his lost car. He only had liability insurance. He changed from comprehensive to liability shortly after paying off his car loan.
Jeffery continued working hard again, this time, not to buy a Mercedez Benz, but to save some money and look for a cheaper car. He said he will be happy if only he can afford a car, no matter the make. Here again, happiness is put on hold.
The point is. We live in uncertain world. We do not know what the next day will be. Unforeseen events can happen to any of us without warning. Happiness is not really found when we acquire all that we want. Material things we may have now can be lost tomorrow. Think about money for instance. Money on hand now, if not properly managed can suddenly grow wings and fly away. Hence, true happiness means finding contentment in life whether ‘rich’ or ‘poor’. Added to this is keeping a simple eye. Yes, happiness is a choice we make by relying on God.
Alfred D’ Souza once said, “For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way – something to be got through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.”
Since this is the situation of life which we cannot control, let us try as much as possible to choose happiness despite any circumstance. Every day, we need to tell ourselves that the best time to be happy is now, not tomorrow. Do not put happiness on hold. Tomorrow will take care of itself. Richard Carlson once said, “There is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way!”
Echelah Mazi is a motivational speaker and writer. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.