For the longest time, I’ve asked for nothing more than to be happy. Life experiences have attempted to rob me off my perfect bubble of “happiness”, and many a time, it did work. I’ve tried my best to not feel jaded and for years, all I’ve ever wished for was to be happy. But what does being happy really mean?
In this book by Francois Lelord, a psychiatrist by the name of Hector explores the world to know the true meaning of happiness. In his travels, he met people from all walks of life who have stories to tell. From these stories, and his own personal travel experiences, he comes up with a list of what makes people happy / what can ruin happiness
And the list is as below. I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of some of the things listed. Up till last year, I was making comparisons of my life to that of others (point number 1). How they’ve reach life’s milestones that are still somewhat out of my reach. And it made me very, very unhappy. But I managed to shake the feeling off last year, and focused on the here and now (point number 3) of my own life. Honestly, I’ve been happier since – because my life despite all the imperfections isn’t so bad after all.
1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness
2. Happiness often comes when least expected
3. Many people only see happiness in their future
4. Many people think happiness comes from having more power or more money
5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story
Points number 7 and 10 are are also poignant to me. I guess all those years I’ve wanted to be happy without knowing what or how I was going to achieve it – and that brought on more unhappiness. As for point number 10, I’ve always believed that if you love your job, it isn’t really a job, it just become a part of your life – almost like a hobby where you get paid. And years back when I was on the hunt for my first job, I told myself that my happiness comes first – that I need to be happy where I work, and with what I do. Money shouldn’t ever compromise that.
And today, after grasping that belief over the years, I’ve finally found a job that fits both criteria.
6. Happiness is a long walk in beautiful, unfamiliar mountains
7. It’s a mistake to think that happiness is the goal
8. Happiness is being with the people you love; unhappiness is being separated from the people you love
9. Happiness is knowing that your family lacks for nothing
10. Happiness is doing a job you love
Not too sure what it feels like having my own house and my own garden, but I can definitely relate to being loved for exactly who I am. And let me tell you, it’s the best feeling ever. In a society where perfection is key (actually that applies in my own head too), it’s almost a heaven-sent gift when you’re loved as you are – turning your mere imperfections into the ultimate perfection.
Ditto on point number 15, new experiences (be it on travels or on an everyday basis) makes you feel so glad to be alive.
11. Happiness is having a home and a garden of your own
12. It’s harder to be happy in a country run by bad people
13. Happiness is feeling useful to others
14. Happiness is to be loved for exactly who you are (People are kinder to a child who smiles)
15. Happiness comes when you feel truly alive
Truly agree with point number 18. I’ve always gone against societal conventions and as long as I know that it is not illegal nor harming anyone else, why shouldn’t go ahead with how I live my life?
16. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate
17. Happiness is caring about the happiness of those you love
18. Happiness is not attaching too much importance to what other people think
19. The sun and the sea make everybody happy
Point number 20: a case of thinking if the glass is half-full or half empty. Sometimes a different perspective changes a lot of how we feel about things. Also, a little healthy competition is always good, but too much of it can poison everything.
20. Happiness is a certain way of seeing things
21. Rivalry poisons happiness
22. Women care more than men about making others happy
23. Happiness means making sure that those around you are happy
In a nutshell, Hector and the Search of Happiness is a very short, lighthearted book that could easily be a casual read. The tone is almost childlike, with vague details at some points where you’d need to think of what exactly the author is referring to in the present time and age. It is truly a cross between The Little Prince and The Alchemist. A delightful, almost magical read.