Have you ever wondered why so many people are miserable in todays world? I can’t stop thinking to myself, why is it that the more we have, the less we appreciate what we have? It is like there is a trend saying: “The more we have the more we want”. No matter if it is good or bad, we just crave more and the second we have more we forget to stop up and appreciate what we have accomplished, before we again start to search for more. I found, that this is the trend no matter which subject you talk about: Food, money, prestige, sex, materialistic things, happiness, cravings of all sorts of kinds.
So, while this in my mind was a bad thing initially, I would like to prove that you can bend this “more wants more”-trend into something truly amazing and positive.
The desires in life:
One day, having lunch with a very good friend of mine, who happens to have tremendous life experience and therefore wisdom, told me something that stuck in my mind. In life there are 4 main objects or desires in life and only when you can take distance from these 4 things, you will find true freedom for yourself:
Sex has become the number one selling power of the world. We use sex or sexual undertones everywhere we go. It is very common for big companies, to hire beautiful ladies to walk in their cloth, give brochures out, serve drinks and create photoshoots where they show skin, walk and talk in sexy ways and so on.
Flirting is also a way how to sell more. They make their buyer feel comfortable, wanted, and give them attention until they are relaxed and in the right state to buy. It is a known sales trick but even though it is known, sex will always sell because it is one of the desires of life. Once you desire something, that you might not have, you will do most likely anything to get it, including purchasing whatever that company is selling you.
“Money makes the world go around”, just like Liza Minnelli first sang it in 1972. And to some extend this is true. We have created and are living in a system, where we are exchanging money for something which we need in order to survive like food, cloth, a house maybe even a car and other things. While you most definitely need money to cover your basic needs, money shouldn’t be the driving force of a human existence, or at least not if what you are looking for is happiness.
We live in a world where we think, that money will make us happy and we start chasing this illusion which is very fake. What many people want is stability and a feeling of safety and I can only include myself in this desire to feel safe. But at the same time, one must not get stuck in the believe pattern that money will resolve your issues of happiness, because true happiness does not come from money.
What is power really? Well there are different types of power, but what they all have in common is some sort of control over something. We all experience having power, like a parent has power over his children. A school teacher over the students, a store manager over the co-workers and so on. But what we need to discuss are the bigger powers in society like the politicians, big company owners, bank directors, movie producers and so on. They are the ones with so much power, that it is easy for them to misuse their power to get something in return.
Misusing your power means to use the position you have, to get something in a different field, than where your power should be directed. An example of misuse, could be one of the biggest scandals in American movie history, when Harvey Weinstein misused his power as a Film Producer and owner of Miramax, to gain sexual benefits from the female actresses wanting a job in his movies.
Prestige arises when you do something positive and receive acknowledgement for your work through prestige. You gain Respect, admiration, status, reputation, honor, fame, influence, Authority and Superiority as a result of your hard work. Many people work very hard to gain prestige and are honest, good people with good intentions. What often happens though, is that with the increased prestige comes the responsibility to remain with two feet on the ground, and this is the task for everyone gaining this privilege.
Often the fame and superiority get to their head and they feel more worthy than other people, leading them to again misuse their gained power.
This is a shame, when you see great people, with good intention change and become greedy individuals, forgetting where they came from and what really matters in life.
How to Choose Happiness?
So how do we choose to be happy and rise above the 4 desires and objectives in life? This is a great question and let’s start by asking ourselves, what is the most important thing to you in life?
I recently asked myself this question, digging into my past to search for times, where I was my most happy. To my surprise I found, that while I was extremely happy winning trophies in dancing competitions or at my birthday receiving great presents, I was actually the happiest, when I was spending time with my grandmother, sitting in her living room talking and playing games. So what was it, that made that situation so happy?
Nurturing basic needs:
First thing firsts. We cannot talk about choosing happiness while surviving is the only matter in our head. Survival will always be our number one priority as a human being and so it should be. Without food, water and a home to feel safety, we need to focus all our energy on finding this. Only when this is existing in our lives, we can talk about finding and choosing happiness. In my case, when I was a child, I was lucky to grow up in a family where there was plenty of love and we had what we needed so I didn’t have this worry of surviving. I must admit that growing older and into my youth and adulthood I started feeling this haunting me much more and while I have never starved because of money, I have for many years, slept on airport floors, benches around the world, eating plain white toast, as it was the cheapest meal in order to save money up for my dancing lessons. But that is what I call “pursuing your dreams”. When pursuing your dreams there will be a ton of sacrifices and hard work to pay in order to arrive anywhere near your dreams and goals in life.
When I visited my grandmother, I would take my bike and run to her place, we would sit down and play games and really the time just stopped around us.
I had no worries when I was at her place and we were surrounded just by our presence in the now.
While we often hear the words: “Cherish the small things in life” it can sometimes be difficult to really understand what that means.
To me those words means to cherish the moments which is not bought by money, is not having any sexual undertones, and is not driven by prestige or power.
It can be the smile you received from someone dear or a complete stranger, the sunlight kissing your cheeks, the emotions you feel when something amazing happens to you, a kiss, a friendship a hug from your father and I could go on.
Many times, myself included, we take things for granted. We forget to acknowledge how privileged we all truly are. Just the fact to wake up in the morning, breathing, being healthy and able to move around is a miracle. Try to do yourself a big favor by thinking of 3-5 things that you are truly grateful for in your life, as the last thing before going to bed and as the first thing in the morning when waking up. Doing this every day will change how you feel about your life and your lifestyle and you will see, that you will wake up more energized and happier in your current situation than ever. It might sound too easy, but trust me, I have implemented this practice and it has changed how I feel when waking up tremendously!
Create everlasting relationships:
The human species is a flock animal and we don’t survive well alone. We like to belong to something or someone and we are eager to be a part of a bigger group of people. We thrive when we are loved, feeling affection and nurtured for both physically, emotionally and intellectually.
One of the most important things in life is to create true and honest relationships throughout your life. Don’t be afraid to open up to other people, as it is only when we do open up and show our vulnerability, that we can truly connect with another human being on any of the levels (physically, emotionally and intellectually). Be aware to choose wisely though who you trust and who you want to open up too, as opening up to the wrong people really can hurt your feelings.
How to bend the “more-wants-more” trend positively?
In the beginning I stated that we can change this negative trend of not appreciating what we have and only wanting more and more in life. Our brain and mind naturally want more and what we choose to focus our mind on is what we see more of. If we turn on the news every morning and see hunger, fights, and criminal acts, that is what our subconscious will be working with and you start to see all the bad things society has to offer.
On the other hand if you focus on the things you are grateful for in life, such as your significant other, a good friendship, your workplace, your car that brings you from A to B or some delicious food you ate, that is what you will receive more of in life.
What we focus on, we will see more of and therefore what you give out and which intentions you have behind the actions you make, is exactly what you will receive in return.
Ask yourself this question of what is the most important thing in life to you?
My answer will be: Choose to be happy in the now.