The day you are born, you have been asked to do the things which have been done before. By all of us. There is no time or risk appetite to experiment on how you should walk or make things happen.
You are expected to learn the language, behave and follow your parent’s religion. This is the norm and also safe.
Over the thousand years, humans have developed so that you can live a certain way. The food you eat, the clothes you wear and the culture you feel the vibe with – all have been a part of your history.
Geography of the location plays the role too. Are you a Christian or Buddhist or maybe someone who feels a certain way of eating food – can you eat the flesh or drink milk.
At the outside, all of these things seem like small things – but when you add it up, it makes you. The you which has an identity, feel a certain way and does things by the following code. Sometimes the code is written, and most of the nuances are passed down generations.
Being A Kid
When you are a kid, you don’t question a lot – you accept the things being said as truth. Slowly you start to ask questions but depending on your location and culture, you can only ask questions about certain things and not all things.
So what do you do? You do what you have been told – you study, play and try to fit in. Because that’s the best way to not get in trouble. Also, it depends on what kind of beating you will get based on the culture. In some cultures, you don’t beat your kids. And in some, beating makes discipline.
The lens of culture is big and gets blurry. You can see others and accept it as diversity. Sometimes you argue and most of the times – it is because you want to know or reassure that your way of doing things is the right one. But what do you know? You are naive, scared and in confusion.
The other kid looking at you is also in confusion. You both are trying to find comfort in your way of doing things. And while you do that, you try to fight because you want to put others down. But why you do that?
The reason is the fact that you don’t know much. You can’t defend what you do – so you try to win by making others look bad. You call the culture bad, irrational and fake. And go home with all the pride.
But then you realise, if you look at your own culture with a lens – the same one with which you saw others then you will find the same irrationality, fakeness and bad things. And at some point, you do realise it, but then you ignore it.
Questioning Your Beliefs
It takes guts to question what you have been taught all your life. You didn’t ask a question back then, and now you are just scared. Remember, questions are beautiful – they can come out of ignorance, but no question is stupid.
Seek the path to better life, understanding and hope. Because the world is full of good and bad people, but you need hope to live in. The media showcase only the bad and the good gets buried into some corner. The good doesn’t get the good TRP.
Negativity sells – on that note, why you do think it is enticing for media to showcase the battles, fights and all the wrong things. You, as a consumer, is asking for it. Of course not deliberately but you watch it more, interact and demand it. And so they deliver. When a piece of good news comes on, you dismiss it by saying boring.
Remember, you are the one who is changing the narrative because you are giving fuel to the fire. The media companies only want money.
Relationship With Money
Most of the problem of the wicked world would be solved by money. But life is hard. Few people have an enormous amount of money, and many people have none. Forget education and a better life, it is difficult for some to get food for themselves.
But still, they want to read, learn and understand. Like you. Because learning is a tool which can tackle problems like hunger, better life and hope.
Sure you won’t get the job as per your skill, but you will get some job, you will be in a better position to negotiate. And slowly you will get better at it. Money brings food which brings sleep and then you can dream big.
The job economy is bad, and it can get you a decent job. But if you want to break through the noise, you need to persist and take help of the internet. Learn, gain skills and show up at the opportunities, grab them and make the most use of them.
You might succeed, or you might not. Remember if you don’t end up with lots of money, then it means you are bad at making money. And that’s it. It doesn’t mean you are bad or of low calibre or your happiness.
Happiness And Money
Some people have lots of money but are seeking more. Because they find their happiness in more. But since they want more, they always feel they have less. Comparison with others is a big trap because there are billions of people. And no two people are raised alike.
So make a goal of being happy. And first earn for food, clothing and shelter and then work on creative projects. They might or not bring money. But they will bring in happiness and fulfilling experience.
And if you want to chase money, then don’t feel bad about it. Be clear in your intentions and double down on your efforts. Whatever your result, remember happiness is a choice. So choose it and then you will live the best life.
And when you are at a level where you feel privileged, remember to give back to others. Someone helped you too, so return the favour.
Understanding How Bhutan Is Happy
Not every country is on a race to become no. 1 in money power. It helps to have a certain amount of money because then you are not poor and can afford things.
But after you achieve a good enough economic value, there needs to be a shift in mindset for a better human life. And Bhutan does this amazingly well – let’s see what you can learn from this beautiful country.
GDP And Progress
As an individual, your progress is measured by various parameters. And those parameters are chosen by you.
You may consider yourself successful if you achieved a certain type of degree, owned a mansion or got married with kids. And all of which is a fine measurement. Because it is about you – and you are the prime person to decide your well-being.
Countries are another game altogether. A famous thing to measure for a countries growth is GDP – ‘Gross Domestic Product’. It measures worth of all the value made by services and products in the country. So more transactions mean more GDP and that country will be considered a progressive country.
So the race has begun. And every country is trying to push for a higher GDP. Although there are some flaws – largely GDP does its job.
Because if the GDP needs to go up, you need to provide some value. Make some products, provide service, do the transaction.
As such more people will get a job, economic value will rise and there will be more cash flow.
Money Isn’t Everything
But money isn’t everything, it never is. Of course, it solves a major problem – all of which happens because of lack of money.
But there is no guarantee that you will be happy. There is a popular meme stating it is better to cry in a Ferrari than alone. But it misses the point, you need to define what is your end goal?
