5 October 2013 | By: Writing Buddha

In Pursuit of Happiness by Manish Gupta (A Short Write-up)!!!


Manish Gupta is the author of English Bites! a fun book on English language published by Penguin Books India


It is tough to quit a company where you have spent some of the best years of your life, formed many endearing (and enduring) friendships, and learnt some of the most crucial skills and some of the best lessons of life - even if you are moving on to follow your passion. I quit my job recently as a Managing Director and National Sales Head of a major multinational bank after serving the organisation for over 17 years to follow my passion for the field of education and training. 

As I wondered what could I say in my parting note, I was upset with myself when I realised that even after working with so many people and for so many years, I hadn't really shared with most of them my most valued possession - the learnings of my life. I paused to ponder if it was due to my lack of belief in the transformative power of my learnings, my belief that free advice is wasted, my assumption that since I have led a pretty regular life my learnings are not unique, or my fear that I will destroy the equilibrium in my relationships at office by putting myself on a pedestal and sounding preachy. 

Finally, I cast aside all my assumptions and fears and wrote them an email to share my key learnings with my friends and colleagues. I was overwhelmed with their response esp. by how many of them thought I have unraveled the secret of happiness for them and how they pledged to incorporate these simple learnings in their own lives.  I am so glad that my friend Abhilash invited me to share the same learnings on his blog.

Make health the number one priority of your life
Eat right, learn to distinguish between your actual appetite and emotional hunger; walk, jog, or play a game for 30-45 minutes at least 4-5 times a week. I have learnt it the hard way, but you must learn from the experiences of others - that is the true indicator of our intelligence and the quality of our education. We lose our health in such small increments that we do not notice the adverse impact of skipping exercise for a few days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years. Finally, we lose it in a day!

Have sincerity and depth in relations
Have genuine relations. Invest time in nurturing them and cherish them as they mature. Take care of them when they are sick or old. The concept of 'quality' time is flawed and only invented to provide solace and reduce guilt of people who have misplaced their priorities. The only exception I make is for people who need to over-commit their precious time to work to tide over some financial crisis. 

Some stress is good for you, but only some
All of us face varying degree of stress in our lives at various times. Some of this is what I can call productive stress - the one that challenges you to become better and stronger - emotionally, physically, and in your skills. Any stress that doesn't lead to positive and productive outcomes (either immediately or after sometime) is destructive and hence completely avoidable. It is tough to differentiate between the productive and destructive stress and one of the best ways I have discovered is to slot most stressful situations into a) controllable b) influenceable, and c) neither controllable nor influenceable. No prizes for guessing that one only needs to focus on the first two. Either control the factors that are causing stress (and stress disappears), or use one's best influencing skills to mitigate it. Do bear in mind that since the second situation is beyond one's control, one should not assume a controlling influence on the outcomes. Either the outcomes will be positive or one will get an opportunity to improve one's influencing skills (for more favourable outcomes in the future). 
Spare some time during the week doing something that appeals to the higher purpose of life 
It may be volunteering with your time for a few hours every week/month teaching, coaching, mentoring, or simply spending time with people who are lonely. Brighten someone's day, teach a new skill, create a few smiles, and spread this feeling of positivity, care, compassion, and a sense of belongingness. You will soon discover how infectious this it and that you are receiving much more in return that you are giving.   

Learn a new skill every year
It is a pity that most of us stop learning new skills after we finish our college. I realised this pretty late in the day (only 5-6 years ago) and have been consciously learning new skills (mostly in the field of writing, adventure sports, and by taking the road less travelled during vacations) and now plan to expand that to my long forgotten interests in gardening, cooking, and singing. I have personally grown as an individual as I confronted and overcame my anxiety (and sometimes even fear) and felt the exhilaration at accomplishing something I never thought possible; met several interesting people from completely different walks of life; and started realising how disparate things are actually quite inter-connected. Adopt this as one of the mantras of your life. It really helps to preserve one's childlike curiosity, keep one's life vibrant, exciting, and whole. I am finally sensing the deep truth in the great thoughts of Steve Jobs when he talked about "connecting the dots" and asked people to "stay hungry, stay foolish". 

Pledge to donate your organs
I now know that one person can save (or improve the quality of) as many as 10-12 lives even after he or she is gone. Our eyes, kidneys, heart, liver, pancreas, and skin need not go to heaven with us and continue to give a life to many others on this earth. Of the 37 million people across the globe who are blind, over 15 million (40%) are in India. Over 3.5 million of these in India suffer from corneal blindness and simply cannot enjoy the beauty of this earth, and either don’t work or work well below their true potential, simply because we either burn or bury the corneas that could illuminate their lives. In the year 2012, Mumbai had less than 20 organ donations (after brain death), when it could potentially have had thousands, forcing thousands of patients to continue the financially and physically debilitating options that are left (often none). 

Adopting these principles has made me more compassionate, more satisfied, more happy, and complete. And quite unexpectedly, has even helped me slow down the hectic pace of my life, and made me feel and enjoy - more than ever before - the passage of time. 

On this note, I wish the following for you from my heart:

I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright no matter how grey the day may appear.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.
I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your needs; and
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

Have a great life!

Best regards, 
Manish Gupta

3 CoMMenTs !!! - U CaN aLSo CoMMenT !!!:

Abhijit Ray said...

Nice and valuable advice. You have listened to the call of your heart. Good luck to you.

Soulmate said...

Very inspiring! Especially about learning a new skill every year and our stress levels. We waste so many days, months..just in doing everyday work..leading the same hectic and boring lives...for what? At the end of the day, we have learn nothing new or did nothing to satisfy our hearts...
Now I have to think about what new skill to learn in upcoming days.
Regarding controllable and influenceable stressful situations, I don't know what to say. But this needs some serious thinking. Thanks to the author for bringing it up to the notice of the readers.

asit said...

Awesome...it is making me think...inspiring will execute this in my Life...thank you very much..:-)

Post a Comment