Mindfulness is a form of personal leadership that can lead to mature happiness. Below I address the question: what is happiness? And I discuss what I call “immature happiness. In my next blog I will discuss “mature happiness”.
You hear it so often, I just want to be “happy”. I’m sure you’ve read before that in the end, every person has only one goal in life: to be happy.
But the term “happiness” is usually not defined. When I ask participants in my trainings what they mean by “being happy” they often don’t know the answer.
That’s by definition a recipe for an unhappiness. Because if you’re looking for something you don’t know exactly what it is, you can never know if you’ve found “it”. That’s a source of stress.
Happiness, mindfulness and personal leadership
That’s why I advise participants in my trainings to find out exactly what “happiness” means to them. Mindfulness starts with exploring your ideas and desires. Without research there is no awareness. And without awareness there is no personal leadership.
You can compare it to a sailing trip. If you want to sail to the place “Happiness” you first have to determine where the place is. Only then you can determine your route and use your navigation tools efficiently. If you don’t determine your final destination first, you can’t determine your route and you keep floating aimlessly at sea.
I think a large part of the “happiness economy” exist out of people who float aimlessly at sea. Do you recognise yourself in this? I do. Do you ever feel like you don’t know your destiny? And so you can’t hoist sails? You can put an end to this, take the helm and determine your direction. That gives you the energy to hoist your sails, so you can make the most of the winds of life.
That’s what mindfulness is about: becoming aware of what happiness means to you. And realising what works and what doesn’t work for you. Not letting yourself be led by automatic patterns, but consciously going out into research. What does “happiness” mean to you and how can you consciously experience “happiness” and be at the helm of your life? In this and the next blog you can read more about this.
Where happiness cannot be found
Before you start looking for happiness, it may help to first look where happiness at least can not to be found. Once you know that, it will save you a lot of inefficient searching.
Everybody on this planet will sooner or later discover four basic truths about the reality of this life:
- everything changes;
- most of us get sick;
- everyone gets old;
- everyone dies.
This is the very clear thruth. Even though the consumer society is trying to make you believe something else. You can try to find your happiness in appearance, status, money etc. You then make your happiness dependent on factors that are out of your control. And which can change just like that.
A source of unhappiness
Happiness that depends on ever-changing and unpredictable factors is therefore in fact a source of unhappiness. I think the same goes for concepts such as eternal economic growth. There is no such thing in our changing world. After flowering and growth always comes decline. That is the natural cycle of life.
The consequences of wanting to keep on growing economically are becoming more and more apparent. And this in increasingly grim forms: overpopulation, destruction of forests, forest fires, climate crisis.
Of course, a material basis is important. You need enough food, a roof over your head. Without that you’re just surviving and that’s stressful. But research shows that more money doesn’t necessarily lead to more happiness. Maybe our simple chocolate exercise can make you happy already!
The pursuit of more and more stuff, profit and economic growth I call “immature happiness”. Immature, because it does not give a realistic view of the world and life on this planet. Understanding this is for me the first step to mindfulness and personal leadership.
In my next blog I will discuss what I understand by “adult happiness” and what role mindfulness and personal leadership play in this.