Happiness by Choice: November 2011

Three of Us Happy in October 2011

Hot cup of milky-tea; the Saturday morning Wall Street Journal accompanied by my favorite tunes on the overhead speakers of my sunshine splashed patio – the water fountain splashing away with its own music. My precious six-year old, gives me a hug with her head touching my cheek; a simple series of events on a simple Saturday.

That’s happiness by choice.

Every morning, we wake up and choose to be happy. Happiness is rarely an accident. Once in a while, serendipity grants us a surprise dose of euphoria; however, long-lasting stream of conscious happiness has to be planned, in detail and executed with precision. Paolo Coelho talks about “When you really want something, the energy of the Universe conspires with you.” 

Few years ago, I read Coelho’s The Alchemist and was fascinated by the Andalucian region of Europe. My heart craved to experience this inspiring region of creativity and natural splendor. In 2009, I planned to drive through the sunflowers to arrive at this wonderful city called Rhonda – where the water flowed out of the rocks!

Shania and I walking in Rhonda

Had I waited for serendipity or some divine intervention, I would still be in anticipation
of my romance with this beautiful region. When I saw the amazing cathedral of
Seville or stayed in the missionary complex in the Alhambra again, I believed in the energy of the Universe conspiring on my behalf to create some of the happiest memories of my life!

Jim Collins and Morten Hanson in their new book Greatness by Choice (Harper Collins, 2011, write about companies that succeed in the most chaotic conditions and come out on top even with adversity and uncertainty on a continous basis. Even in the most difficult times, these companies (e.g. southwest airlines), choose to train relentlessly to achieve their goals; the fact that they win more, against their competition, is not mere luck- but a result of the diligence that the entire organization puts into succeeding every day – under every circumstance. The authors break down the myths that these leaders are somehow more risk takers or visionaries, make radical changes or have more good luck.

Building on the Collins-Hanson’s principle of “thriving on uncertainty” principle , I believe, our individual lives are also often thrown into uncertainty and chaos. Even in this ever-changing world, those who choose to be happy, actually work hard seeking that goal – irrespective of the circumstances that are handed to them.

During a recent stormy series of life-events, I keep looking at all the gifts I have been given; two lovely souls surrounding me with their beauty and affection; my almost perfect surroundings of South Florida; a job that I love with a team that I enjoy leading; friends and family in four continents, that connect with me and inspire me on a daily basis. Passion of boating, reading, wine or racquetball that fill most of my free time. So many parts of my life are so near perfect, that I am grateful to God for allowing me the ability enjoy them with all my senses.

I could sit here and brood over why I don’t have a head full of hair, or why some other
part of my life is not complete – but that’s like looking at the “glass as half full.” Instead, I concentrate on things that continue to make me happy.

My princesses make me happy; routine activities, continuity and stability make me
happy; nostalgia makes me happy. Good music, good books and a simple hug make
me happy.

Once in awhile, happiness does come knocking on my door; most often though, I have found that it’s more of a planned, orchestrated choice. Sometimes, it’s a enjoying a cucumber martini with a good friend at the local bistro; sometimes its cooking Paellea
and petit fillet with a group of friends at my home; often it’s just a simple walk with Daiyaan or Shania (or both) on the beach. Each of these, however, is a conscious choice that I make to go and exercise. For those precious moments, I feel elated – happy.

It’s Thursday morning.

I fly out overseas tonight and willbe apart from my loved ones and my beloved South Florida, for much longer than I desire. I can go to work this morning and ponder over more files and say “NO” to more people and keep my Ce”NO” reputation alive!

Or, I can choose to take my little boat out to the ocean and let the Atlantic kiss me goodbye.

 In fact, today, the ocean is a bit choppy. It’s not a gentle kiss that I am gifted. Shimmering sun on the amazing blue-green at a gentle 30 mph speed, I get a warm splash embrace that’s hard to forget.

On this long journey, I take with me a piece of love of water, an amazing view of my lighthouse and start my journey as a relatively happy man!

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