Wiehann de Klerk
Things that you can do right now to live a life filled with happiness.
Have you ever met someone who owns nothing but is happy? I have, and for a long time, I couldn't comprehend why he was so happy. I met this guy called Paul. Paul was a normal guy that worked every day to make a living, to accumulate money so that he could buy food and pay rent etc. However, the difference between him and many others was his laughter and happiness. He had a laugh I haven't ever heard before. He was happy. He laughed at everything and anything, but it wasn't annoying. It was beautiful. I remember once; we were talking about politics. At the time, I was negative but he somehow still managed to smile and laugh. He took a negative comment and turned it into a joke that made me laugh also. The powerful thing about his laugh was the authenticity of it. It was so real that I couldn't help but laugh with him.
I could tell that he was not rich, nor did he care about being rich. He was someone that had only the essentials in place; food, shelter, clothing and family. I have met many people like this but have also met people on the other side of the spectrum. Those with everything you can imagine; the essentials plus cars, pools, spas and big screen TVs. The surprising thing for me was that those that only had the essentials were happier than those that had much more. The reality is that the more you have, the more you have to take care of, worry about and give your time to. We all know there is only so much time for us in this world. You can make money, but you can't make time. I can happily declare that I am just as filled with joy now as Paul, and will never turn back again. But how did I achieve this?
"The reality is that the more you have, the more you have to take care of, worry about and give your time to."
In order to love something, you must hate something else. You must hate the opposite of whatever it is you are trying to achieve. If you are trying to achieve happiness, you must hate anything and everything that can hinder happiness. For example, I hate the accumulation of anything but knowledge, time spent with family and friends, and experiences. If I have an extra $1000 to spend, I might take a friend travelling for the weekend, buy a study course or a three-course meal for a mentor, bless my family, or save up for an end of year trip to some international location. In short, I will spend the money to attain either experience or knowledge. The accumulation of things leads to the absence of happiness. Therefore, I hate the accumulation of things. The absence of things opens up the pathway to inner happiness. Let's say that your happiness was locked away in a box at the end of a pathway. You will find that the pathway is blocked by all the things you purchased throughout your life that you do not need. Throw some of the things away, and you might find your happiness. Once you understand this, then you can start living a happy life. You will not find your happiness by searching in the abundance of your possessions.
Luke 12:35: "Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of his possession."
There is this belief in the world today that the more you obtain, the greater your happiness. However, you never know what tomorrow will bring. If you knew that today was your last day on earth, would you save for tomorrow? Please understand, that I am not saying that you should not save. However, the question is "what are you saving for?" Are you saving to buy something or are you saving to gain experience? Because of the belief just mentioned, we judge people by how much money they have. This belief has grown over the past decade to a point now where money is a measure of success. However, you can be successful and own nothing, just like my friend Paul. Your measurement of success is based on your perspective. If money is your measure of success, then you most certainly will not be successful until you obtain scrupulous amounts of it. Would it not be better to measure success based on the number of friends you have or some other more esteemed reason? Why measure success using money? Money should never me a measurement, but simply a tool. Think about it. We use a pen to write on paper. We use money as a tool to do a number of things. The things you do with money has nothing to do with success. It has everything to do with character. If you use money to always spend money on yourself and care only about yourself, then you live in a world where you are the world. However, if you spend money to make others happy, to give, and to learn, you live in a world where others are the world. The reason our whales eat garbage bags is because our actions lead to garbage. What are your actions leading to? One step at a time, we can make the world a better place. Your happiness does not depend on the things you accumulate but the friendships you cultivate.
"Your happiness does not depend on the things you accumulate but the friendships you cultivate."
If you want to be happy, start thinking happy thoughts. If all you can think about is the mortgage repayment, maybe your house is too big, and you should live in a smaller house. If it's not too big, then why do you think about it? If all you can think about is how the Government taxes you too much, move to another country or get over it because let's face it, that's not going to change anytime soon. Stop thinking negative thoughts about things and instead, think happy thoughts. A 100m Sprint Gold Medallist cannot think negative thoughts while running like, "why I am doing this, there is no point" or "I may as well go home and eat pizza." In much the same way, you cannot be happy if you think negative or depressing thoughts. What you think about, you become. Think depressing thoughts, and you will be depressed. Think happy thoughts and you will be happy.
"What you think about, you become. Think depressing thoughts, and you will be depressed. Think happy thoughts and you will be happy."
This is a very extensive topic and something I will continue to write about so stay tuned.
What are some things in your life right now that you are thinking negatively about? In these cases, should you change the things or just change your thoughts? Write down a plan on what you should do and then, most importantly, do it. If the mortgage example resonates with you, should you downscale or it should you change your thought patterns or both?
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