Tag Archives: Happiness

What Do I Need to Be Happy?

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore 

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What do we really need right now, to be happy?

A new car, a new house, a new friend…

What do we lack right now?

Does anything need to change in order for us to be happy?

What do we really need? Do we really need anything in order to be happy?

Powerful Questions. Food for thought.

Sharon Salzberg, the author of the book “The Kindness Handbook” (http://www.flipkart.com/kindness-handbook-practical-companion/p/itmdyjz4nhmhhgcq?pid=9781591796558&otracker=from-search&srno=t_1&query=The+kindness+handbook&ref=fed7a838-4f9a-4347-ad86-ce392709fb79) shares her experience while staying at a monastery in South East Asia. At the monastery, there was generally no charge for staying and the food was donated by “groups or families who come to the center to make the offerings”. Therefore, the food that was provided was varied depending on the circumstances of those donating. Sometimes, bountiful. Sometimes, meager.

Sharon recounts: “Time after time, I went into the dining room for a meal and looked at the faces of the people who had made the offering, since they commonly come to watch you receive it. They would look radiant, so happy that they’d had an opportunity to feed us, to offer something that would help sustain us. They seemed so happy that we were going to be meditating, exploring the truth, and purifying our minds and hearts on the strength of their offering. In that moment, when they were so genuinely grateful for the chance to give, I would ask myself, ‘What do I really need right now in order to be happy?” I realized that I was getting fed a lot more by their joy and delight than I was by the actual food”.

As we journey through our manifold experiences in life, we yearn for happiness and spend time and energy looking for it. I have come to believe that performing acts of kindnesses is what brings me true, genuine and abiding happiness.

I asked some of our colleagues about what truly makes them happy. This is what they had to say:

… spending time with my family especially with my daughter makes me feel happy; when I work hard and do things differently, a bit of appreciation makes me feel happy.

… being truthful and down to earth even in a critical situation & living a simple life makes me happy.

… I feel happy when I can help my fellow people… and see them happy.

… talking to Dad makes me happy – his composed and relaxed voice reflecting patience & satisfaction with his accomplishments  gives me energy and motivation to keep trying until I succeed.

What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?

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Real Beauty: Perceptions Differ

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By Malathy Madathilezham

One of the definitions of the word Beauty (as given by Merriam- Webster) is the quality or aggregate of qualities in a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses or pleasurably exalts the mind or spirit. Thus it is related to our senses, our mind and our spirit. This means that real beauty would be different for different people. This is quite obvious when we observe physical concepts of beauty differ in different cultures, races, countries etc. These concepts change with time. Another aspect of this definition of beauty is that these are qualities, which are not necessarily the visual qualities. So anything can be beautiful; music, fragrance, the inherent or developed qualities of a human being.

Let me restrict myself to human beings. In the present scenario, everyone wants to ‘look’ beautiful! A lot of importance is being given to superficial and external beauty. Scientists are coming out with the measurements/ratios of ‘perfect’ or ‘real’ beauty. Plastic surgeons are using these measurements to make people look beautiful. In addition we have the various creams, serums that are supposed to make us look beautiful and then the gyms and fitness clubs. The cosmetics and fashion industry is thriving on the aspirations of millions to match the concepts of beauty that is being ‘sold’ to them through various media. Thus a lot of economic activity is being driven by the ‘want’ to look beautiful. Mine and your want..

But what about ‘feeling’ beautiful? That feeling which does not necessarily come out of how we look. This sense of feeling beautiful depends on our emotional well being, our happiness and human qualities of kindness, empathy and the like. The kind of lifestyle we lead nowadays with all its tensions, pressures is not exactly helping us feel good about ourselves. We lament about the lack of everything but do nothing about improving our situation. We want to look good and beautiful to others, hide our real self beneath this veneer of ‘Beauty’. But how long would this last… thus we have rising problems of depression, burnouts etc. The pressure on us to match up to the ideals of beauty, success, happiness is too much to handle and makes us forget true happiness, our true beauty and ourselves. The external image that we present to others is but a distortion of what we truly are… In the glam and glitter of the world around us, we lose sense of real beauty… and join the rat race of looking beautiful rather than being beautiful.

For me real beauty is within each of us. To discover that beauty within us and within others is truly a gift. Of course, a good dress, or haircut, or a bright nail polish does make me happy but it can only do so much to add to my self-confidence and self-image. What I am, how beautiful I truly am depends on my actions, my thoughts that are again relative and need not be the same for you. Basically there is nothing real… it’s all an illusion… and my illusion differs from yours!! I believe everybody is beautiful in his or her own unique way. So why don’t you sit down and think about what does being beautiful mean to you?

Make Others HAPPY :-)

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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Anne Frank wanted to be a writer.

She became one, but only after her death in a Nazi concentration camp at the young age of 15.

While in hiding from the Nazis for 2 long years, she could say with confidence that she “wanted to be useful or bring enjoyment to all people, even those” she had “never met”.

She believed that whoever is happy will make others happy as well.

Happiness and wanting to make others happy even when in hiding and in pain…

How do we compare?

Do we want to make others happy?

