My school yahoom group is pretty active. Everyday there is a constant stream of mails with jokes (all kinds), news, snippets and friendly and sometimes not so friendly banter. Initially it started out quite naughtily and many years later has sobered down into quite an informative forum.
Recently there was a mail forward from the group about happiness and Kushwant Singh's prescription for being happy. Iam reproducing below the mail forward and my response to it. Please read on.
EIGHT CLUES TO HAPPINESSBy- KHUSHWANT SINGHHaving lived a
reasonably contented life, I was musing over what a person should strive for to
achieve happiness. I drew up a list of a few essentials which I put forward for
the readers' appraisal.
1. First and foremost is GOOD HEALTH. If you do
not enjoy good health you can never be happy. Any ailment, however trivial, will
deduct from your happiness.
2. Second, a HEALTHY BANK BALANCE. It need
not run into crores but should be enough to provide for creature comforts and
something to spare for recreation, like eating out, going to the pictures,
travelling or going on holidays on the hills or by the sea. Shortage of money
can be only demoralizing. Living on credit or borrowing is demeaning and lowers
one in one's own eyes.
3. Third, a HOME OF YOUR OWN. Rented premises can
never give you the snug feeling of a nest which is yours for keeps that a home
provides: if it has a garden space, all the better. Plant your own trees and
flowers, see them grow and blossom, cultivate a sense of kinship with
4. Fourth, an UNDERSTANDING COMPANION, be it your spouse or a
friend. If there are too many misunderstandings, they will rob you of your peace
of mind. It is better to be divorced than to bicker all the time.
5. Fifth, LACK OF ENVY towards those who have done better than you in life; risen
higher, made more money, or earned more fame. Envy can be very corroding; avoid
comparing yourself with others.
6. Sixth, DO NOT ALLOW OTHER PEOPLE to
descend on you for gup-shup. By the time you get rid of them, you will feel
exhausted and poisoned by their gossip-mongering.
7. Seventh, CULTIVATE SOME HOBBIES which can bring you a sense of fulfilment, such as gardening, reading, writing, painting, playing or listening to music. Going to clubs or parties to get free drinks or to meet celebrities is criminal waste of
8. Eighth, every morning and evening, devote 15 minutes to INTROSPECTION.
In the morning, 10 minutes should be spent on stilling the mind
and then five in listing things you have to do that day. In the evening, five
minutes to still the mind again, and ten to go over what you had undertaken to
I have a simpler philosophy. Its actually an equation.
"Happiness is when Reality meets Expectations"
Kushwant Singh has given his list. Obviously all his expectations have been met. He is happy.
If one is able to list and quantify one's expectations be it wealth, fame, partner, hobby etc and if it has been achieved one will be very happy. The real problem happens when one is not sure of one's expectations and keeps chasing moving targets/goals.