To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.buddha
While much younger, I was always shy to approach people and talk.
Especially girls my age.
I always wondered how to talk to the opposite sex and keep engaged in a meaningful way. Part of the problem where I grew was that there was a clear demarcation between boys and girls. And anyone who broke the rules, were severely punished.
The above thought that came to my mind while I started to write about the main topic for the day. I included that anyway.
We all aim to be happy in life. I too chased happiness without first realising what I ultimately wanted in my life. Anyway, I chased it. I thought if I attained ‘that’ particular thing, I would be happy.
For most of us, happiness means being rich, being wealthy; for others it is about fame; for some it is about social media followers, likes and so on. Nothing wrong with that.
In my quest to reach that success and happiness goal, I took unwanted risks – physical, mental and financial. The results were not what I wanted to achieve. FAILURE.
I am lucky, I realised that I was not going the right way. My life compass was showing a different position to where I was destined to go. Thanks to the people around me and my own realization.
It may happen to you. Wandering in your life without a particular destiny. The sooner you realize this, the better. In our quest for a peaceful, happy life, we knock on many doors without knowing what the outcomes are.
I am no different. I chased people. I chased money. I chased fame. I chased wealth. But nothing came out of it. My compass showed that I had been to thousand destinations with no particular aim.
Now, when I see in hindsight, things could be much simple had I been a bit careful. Attaining happiness need not be complicated. I figured out that if you pay attention to the 4 areas of your life, happiness can be conquered:
#Financial Fitness 💰
It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor.seneca
Money plays a very important role in our lives. From the day we are born till our last day on this earth, money touches every aspect of our life. I take it very seriously.
Attaining financial fitness has not come easy to me. It took several experiments with my finances.
From a very young age, my mom taught me the importance of money and savings. Having money does not guarantee happiness. But it helps you a lot to get closer to it. Without proper financial planning you will be worse off. And being worse off will lead you to be sad. And that is not good.
Being financially fit will help you concentrate on other areas of your life. On the other hand, if you are not financially fit, you’d always be thinking about your finances while rest of the other areas of your life will suffer. That’s why this is the number 1 item on my list.
Simple ways to secure financial fitness?
- Have clear financial goals: Before you begin, know your current financial position and where do you want to reach and a clear timeline. Look at your goals at least once a week. Correct the course of your journey if you feel that you are not on the right track.
- Hire a professional: If you are not able to get around planning your finances, you should hire a personal finance expert (like Certified Financial Planner). Because they have dealt with many people like you, they would have a better idea on how to take care of your problems. Make sure that the person you are hiring is a trustworth one!
- Keep debt to a minimum: One important lesson I learnt after losing my job and burdened with debt was that, it can play dirty tricks. Take only good debt. A good debt is the one where you use the loan amount for a productive cause like a home loan where home is rented out etc. Do not get into personal loans for a vacation, marriage, gadgets etc. (You know better!!)
- Keep control of you lifestyle: Your income may rise over years. This does not mean your lifestyle should too. Keep your expenses under check.
- Have a household budget: This is very important. Have a household budget and stick to it. Discuss with your spouse regularly about any financial matters. And don’t hide your debt from your spouse. This may ruin relationships.
- Read personal finance books: Start with books like, Rich Dad Poor Dad. It gives you wealth of knowledge. Invest in courses related to personal finance.
- Invest only with conviction: I primarily invest in stock market. When I started investing in stock market, I used to invest based on what others said or a tips received from colleagues. I burnt fingers. Nowadays, I invest when and only I have a great conviction on a company.
- Save on monthly basis on autopilot: I have set up a separate bank account where a portion of my monthly income goes irrespective of the expenses. Save first, then spend.
#Physical Fitness 💪🏻
Strength does not come from the physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.mahatma gandhi
I grew up looking up to my grandfather, who at the age of 70 had a great body with flat tummy and awesome biceps and shoulders.
We all get busy. We are busy with day job, family activities, social activities. And we neglect us. Our bodies and minds are the most important asset that we have.
Yet, we neglect to take care of it. Like I said, I too neglected it far too long. Busy with chasing many things in life, my body was not at the top of quality like it should.
You may be feeling this: tired, lethargic, overwhelmed. I feel this too.
When I met former 3 times Olympics runner from Netherlands, Marko Koers, he mentioned this was due lack of physical fitness. I had to take his words seriously.
