Stumbling on Happiness


So, I haven’t read the book by Daniel Gilbert. But I did watch his TED Talks ( a couple of months ago, which again, I must confess, I don’t recall anything of, except that it was darned good. The theme of the talk stuck with me though. Over the last month, I have time and again, found myself reflecting on the title of his book. And it just started to make so much sense.

To give you a bit of a background, I am slightly hyper. I yearn for everything to be done my way, in line with my mental schedule (which nearly always is, quite impossible). Once I have decided that I want a particular event to transpire, then I unceasingly build my expectations around that event. Needless to say, the conclusion is not always the way I want it. Especially not as per my schedule. Grave disappointment results.

But my disappointment is not the point of this post. It is about my realization of how fleeting that feeling of disappointment is, in reality. The human brain really is a miracle machine. All it takes is a day or two (remember what a neurotic I am) to shake off the setback and start afresh. Just last week, my anxiety was out in full force, in relation to a job that I had applied for. The recruiter hadn’t gotten in touch with me as promised. I was beside myself, contemplating the various reasons that could have prevented her from calling me. 

That phase of constantly checking my e-mail lasted just 2 days. Within that duration, my brain managed to come up with a thousand different options, of jobs that were equally coveted and that I could apply to, all the drawbacks of the position in question. In just 2 days, I had successfully convinced myself that the position wasn’t even worth considering. Shaking off the latest anti-climax of my life, I even managed to attend another interview that went off reasonably well.

Stumbling on happiness is exactly this in my opinion. Not always being rewarded with what you ardently wish for and lose sleep over. It is about coming to terms with and eventually even coming to love what you do have. It is the knowledge that we can get accustomed to nearly everything we face in life, and learn to be happy with it.