Don’t Worry. Be Happy

Words: Jawahar NIDAMBOOR

Happiness is not the same thing as pleasure, or outward enjoyment. It is, in essence, deeper or even broader. As Helen Keller put it, “Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”

Human happiness cannot exist in a vacuum. This is because the greatest delight of which each of us is capable, cannot arise, or sustain, unless others around us are equally buoyant — to enjoy their share of happiness. This is also because, we, as philosopher Tom Morris states, are inextricably linked. There lies a paradox. Because, in reality, pure happiness goes beyond the realm of a ‘fixed’ classification. The more one aspires to ‘achieve’ happiness, the worse is the resultant effect.

True Happiness

True happiness depends on how one feels about it in real life. It comes from within. It is not dependent on outward circumstances. The best way is to make happiness ‘work’ — to energise our sense of well-being, strengthen, and also broaden it, and make it more active, vibrant.

Says Abhishek Prasad, a management professional, “Happiness is a state of mind, our attitude to life. It, therefore, differs from person to person.” Says Kiron Shenoy, a management guru and life coach, “Happiness?  Nothing more than a life well-spent, a well-maintained home, a ‘sweet-willed’ wife and bright kids.” For J K Arun, a newspaper vendor, watching a new movie on the first day of release is absolute happiness — a sense of triumph.

Happiness lies in achievement, rather than in possession, or satiation. As philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “We need resistance to raise us, as it raises the airplane, or the bird; we need obstacles against which to sharpen our strength and stimulate our growth.” Yet, whichever way you look at it, happiness is a state of being as Lizette W Reese expressed in A Little Song of Life: “Glad that I live am I;/That the sky is blue;/Glad for the country lanes,/And the fall of dew.”

Happiness Is In Your Genes

According to psychologist and virtuoso writer, Daniel Goleman, PhD, “Happiness seems to be largely determined by the genes, not by outside reality. However tragic or comic life’s up and downs, people appear to return inexorably to whatever happiness level is pre-set in their constitution.” “The idea,” observes Goleman, “is similar to the set-point concept in weight control, a theory that says the brain seems to be ‘wired’ to turn the body’s metabolism up or down to maintain a pre-set weight.”

Psychologists Edward and Carol Diener, who analysed happiness ‘set-points,’ articulated that it’s important for motivational reasons that people “not be in a negative mood most of the time; an optimistic state of mind is a prerequisite to obtaining goodies like food, shelter, social support etc.,” This is because positive moods ‘fuel’ human sociability, exploration and creativity, and also produce a strong immune response to illness.

This is precisely the reason why we so often look into the difficulty of life and say — oh, no!  Because, in the ‘merry-go-round’ of existence, time does not stand still. We have to rally, and take the bull by the horns. More than that, we have to take the rough with the smooth, and smooth with the rough.

We ought to try, and try to be ourselves, whatever the reading is on our ‘Happiness Meter.’ This is our only way to happiness. 

Celebrity Happiness ‘Quotient’

Celebrities may have their own ‘formula’ for happiness. Here goes our ‘picks’ —

What is Amir Khan’s suggestion for achieving happiness?

In actuality, to essentially have your own ‘awareness.’ You are your best psychoanalyst, albeit you can certainly give your ear, not mind, to everybody. Or, divorce, and get married to another, and find new happiness, from time to time [pun intended].

What is Aishwarya Rai-Bachchan’s advice for achieving happiness?

I think the best piece of advice I can give is, no matter what, hold on to your man [or, woman].

What is Shah Rukh Khan’s advice for achieving happiness?

The best piece of advice I can give to anyone for happiness is to always stay strong and follow your inner voice. Because, this is what I did, despite rejection, about my looks, early on. I am still successful at everything, including cricket, and I think that every day is different. But, Jab Tak Hai Jaan just ‘stay’ positive and ‘go’ after what you want in life, including your dreams. 

What is Salman Khan’s advice for achieving happiness?

Just be happy. Just be joyful. Life is not Dabangg; just be happy.

What is Sanjay Dutt’s advice for achieving happiness?

To achieve happiness, you need to follow my Munna Bhai exemplar. Whether you are short, thin, tall, or fat, rich, or poor, you should ‘walk tall’ and follow Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings. Hugs are a must — jaadu ki chappi. When you have self-belief, no matter what you’re doing, or not doing, you will be confident.

What is Test cricket’s ‘Mr Dependable’ Cheteshwar Pujara’s axiom for achieving happiness?

To get something that you never had, you have to do something that was not done. In simple terms, you should just focus and fulfil your dreams.

JAWAHAR NIDAMBOOR, BPharm, MSc [UK], in Industrial Pharmaceutics, PGD in Drug Regulatory Affairs, and PGD in Marketing Management [NMIMS], is a marketing and communications professional, registered pharmacist, independent researcher, teacher, life coach, scientific and popular writer, and co-author of four books on natural health and wellness. He is, at present, Head-Medical Affairs & Operations, Scientimed Solutions Pvt Ltd, Mumbai, India.

[This article was first published August 15, 2021].

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