An ancient Chinese philosopher was able to sum up an important lesson for his readers into just two lines of dialogue.
He asked his Master, “Who shall we consider the most intelligent person?”.
“The one who’s the happiest”, the Master replied.
Eid, an occasion of happiness and gratitude, was celebrated with the utmost joy and tranquillity all across the Islamic World, under the shadow of the COVID19 pandemic last week. Such occasions bring us inner satisfaction, as we perform our religious duties, and meet and greet our acquaintances with sheer affection. All of these emotions and passions are driven by the state of “Happiness”.
Happiness is the most important emotion in a person’s life. One must not forget that the state of happiness has much to do with our mindset and thinking as well. It wouldn’t be wrong if I said that out of the very few elements that give direction to our actions, our way of thinking is one of them. Whether our mindset is right or wrong, optimistic or full of pessimism, it leaves a mark on not just our personality, but on others as well. With every passing day, we meet different kinds of people. Their characters leave an impression. These impressions have a certain effect on us in our daily lives. Keeping my meagre observation in mind, it won’t be wrong to say that a person with a negative approach can actually ruin your mood in seconds, and vice versa.
The problem is that we assume that the effect of our mindset is limited to an extent which only includes ourselves. The truth is otherwise. In actuality, every human being has a certain aura, which basically depicts one’s mindset. This means that aura influences our personality in the same way as our mindset, for one cannot see, only feel, the energy that they absorb from the other person’s presence. That is why we often observe that when we sit around those who possess traits such as tranquillity and spiritual harmony, we find peace and solace that humanity yearns for in the hustle and bustle of the world.
According to the research of the American International Science Foundation, a normal human has around 12000-60000 thoughts in a single day. Around 80% of them are negative. Cornell University’s psychologists state that around 85% of our thoughts are mere assumptions that never become reality. The remaining 15% of thoughts are basic concerns. 79 % of those are issues that we find a solution for, unexpectedly. The remaining issues that remain unsolved leave us lessons that we can utilize in endeavours throughout our later lives. Now the question remains, what is the basic requirement for positive thinking? “Contentment” is the answer. The problem with our psyche is that we label the attainment of certain luxuries or the achievement of specific goals as happiness. It has become stuck in our minds that the pursuit of success will be a source of happiness for us. Rest assured, if bliss ever resided in worldly success, people would not have yearned for anti-depressants and sleeping pills.
Tranquillity is not dependent on success. However, success does rely on one’s internal satisfaction. Howard University’s researchers have observed that those businessmen who have the elements of gratification in themselves are 31% more successful, as their sales are 37% higher than those who are opposite. Shawn Anchor, in his book “The Happiness Advantage”, says that it’s not the life that teaches us how to perceive things, but it’s the lens of our mindset that we wear, through which we observe and ingest different situations. However, on this matter, you could point out that people are not brought up in similar circumstances. We, as humans, have to face varying situations in our lives. How then can people be expected to be equally satisfied in their lives? A similar question was raised in front of a professor at the University of California. He said that only 10% of our lives are based on our circumstances, the rest is on those activities that we deliberately choose to get indulged in.
Individuals collectively form a society. A society is only driven by the people and their mindsets. We cannot say that our mentality is fenced to affect only us, for it is quite obvious that our attitude does leave, if not completely, some impression on those who reside around us. That is why it’s not just a moral but social responsibility too. Humans have a tendency to absorb the actions of others. That is the reason why it has always been said that “actions speak louder than words”. Our existence is like a reflection on a mirror. The reflection that we see, our own, begins to appear upon the hundreds of faces we encounter in our daily lives.
Just think for an instance. What if you’re happy about something, but the people around you are dull and censured, will you be able to cherish the moment? Certainly not; because one thing is for sure, you and I are associated with our surroundings in various manners. Our religion has taught us to be empathetic to others. It even teaches us to remove a stone from a road track, so that the travellers do not face any sort of hindrance. Let’s try to be a source of ease for others. While travelling through Lahore during Eid days, I could observe how people turned “roads” into “dumping sights”. I wish we could be more empathetic and think of those who travel on the roads. For that can also be a source of internal happiness. To be a source of compassion and comfort does not cost anything. In fact, you don’t need a heavy pocket for it either. All you need is a heart full of tenderness and empathy. For as Hazrat e Allama Iqbal said:
دلِ زندہ بھی کر خدا سے طلب
آنکھ کا نور دل کا نور نہیں
[Yearn for a lively heart as well from God
For the glare of eyes is not the light of Heart]