Being Happy in 2018 and beyond

It’s again time to re-assess what’s happening in our lives, what’s making us healthy and happy, and/or what actually can make us healthy and happy.  I looked back at what I wrote last 4 years, as first blog of the year, and replicated most of what I wrote in 2017, as my thoughts haven’t changed much. Here are my thoughts once again on being happy in 2018 and beyond.

According to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, it is not either fame or money, which keeps us healthy and happy, as we grow old.  As the director of a 75-year-old study (longest ever by Harvard, I am told) on adult development, Waldinger has done a terrific research and study on true happiness and satisfaction. In his very popular TED Talk, he shared three important lessons learned from his study, on how to build a fulfilling, long life. Do check him out to know what keeps us happy and healthy. I have provided his link at the end of this write-up. If you are too eager to know about it, even before clicking the link, answer is, “Good & Quality relationships is what really matters”

My focus this year continues to spend as much as possible with both immediate and extended family and friends, and create / encourage / participate in the events that makes it possible.

If there were 10 items to focus, for being Happy, these are my top 10:

  1. JUST BE HAPPY– Technically, there shouldn’t be any reason needed to be happy. You will only need a reason to be unhappy. It is supposed to be our default state.  Looks at the small babies, and they always seem to be happy.  Do they have a reason to be happy? Start working on that reason(s) that is/are causing you to be unhappy and start working towards removing or minimizing them.  We often we link our happiness to a reason or an event or a person.  We need to master the art of ‘unlinking’ that reason for an event or a person. Often reason for unhappiness are trivial and can be unlinked. Yes, small shift in our thought process can make a difference to our lives
  2. RELISH CURRENT MOMENT– Enjoy the current moment and pay attention to what’s happening around and appreciate the beauty and goodness around you. Believe me there is lots of it. If you are always talking, you are only repeating what you know. If you start listening, you might actually be learning something you do not know and might actually need it.  Start doing less parallel processing and doing less “Whatsapp’ing (or instagram’ing or snap chatting) when you are with someone else, and enjoy the current moment. Above social apps are being attributed as number one reasons for bringing ‘dysfunctional’ syndrome in the families out there.  We all need to work on social app de-addiction, to improve the quality of relationship with people around us.
  3. DO WHAT YOU LOVE or LOVE WHAT YOU DO– It is often not possible for most folks do what they love, but if we start loving what we do, they eventually be doing what they love.  We spend 40% of our life at work space, it is important that we do what we love or better yet start loving we do.  This is the magical recipe for adding lots of value to your work and consequently rise higher both in work and life.  I strongly believe in this. Fortunately, for now I do not see difference in my personal life vs. professional life, and they are seamlessly and positively integrated. I really loved what I did at AppLabs and Cigniti for last 15 years, and now I love what I do at Innominds
  4. SPEND TIME WITH YOUR FAMILY and BUILD HIGH QUALITY RELATIONSHIPS – If the goal of your goal(s) is to achieve happiness / peace (which is we all go after, right?) for your family, and if you are sacrificing the same thing in the process of achieving those goals, then is it really worth going after that goal?   Expand definition of your family.  It’s not just your spouse and kids.  Do include your parents, siblings, friends, and incrementally make the circle of family little longer. This is one of the reasons for many of meet-ups that I do with folks around me, both at home and in the office.  We are still long way from being perfect, but we do enjoy our company with each other, for large extent 🙂
  5. GIFT A SMILE– Gift a smile to someone in your ecosystem by helping them in need or use 3rdparty avenues to find someone who needs it.   If everyone takes little care of ‘few folks in need’ within their ecosystem, we will have a very different world today. Power of gifting a smile is huge.  Be selfish by being self-less. There is lots of happiness in helping folks around us and there are many who needs it from us.
  6. BEING IN GRATITUDE– Count your blessings. You will be surprised that you already have so much of that stuff that you ever need in your life time. This does not mean that you should not be aiming for greater things in life. Being “attached” and ‘detached’ at the same time, is an art to be learnt and mastered, and can accelerate your state of being happy
  7. BELIEVE IN GOODNESS– Believe me, there is lot of it out there in the people around us. We fret / sweat on trivial stuff which really does not matter. Do take time to nourish relationships and ‘really know’ the folks around you. Take a leap of faith, and trust positivity in people around you. Give the benefit of doubt, and forgive and let go, if few things go wrong.  Many regret late in the life that they had forgiven and let go off negative feeling on some event or someone, much earlier in their life.
  8. EXERCISE A LITTLE– 30 minutes a day would do also good too and easy to find this much time.  Wake up at golden hour and use that hour for introspection, exercise a little, and prioritise what you want to achieve in that date/week.  Also while you do this, do practice little healthy living at it.   Practice a bit of meditation. This seems very boring, but is powerful and can bring great deal of clarity in all the decisions that you make. I am using ‘fitbit’ to help me stay on the track of walking 10,000 steps and currently average 10K per day for last 16 months.  Thanks to Radhika interest towards organic food, we hardly have unhealthy food cooked at our home.
  9. SPEND TIME OUTDOORS– No brainer, as it gives you some time for self-introspection and allows you to connect with nature.  Get some Vitamin D too, while you do this. If you are mandated to travel outside home, take it as an opportunity to learn about new region, culture, food, folks, and more. I am fortunate to have a role which mandates lots of travel, and have a family which enjoys travel and does not mind me being on the road
  10. FIND YOUR ‘ENOUGH INDEX” LITTLE EARLY IN LIFE” – This is really tough one.  If you figured this one out, my “Jai Ho” to you.  We always seem to be chasing elusive moving target. Depends upon where you are today in the current phase of your life, you might want to tone down your ‘enough’ index and/or start relishing what you already have


4 thoughts on “Being Happy in 2018 and beyond

  1. Excellent and very meaningful read Sai! This is much needed and I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to summarize for all of us. Being in the present is very important. I took this article and read it along with my entire family. Happy Pongal! Please continue your motivational blog! I still continue to read the “Mega Living” by Rob Sharma, the book you recommended in 2005 when I joined Applabs. Thanks again!


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