Late every December, I wish people a ‘Happy New Year’ and of course, I receive the same year-end wish in these three little words from my friends, family and even strangers. At this time of year, we hear ‘Happy New Year’ everywhere we turn, because we’re expecting the coming 12 months to bring us something new, something different, something that will finally make us ‘happy’.
Everyone wants to be happy. While we’re busy wishing everyone a ‘Happy New Year’, we should be taking some time to look at what we did in the year that has just gone by and figure out why it didn’t make us happy. We were wished a happy new year last year, weren’t we? So, what went wrong?
I’ve been contemplating New Year’s resolutions a lot lately. A ‘resolution’ is a former solution from last year that we weren’t able to complete, or perhaps that didn’t make us happy. Therefore, we need to repeat it or improve it. Hence, the word ‘re-solution’.
It seems we are always wishing for the world around us to change before we can be happy. “I’ll be happy if I get a new job, or if there is a change in government, or if I get that new car I’ve had my eye on, or if I had more money…” Do any of these sound familiar?
The fact is that the search for real and lasting happiness and contentment should not be conducted in the world around us. The quest begins and ends within ourselves. In order to be happy, we must change, not the things around us. We must change our lifestyle, our mindset, our actions, our thoughts, and our attitudes. It is my opinion that at a time of making New Year’s resolutions and wishing those around us to be ‘happy’ in the new year, we should look inwards towards ourselves and become more analytical of why we’re not happy and how we can be happy.
How can you be happy if you’re not going to make major changes? Resolutions…? No, no, I don’t want to talk about resolutions. Let’s talk about solutions; solutions you have to realise to ensure you really do have a ‘Happy New Year’.
There are four propensities in life – eating, sleeping, mating, and defending – that we share with animals. But there are four fundamental principles that we, as human beings, are capable of that separates us from animals: Austerity, Cleanliness, Mercifulness, and Truthfulness. These are the foundations of human life and to be truly happy, we must change ourselves from within to embody these principles in order to discover what it truly means to be happy.
How can you be happy if you are not truthful and you wrap your life in deceit?
If you are not cleansed in the mind, body and soul, do you honestly think such impurity can lead to deep-seated happiness?
Compassion, tolerance and forgiveness are all part of being merciful and are tantamount to a life happily led.
The ability to accept discomfort and pain for the greater good, to express austerity, to make sacrifices for the ones you love; happiness comes from giving ourselves for others, no matter what the cost.
I believe that these four pillars are what will make one happy. They are all interrelated and they are all bricks in the road to happiness. But you must pave these bricks yourself.
This year, think about how you can change from within and apply these four principles to your life. It won’t come easy; it takes practice to achieve the height of happiness that is available to us all if only we look inside ourselves and make the change.
So, in all sincerity and with all the best intentions, I truly wish every one of you a very Happy New Year. May you be blessed in 2010 by taking the first step towards being truly happy.
Group Managing Director, QI Ltd