Everyone knows that they need to do physical activities on a daily basis. But most of give in to talking ourselves out of that.
Easy ways to attain Physical Fitness?
- Start small: Start with daily walk of up to 1 kilometer and increase the frequency as the days go by.
- Commit daily to at least 30 minutes of physical exercise.
- Track your progress daily. Maintain a log of your exercises. I maintain a habit tracker where I maintain my daily habits and count days at the end of month for each activities. Makes me happy.
- Involve in a physical game. I play badminton every week with my friends for 2 hours. You may play any other game you like which involves physical movements. (not video games!!) 😁
#Spiritual Fitness 🙏🏻
You have to grow from the inside out. None can teach you, none can make you spiritual. There is no other teacher but your own soul.swami vivekananda
I grew up in a conservative Catholic family. We had our daily prayers and we still do.
While I do follow my religion, I am more of a spiritual person these days.
I am more concerned these days about my impact on the society and my contribution to the society. Once I used to be running behind possessions. These days I prefer to be a minimalist than acquire worldly possessions. I believe that I have a reason and purpose to be on this earth.
Spirituality involves the recognition of a feeling or sense or belief that there is something greater than myself, something more to being human than sensory experience, and that the greater whole of which we are part is cosmic or divine in nature. (Taken from https://www.rcpsych.ac.uk)
How to be Spiritual?
- What is your purpose in life?
- Why are you on this earth?
- What is your intention?
- What are your goals? And are these goals larger than you?
- What impact will you be leaving on this earth?
When I asked this questions to myself, I was surprised with the answers that I received from myself. This takes time. It is not a one day or one week exercise. You could spend your whole life looking for answers. But, you being here on this earth has much more meaning than you imagine.
We always underestimate ourselves. We think we are ordinary.
You are a creation and part of something that is much bigger. You are a part of this cosmos. Understand the true meaning of your life. Understand that being spiritual is deeply personal.
Ways to be spiritual: (read more)
- Earth based Spirituality
- Metaphysical Spirituality
- Body based Spirituality
- Heart based Spirituality
- Mind based Spirituality
#Relationship Fitness 💑
You don’t develop courage by being happy in your relationships everyday. You develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.epicurus
How many of you can say that you are thriving in your relationships?
No many, I am sure.
This is because, we have become very self centred these days. The ‘I’ has become more powerful that the ‘WE’
If you attained all forms of success and are behind on your relationships aspect, can you be called happy?
I know, the days are shorter, work is more, deadlines are severe, pressure is high. And due to all this, our main department of relationships gets hampered.
Humans are a social creature. It is hard for us to live secluded. It is how our forefathers survived. It is what gives us strength. So, every human thrives because of relationships. That’s why a family stays together. Nature has put a great importance in relationships between humans. And despite this, we see that in our lives we neglect the relationships that matter the most.
Healthy relationships help us in living longer, lessen the stress, heal us better, live longer, makes us stable, emotional well being and so on. There are numerous examples of positive effects of healthy relationships.
However stressed I am, when I see my daughter, I am relieved of all my pain. I have a purpose to live. I am emotionally drawn to her. Such is the power of relationships.
But in our younger years, we tend to be confused with this and fall in relationship traps that are unhealthy.
How to thrive in Relationships?
- Put in effort to maintain a good and healthy relationship
- Be genuine
- Treat others the way you would like to be treated
- Be proactive and nurture personal and professional relations
Mental Fitness and Emotional Fitness 😔
I am not going to write more about mental fitness and emotional fitness. These are part of the overall fitness that you will need in order to be happy.
These days, more importance is being given to emotional quotient. We see that humans on a daily basis are losing empathy towards fellow humans. We have become very self centred and selfish. All we care about is ourselves. The media, social media has not helped in this and has to certain extent accelerated the self centred world.
Keeping mentally and emotionally fit will lead to a great deal of increase in your happiness levels.
But all hope is not lost. You are here. You are alive. You are kicking it. All it takes is a single person taking the leap.
I am not perfect myself. Just by writing this, I have not attained any perfection or Nirvana. I too am a work in progress. But I am aware of what needs to be done to be happy. All you need to be on the journey to happiness is to realise that you can be happy. While happiness is the goal, the journey itself is beautiful. Enjoy the journey.
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