‘That’s a funny thing to ask isn’t it? Surely everyone wants to be happy?’ Asks Now! Publisher Alistair Speirs ‘But how many people do we meet who truly exude happiness? Who makes you feel better just by being in their company? Not many I guess but possibly more here in Indonesia than in many countries! But how to become that person who is innately and genuinely happy? You need to contact the one person who can really help: YOU!’
There is only one person who dictates when you are happy, angry, sad, disappointed or content. And it’s not your boss, your spouse or your friends. It’s you. So get in touch with the inner you as soon as possible and have a chat about what it is that is really keeping you from being happy. Be open. Be honest. You have nothing to hide from yourself - do you?
But maybe you need some help with how to approach this important discussion so to find some good ideas I turned to a few different sources to find out how the most successful groups have done it.
The first is the Japanese, particularly those who live in Okinawa who are famed for being both long-lived and exceptionally contented people. At the core of their philosophy is the concept of IKIGAI, which loosely translated means ‘The Reason for Living’. This is based on four factors which have to positively intersect and interact : your passions and your mission, which dictates what you love doing, and how you do it; your vocation, which dictates what you need to do; your profession which is what you get paid for and what you should be good at. Seems like a good start.
But before we settle on this philosophy as the ultimat answer, let’s go to the other side of the world to Denmark to meet another basically happy population who embrace a slightly different life concept, that of HYGGE, which goes not to philosophical directions but really physical things you can do every day to be happier. Here’s what they suggest: start cycling and stop driving, as much as practical. Cycling brings you close to your community, let’s you see and feel the surroundings.
Secondly, light candles to give a homely and comforting atmosphere, all year round, and while you are doing that enjoy hot drinks: chocolate, tea, and coffee, the great comfort drinks. Concentrate on simple but delicious foods, dishes that you love and enjoy. All that certainly makes sense. Next, make sure your surroundings are comfortable with nice rugs & cushions, and soft furnishings. Make yourself cozy! Then go for walks whenever you can. They will re-centre you, and remind you that nature is (or should be) all around. Last, but really important: be here now. Don’t be focused on the internet, the handphone, the next meeting, the things you might be doing. Enjoy the ones you are doing!
So far so good. We have both some philosophical and some physical guidance to achieve our happiness, but what both are saying is that we need to makechanges if we are not happy. Continuing to do and think the same things will lead to, guess what, the same result! We need first to understood what our passions and missions are, so we can feel we are on the right track to actually accomplish something, to give us a real reason to get up in the morning and go into battle to achieve our, hopefully, heart-felt goals. Then we need to make sure our way of life supports our goals in order to be happy. We need to deliberately slow down, be comfortable, be cozy, be relaxed.
The synopsis of what an Ikigai/Hygge life would be something like this:
• Find your passion, and set your goals.
• Stay active, don’t retire, but take it slow.
• Eat your favorite foods - but don’t eat too much.
• Surround yourself with good friends and always be comfortable.
• Reconnect with nature and get fit, Live in the moment and smile!.
Of course you’ll have to live 6 months in Denmark and 6 months in Okinawa to do this properly, but surely that will be great.
In the meantime, stay safe, stay happy, and relax.