In this column, even though we usually discuss business and making profits, it is thought that it should have a discussion on life, because all businesses are operated by human beings and produce goods and services to make human life more comfortable. Mankind has been in search of what life is. Different people have defined life in different ways grounded on their experiences and knowledge. However, it seems to be extremely difficult to find out the most suitable definition of life, because life is more complex than we think.
People in the modern world are so busy that they have no time to even think of what life is for or what life is. A simple answer to that question with which many can agree is “life is for being happy”. Due to the unrealistic expectations, people are running a rat race to be ahead of others, paying little attention to competing against oneself. Spending the day with endless time tables, some don’t know that they are really living and have at least a life. Hence, let’s find out what life is for.
The strategies which people apply to obtain happiness in life can vary from person to person. It is of the essence to note here that in the journey to achieve happiness, undoubtedly, many do not hesitate to define happiness in life as acquisition of wealth. The argument presented to justify this stance is that nothing can be achieved sans wealth in this commercialized world. Nevertheless, for many men, the acquisition of wealth does not end their troubles, it only changes them. Although it has been proved that even the wealthiest suffer from problems, many people are still running a rat race to make money. Opportunity cost of earning money is huge. In other words, once you make money so as to be wealthier, you will lose many things such as relations among family members, your obligations to society and finally, even happiness which is considered the ultimate goal of making money.
It has to be stated that life is not for running after happiness but for living with happiness. As always stressed by most successful persons in the world, they did not find out happiness, after being wealthy or successful. They could find out the satisfaction in the journey towards the success. By extension, people ought to be able to really enjoy whatever they do. As a consequence, it can become a panacea that will of course motivate and encourage people to achieve set objectives.
Sources of happiness
Sources of happiness are different from person to person. That is why, everybody cannot be happy by watching the same movie and listening to the same song. However, there are common sources which will provide people with happiness alike. There are no two words that at least, basic needs have to be met, so that human kind can be happy. Money might make truly poor people happier, fulfilling their needs. But, question that has to be raised is that after basic needs are met, whether people are satisfied with it or not. They hope more. Once again, they become sad.
The pleasure seems to be a mirage in this state of affairs. Unrealistic hopes and countless wants will spontaneously make people sad. The apex of losing happiness may be the disillusionment, disappointment and in the end, even suicide. If so, it can be stated that best way to be happy is being simple. One ought to find pleasure within oneself. If a person can make others happy in his span of life, many people would cry so much on the day when that man will pass away.
The emphasis has to be given that what people do with the hope of pleasure can, to a greater extent, put others’ lives at risk. In other words, you drive your car speedily, as the speed really gives you a great pleasure. On the other hand, it causes severe inconvenience to others on the road. Once you tune in to radio more loudly, your neighbours are badly hurt. It is not difficult to find these kinds of examples in Sri Lanka. Furthermore, it can be obviously seen that the wrong ways that people use to be happy will certainly endanger others’ pleasure. Hence, it can be proved that being happy is an activity that has to be performed collectively, not individually. As long as people are selfish, real pleasure cannot be achieved.
When you are pleased, it will make others happy around you as well. What many researches unanimously say is that happiness can cure even some deadly diseases such as cancer. The smile can be introduced as the symbol of pleasure. It is the smile that tells others that you are happy. Therefore, take a few minutes and think of what life is for, because it will add something to plans that you have already drawn. Whatever definition you make of life, it is comprised of the word ‘happiness’. Certainly, life is for being happy.
(Amila Muthukutti holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of Colombo and can be reached at email@example.com)