By Mohamed Tarek Ibrahim
I had a problem. I feel happy, I buy new shoes. I feel sad, I buy new shoes. I achieve a goal, guess what? New shoes. It did not stop at just a pair of new shoes. I was always keen on getting the best products like a new phone or a new watch. It was like an obsession, making myself believe that when I get these things, I will be happier. The truth is I was just happy for a while. Then after this feeling vanishes, I would try to get other tangible goods to fulfill my needs, and the cycle never ends. My behavior made me realize that there is something wrong and that I had to change.
Many of us grow up in a culture of competition. It is like a race in terms of who has the best job, best car, biggest home, and so on. Unfortunately, many people around us who have almost everything have been unhappy. This made me realize that I needed to reassess my definition of true happiness. For a long time, I was using the wrong happiness formula, it was time for me to find the right one that best fits my values and that would bring true happiness into my life.
I had so many questions such as What is happiness? How to live happily? Why do people get sad? I did a lot of research and I will share with you two insights on happiness from two leaders in their fields. One is from Mo Gawdat and the other outlook is from Tony Robbins. Let’s then begin with Mo Gawdat as I have read his book, “Solve For Happy.” Mo is a former Chief Business Officer at Google X, he had everything anyone would dream to have but, to our surprise, he wasn’t happy!
Mo was searching for years and years for the reasons behind his unhappiness when suddenly his 21-year-old son passed away, it drove him, even more, to discover what truly encaptures human happiness. He left Google X to dedicate the rest of his life and resources to his mission “1 Billion H
According to Gawdat’s formula, your happiness is equal to or greater than your perception of events minus your expectations of life. This means when you see life events as the same or better than your expectations, you will be happy because the ups and downs of life don’t frustrate you. However, if your expectations are greater than your reality, they will subtract from your capacity for happiness.
I started to apply Mo’s happiness formula in my life. For example, when I meet my boss for a performance review, I used to set high expectations in terms of my rating, promotion, raise. Of course, sometimes things did not go as I expected which, would leave me disappointed. Now, I go to these meetings with zero expectations telling myself whatever the outcome is, I enjoyed the journey, and I am happy and grateful for what I have learned and achieved so far.
The other insight on happiness that I would like to share is from Tony Robbins. Robbins is a life and business strategist, New YoTimesmes best-Selling author, and one of the best if not the ultimate best in Self-development. According to Tony, what makes you happy is one word: Progress. Progress equals happiness, even if you are not where you want to be yet if you are improving and making progress, you are going to feel alive and happy. The key here is to keep growing and keep moving forward regarding your purpose.
Tony Robbins also talks about the importance of giving more than you expect to receive. The author stated that giving without expecting anything in return, and just trying to be a blessing in the lives of everyone you meet will bring you a sense of happiness and fulfillment. Combining Mo’s and Tony’s insights would give us a happiness formula equal to reality with fewer expectations plus Purpose, Progress, and Giving. It’s obvious here that true happiness has nothing to do with materialistic objects such as, a new phone, or a new watch, and