If it is to be happy then you should do things which makes you happy. If your goal is to get a Ferrari despite anything then go get one.
But for most people, happiness is the goal. So crying on a Ferrari is bad compared to being happy in a normal SUV.
For example, it is far better to feel connected when you are alone in your room than feeling lonely with 100’s of people around you. You crave for connection, being happy and living a stress-free life.
People chase money and they should. Because that is a big part of your life. But don’t chase for the sake of chasing – define a limit, what all things you can sacrifice and how you are going to use money in a positive manner.
Happiness Can Come From Anything
Bhutan as a country is doing something great. Their focus is on GNH – ‘Gross National Happiness’. A measure of people’s happiness based on various parameters which directly dictates the level of happiness.
This is in contrast with the majority of the countries. Of course, they focus on the economic value too.
But their main focus is to make sure their people are happy. This is such a pure thing that it makes you wonder – why not everyone is doing that.
Because it is difficult. Measuring money gained or lost is an easy thing. Measuring the happiness of people is a tough task.
However, you need to ask what is more important – loads of money or a place which vibrates happiness. It is difficult to choose one because in many cases money dictates happiness.
Taking a cue from the above idea. Money is a means to happiness. So eventually you want to be happy, free and creatively express. So let’s focus on the bigger picture and see where you find happiness. If you find your joy in spending time with family, then do that. If you find your spirit in helping people, then go and volunteer at an NGO. Whatever it takes, don’t wait for everything to be in place – get it now. At least try for it.
A Bond Between Money And Happiness
You take on education to become a better human. But also to find your passion and do a job. Which then gives you money and takes up your time. Eventually, you save, invest and grow your wealth so that you can take back your time.
The ultimate goal is to live a fulfilling life. If you end up chasing only one metric then you will end up unhappy.
Because there will be this illusion that you need loads of money to be happy. Which won’t be true for everyone.
Majority of your happiness will come from things like a good relationship, playing with kids, having good health, having someone to talk to, ability to impact others and share a smile. Money provides a cushion, a facilitator to help you. It is a means and not an end.
As Bhutan prioritizes happiness while also focusing on economic things, you should aim for a happy life too.
An Adult’s Guide To Happiness
It depends. On your childhood, what is your definition of success. Some parents might ask you to be happy. And others might want a certain grade. Either way, childhood is an easy life compared to adulthood.
All you had to do is go to school, do some crazy things, come home and eat and then play. Repeat it for 20 years for your life.
Kids make an assumption based on the comparison. And derives happiness on weird analogies. They will be happy if something seems precious to them even if that thing is stone. And they won’t play with the remote controlled car.
My childhood was filled with bad experiences from my point of view. But overall my parents told me to focus on the big picture and be happy.
And I followed that philosophy till my graduation years. Hence, I derived happiness from dance, teaching and chatting with friends. Life was great until I grew up and I entered society…
Money, Money & Money
As soon as you start earning money, you feel an independent power. And a beautiful thing happens, you realize how much an adult has to go through to sustain a quality life.
Some are happy in their job, others not so much. But whatever the case, society tells you that you are a failure if you don’t earn ‘X’ amount of money. Or more than your colleagues.
They completely ignore the different skill sets, preferences and motivation. Society will shun you and make you feel inferior if you earn less as per their standard.
The devil controls your brain. You start comparing what your friend earns, shops and the lifestyle they live.
You try to live that way, But you end up taking loans, credit, and worries in the process. Somewhere along the way – you lost the goal to be happy and adopted the goal to be happy only when you have a certain amount of comparative money.
Consider this – if you base your happiness on the fact that how much more you earn compared to someone then you can always find someone who is earning more than you.
It is a cycle of misery you don’t want to be in.
On the contrary, if you are happy with what you have got and hungry for more then you will live a better life.
Maybe you can’t buy that Mercedes. But it doesn’t matter because you are happy with your bike. Of course, you are hungry for better projects, responsibility, and work – if money comes along the way then that’s great.
If you constantly upgrade your lifestyle when your earning goes up then you will be always struggling to see yourself as happy. Because there will be constant stress to earn even more money.
The alternative is to enjoy the stage where you are in. Happiness is a point of view in the present.
Your current scenario and capabilities are something which you dreamed of at some point in history. So rejoice and live that life which you had envisioned. Let the money keep rolling. For every 2 promotion in money, there should be 1 promotion in lifestyle.
If you want to compare and feel good about yourself then you should do it with your past self.
Look back 2 years and note down the money in bank account, projects taken, travel done and compare it with your present situation. If you are doing it more in quantity or impact then it is a good sign.
Sure, your friend might have done 25 projects. But that’s okay – everyone has different pace and skill sets.
As long as you are doing +1 from your past self, you are fine. And honestly, you should be happy about it.
Happiness is a choice and point of view. It isn’t a destination at which you will arrive. If that was the case, every billionaire and millionaire was supposed to be happy. And every poor person has to be unhappy. But we know better – many times happiness is a choice.
You might have a million dollars in your bank. But if the fear of theft circles your mind, you will be in a constant state of fear.
And unhappiness will knock at your door often. So there is no end game you are playing.
The best way to approach things in life is to have forward momentum, be happy with the success & failures you have got. And stay hungry for more and better projects. Regardless, stay happy because you can. And it is a beautiful feeling.
Now go make something which you want to. Probably better or something new. Be happy most of the time.