Are we attentive, polite and courteous?

Do we display kindness and concern?

The time to be MINDFUL is now. And the place to be MINDFUL is here.

Kindness Recycled

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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“There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” Dalai Lama

There are everyday stories of kindness, compassion, warmth and love that fill our hearts with inspiration and hope. We are an amazing community of Happiest Minds where we can be kind to one another, grow together and spread ripples of kindness throughout the world. Genuine kindness is no ordinary act, but a gift of rare beauty.

I learnt lessons on kindness from my father…in his carrying goodies in the car to give to people at traffic lights, in giving blankets to the homeless who live on the streets, in providing the means for education to many, many financially challenged children, in giving an unused pair of spectacles to an old lady at a traffic signal after she bumped into the car because she could not see and also taking her to the optician…there are many such instances….the list continues to grow.

I learnt to be kind and gracious by just looking at his life…I am still learning…

No act of kindness, no matter how small…is ever wasted (Aesop)…they always return to you…

Mindful – A Short Story

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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“We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

Please read this real life experience of Kent Nerburn, a cab driver, in which a life transforming experience blurred the line between the receiver and the giver.

When we are mindful of another, we bring happiness and joy…to them and to ourselves.

A CAB RIDE I’LL NEVER FORGET….

Twenty years ago, I drove a cab for a living.  One night I took a fare at 2:30 am. When I arrived to collect, the building was dark except for a single light in a ground floor window.

So I walked to the door and knocked. ‘Just a minute’, answered a frail, elderly voice. I could hear something being dragged across the floor.

After a long pause, the door opened.

A small woman in her 80′s stood before me. She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase The apartment looked as if no one had lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets.

“Would you carry my bag out to the car?” she said. I took the suitcase to the cab, then returned to assist the woman.

She took my arm and we walked slowly toward the curb.

She kept thanking me for my kindness. “It’s nothing”, I told her. “I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated.”

“Oh, you’re such a good man,” she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, “Could you drive through downtown?”

“It’s not the shortest way,” I answered quickly.

“Oh, I don’t mind,” she said “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”

I looked in the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. “I don’t have any family left,” she continued. “The doctor says I don’t have very long.” I quietly reached over and shut off the meter.

“What route would you like me to take?” I asked.

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator.

We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl.

Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, “I’m tired. Let’s go now.”

We drove in silence to the address she had given me. It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as we pulled up. They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

I opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

“How much do I owe you?” she asked, reaching into her purse.  “Nothing,” I said.

“You have to make a living,” she answered. “Oh, there are other passengers,” I responded.

Almost without thinking, I bent and gave her a hug. She held onto me tightly.  Our hug ended with her remark, “You gave an old woman a little moment of joy.”  After a slight pause, she added, “Thank you.”

I squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light. Behind me, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

I didn’t pick up any more passengers that shift. I drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, I could hardly talk. What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end his shift?  What if I had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?  On a quick review, I don’t think that I have done anything more important in my life.

We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware, beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.

Measure Your Happiness

By Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore

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The summit of happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what s/he is (Erasmus).

Self-awareness is an important step, as part of our happiness framework, in building your capacity to be happy.

Edward Deiner of the University of Illinois, believed to be the father of happiness/well-being research, designed a simple 5-statement scale that measures happiness.

On a scale from 1 to 7, indicate how strongly you agree or disagree with the following statements, with 7 being strong agreement.

1. In most ways my life is close to my ideal.
2. The conditions of my life are excellent.
3. I am satisfied with my life.
4. So far I have gotten the important things I want in life.
5. If I could live my life over, I would change almost nothing.

Total score: 31 to 35: you are extremely happy with your life; 26 to 30: happy; 21 to 25: slightly happy; 20: neutral point; 15 to 19: slightly unhappy; 10 to 14: unhappy; 5 to 9: extremely unhappy

A little becomes a LOT!

In our busy work schedules, we get very little time for ourselves and even lesser time for others. Through this post, Sharon Andrew, Happiness Evangelist at Happiest Minds Technologies, Bangalore, wills us to expend effort to spread happiness out, beyond ourselves.

Well-being is attained little by little, and nevertheless is no little thing itself. ~ Zeno

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We celebrated March 20th as the International Day of Happiness.

Around the world people smiled, meditated, held flash mobs, participated in various activities that brought happiness to those around them.

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that the purpose of the International Day of Happiness was to “reinforce our commitment to inclusive and sustainable human development and renew our pledge to help others. When we contribute to the common good, we ourselves are enriched. Compassion promotes happiness and will help build the future we want.”

A grand mandate. Lofty ideals.

Is the goodwill generated on the International Day of Happiness sustainable?

Did we renew our pledge to help one another? Did we even make a pledge in the first place?

In the hustle and bustle of life, with our timelines and our deadlines, let us take time to be happy and make others happy. Let us expend effort to spread happiness out, beyond ourselves.

This is what the International Day of Happiness is all about. It is not just one day.

It is all the days that come after, the changes we make in our lives to spread happiness, all year round.

Please do it today. And tomorrow. And the next day.

If enough of us keep doing it, we really can nudge the world to a happier place.