After a few days in India, we decided to see the coastal area of Mumbai. On our way there, we walked through a very high class area. Entire 10-storey apartment blocks were owned by individuals with tens of luxury cars around them. As we got closer to the coast this scenery changed. The homes of millionaires and billionaires were replaced by slums. Slums with dirt roads and houses made from corrugated iron. It was raining heavily since it was the middle of the monsoon – the rainy season. As I was walking through the slum, at one point on my left there was little courtyard and in it about ten young boys playing football. Despite the heavy rain and a life in what we would call appalling conditions, they had big smiles on their faces. They were happy.
This was a breakthrough moment for me. I heard many times in my life that all I need is myself to be happy but never before has it been so clear to me.
Living in a materialistic world, we think that we need favorable conditions in the outside world in order to be happy. You often hear people say “Once I get a new phone, I will be happy” or “Once I get my dream job, I will be happy”. The truth is different. If you are not happy now, you will not be happy when you add a phone to your life or change your job or make any other external change.
Unhappiness is having a habit of not appreciating what you have and focusing on what you don’t have. The only way to be happy is getting rid of that bad habit. One of the best ways of doing that is appreciation. Sit down once a day and appreciate how good your life is, thank for your family, friends, health, intelligence, life experiences. This will take you one step closer to being happy.