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Happiness: The Goal of all Goals

Increasing Your Happiness

In a training session I conducted today on “Increasing Your Happiness Quotient,” as part of life skills enhancement FDP, I introduced an activity where participants asked each other, “What makes you happy?” The responses were diverse: relationships, love, money, shopping, gossiping, respect, hobbies, food… the list seemed endless. However, most of these answers fell into the realm of superficial happiness—the kind that offers short-lived joy from external sources. For instance, buying an expensive mobile phone, receiving compliments, or winning a game brings temporary pleasure.

Interestingly, only a few participants mentioned sublime happiness—the deep, enduring joy that comes from within. They spoke of the self-satisfaction they felt after acts of kindness or from a job well done. This kind of happiness points to a sense of purpose greater than oneself, leading to inner fulfillment and lasting contentment.

I then introduced them to the Happiness Equation propounded by Martin Seligman, a pioneer in Positive Psychology: H = S + C + V.

  • H stands for the enduring happiness we all seek.
  • S is our set point or genetic predisposition (50%).
  • C represents our circumstances (10%).
  • V denotes voluntary activities or choices (40%).

While we cannot change our genetics or most of the circumstances around us, the good news is that a significant part of our happiness—our choices and actions—is within our control. Let me illustrate this with an example: A friend of mine married into a very conservative family (circumstances) which felt stifling. Yet, she chose to immerse herself in her passion—painting. Through her art, she finds immense joy and appreciation. She didn’t stumble upon happiness by chance; she created it through her choices.

The crucial question is: How can we boost our happiness? It’s a life skill we all must learn and share with those around us. Enter PERMA-V, an easy-to-remember acronym that can guide us in fostering happiness:

  • P stands for Positivity. Cultivate positive thoughts, emotions, and actions, and you’ll naturally attract positive outcomes. This aligns with the wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita: “Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he is.”
  • E is for Engagement. Identify your strengths and dive into activities you love doing—be it marketing or teaching. When you’re fully absorbed in what you do, you experience ‘flow’ and bliss.
  • R means Relationships. Invest in genuine, supportive relationships that bring peace and fulfillment to your life. As social beings, long-lasting commitments keep us grounded and happy. And we need to reciprocate too, accordingly.
  • M represents Meaning. Find a purpose in life that’s bigger than yourself. With a clear destination, each day becomes a step towards fulfilling that purpose. We get up each morning with an enthusiasm to move forward in the chosen path.
  • A stands for Achievement. Celebrate every victory, no matter how small—whether it’s cooking a meal for your family or earning a promotion. Each achievement signifies your hard work.
  • V reminds us of Vitality. Enhance it through good nutrition, adequate sleep, and regular exercise. Practically, don’t be ideal, but real. Keep space for a cheat meal, not a cheat day, I’d say. A healthy mind thrives in a healthy body.

In conclusion, let me share what makes me happy—meditation. This consistent mindfulness practice recharges my spirit, connecting me with a Higher Power each morning, so that I am ready to face life’s challenges with renewed vigor. Try it, and see the difference it makes.

Increase your happiness quotient by practicing at least some of the techniques discussed above. Stay happy, and strive to spread happiness around.

Learning from Leaders