The No. 1 Reason Why We Do What We Do

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Have you ever stopped and asked yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” You think for a moment and then answer the question. You then ask yourself why again, and every time you answer you keep asking yourself why until you can go no further or end up repeating the same answer.

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That's exactly what happened to me the other day. It was a Friday evening and I was working late in the office trying to finish off a report. Everyone else had left for the weekend and there I was all alone in the office. That was when it struck me, an inner voice whispered, “What are you doing here? Why are you still here?” What ensued was a conversation between me and my inner voice which went as follows.

Inner Voice: What are you doing here? Why are you still here?

Me: I’ve got to finish this report, I need an achievement to show that I’m doing a good job.

Inner Voice: And why do you need that?

Me: Times are tough, I need to show that I’m doing well in my job to keep my job secure.

Inner Voice: But why is that important?

Me: I need the income, I’ve got to save up to put three kids through university over the next ten years.

Inner Voice: And why do you need to do that?

Me: So that my kids can support themselves in the future and have the best chance to pursue a career of their choosing in a field that they are passionate about.

Inner Voice: And why do you want that?

Me: So I don’t have to worry about them and they will be happy.

Inner Voice: Why?

Me: Then I will be Happy.

Inner Voice: Why?

Me: That’s it. I just want to be Happy I guess. No more whys.

Apparently, I’m not alone in wanting to be Happy, I’ve talked to many people, read hundreds of books and what drives most people to do what they do is the desire to be Happy. There are many, many books and articles that have been written on Happiness, yet for many, it remains elusive or at best fleeting, like catching a glimpse of a snow leopard in the wild.

The English word Happy is said to be derived from an Old Norse word that means Lucky or Fortunate. This further illustrates the rareness of Happiness, even among people who lived hundreds of years ago, and begs the question:

 If so many people want happiness, why do so few find it consistently?


This will be the main theme of this blog. I don’t claim to have all the answers and I’m just starting out with blogging, but this blog will seek to explore many of the pieces of the happiness puzzle, its pursuit, and other related topics. The aim of this blog is threefold:

  1. Brighten Up Peoples Days and Turn Frowns into Smiles
  2. Spread and share a message of Positivity, Abundance & Love
  3. Provide Valuable Insights that help People to lead Rich, Fulfilling & Meaningful Lives.

It will be a long journey and these are but my first few steps, but I’m relishing it and very much looking forward to it. Join me on this journey and do share with your friends, the more the merrier.

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Ok…on to the heart of today’s blog post.

Many people think that their happiness depends on only one thing. For example, …. If only I had a million dollars I would be happy……. if only I had a Mercedes I would be happy……if only I could lose some weight I would be happy …. You get the idea. The problem is that it doesn’t work like that. The case of numerous lottery winners who end up even more unhappy a few months after they've won the lottery is well known.

undefinedIt brings to mind a memory about my time as a young parent. When my son wanted a certain toy, he would put on this sad look that would melt my heart in an instance. I would drive him to the toy shop and buy him the toy he wanted. Seeing the smile, hearing his excited laughter and feeling the glow of happiness on his face upon getting what he wanted would really make my day. As you might have guessed, one week later he would be bored with his toy and two weeks later the cycle would start again.  Luckily I soon realised that this was neither healthy nor sustainable for me or my dear boy.

One of the major difficulties with pursuing happiness is that it cannot be pursued directly. Often it is a by-product of other things that you do or achieve. For example, you may give charity and you feel good and happy about it. You didn’t set out to give charity in order to be happy, you gave charity because you thought it was a worthy cause, but a by-product of that act of charity is that it made you Happy.

This has many similarities to the concept of Emergent Properties from Systems Thinking (a passion of mine). The basic idea of the concept is that, while the elements of the system may not individually possess certain properties, these properties emerge out of the interaction between the individual elements.

undefinedOne example might be that of baking of a cake. The ingredients you use, the specific quantities, and the sequence and process you use to combine them together will affect the resulting taste and texture of the cake. The individual ingredients have very different tastes and textures as compared to the final cake. Likewise, varying, adding or omitting certain ingredients, or changing the sequence, can give you a very different result.

Thinking that happiness is dependent on getting or achieving a single thing is like trying to bake a cake with only one ingredient.

For a rainbow to form in the sky a light source (the sun) and something to refract the light (rain drops) is needed. We can repeat this process in a laboratory using an electric light as the light source and a glass prism to refract the light. Thus, we know that visible white light is composed of a spectrum of colours. These colours combine to form white light as we see it and the individual colours are not normally perceived. To see the colours of the spectrum the white light first needs to be refracted. In the next blog post, I will attempt to act as a prism and refract the light of happiness so we may explore the rainbow of happiness and its individual colours.

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I hope you have enjoyed reading my first blog post.

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What do you think about today’s blog post? Drop me a comment, I would love to know your views.

Thanks for reading my blog post and I’ll see you in the next post.

Keep Smiling,

Zahir

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