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Essay: Success Is Not the Key to Happiness

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Happiness has been described as a state of well-being that is characterized by relative permanence, by emotions ranging from mere contentment to deep and intense joy in living, and by a natural desire for it to continue. It is a state all want to achieve, but it often seems elusive. Pleasant Life events can affect our happiness levels, but their effects diminish over time. So, can material possessions make us permanently happy? Certainly not. Many people also experience a measure of happiness when they reach a certain goal or obtain a desired item. But how long does that surge of happiness last? Often, it is only temporary, which can be disappointing. Success too can never generate consistent happiness. The definition of success too is a variable from individual to Individual. However, most of the time it is measured on a materialistic parameter, It has to be understood that Success is not only about earning money, setting up a family, and Owning a house but living a life with humane values. The Western theories have most of the time propounded that Material success leads us to happiness, however going by that, the so-called ‘materially’ Successful people are the most stressed out today, they don’t seem to enjoy what they have but they enjoy what other do not have and this is certainly not a model of a success story. Materially wealthier people are more isolated, too–which has a negative effect on happiness. Wealth engenders isolation because acquiring more money predisposes people toward keeping their distance or more simply, they might not need their peers in the same way. Perhaps the adage “money can’t buy happiness” has more truth than we think. There are many studies that point to the conclusion that wealth and happiness are not positively correlated, according to one such, wealth appears to make people less generous. What was novel and exciting in the immediate past transforms into 'the new normal,' and all the happiness has faded away. While there is no magical way to make us happy forever, there is a science of happiness and when we understand that, we become more skillful at staying happier, longer. The Dalai Lama has famously stated “The ultimate source of happiness is within us. Not money, not power, not status. Some of my friends are billionaires, but they are very unhappy people. Power and money fail to bring inner peace. Outward attainment will not bring real inner joyfulness. We must look inside.” As an ongoing state of well-being, happiness has been described, not as a destination or goal, but as a journey.

It doesn’t require professional neuro expertise to know that doing nice things for other people feels good. But however, now researchers say they’ve discovered that even thinking about doing something generous has real mood-boosting benefits in the brain. Results from a prominent global research institute study found that generosity indicators such as Charity, Helping Society, Volunteering, Socializing, etc. were highly correlated with happiness. Medically happiness has been linked to an activation of the ventral striatum, which has been shown to play a role in the brain's reward system, giving us that feeling of satisfaction when we perform a pleasant generous activity. Generosity is not necessarily an intuitive choice, as any selfless act comes at a personal cost. When we do something for someone else, we typically give away some of our personal resources, such as time, energy, or money. Still, people choose to act generously despite these costs, and that choice is probably explained, as the researchers suggest, by the motivation provided. Generosity is the basic innate human nature. As per a study, generosity had a positive effect on happiness in 93 percent of 136 countries studied. A nation needs to work on creating an ecosystem that can produce and maintain a happy society and for this to be realized it should go back to its roots and understand its aborigines.

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In 2011, the UN unanimously adopted a General Assembly resolution, introduced by Bhutan with support from 68 member states, calling for a “holistic approach to development” aimed at promoting sustainable happiness and wellbeing. This was followed in April 2012 by a UN High-Level Meeting on “Happiness and Wellbeing: Defining a New Economic Paradigm” designed to bring world leaders, experts and civil society and spiritual leaders together to develop a new economic paradigm based on sustainability and wellbeing. However, Bhutan is the only country in the world that has a “Gross National Happiness,” Index. The GNH index supports policy-making within Bhutan. Policy selection tools are used to review the potential effects of proposed policies on GNH and the results of the GNH index will be tracked over time to evaluate interventions. This ‘GNH Policy Lens’ requires that the policy consequences on all relevant dimensions be considered prior to implementation. GNH was first coined by the 4th King of Bhutan, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, in 1972 when he declared, “Gross National Happiness is more important than Gross Domestic Product.” The concept implies that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards notions of progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of wellbeing. The process of measuring GNH began when Bhutan opened up to globalization. It measures people’s quality of life and makes sure that material and spiritual development happen together. Thakur Singh Powdyel, Bhutan's minister of education, who has become one of the most eloquent spokespeople for GNH says that 'GNH is an aspiration, a set of guiding principles through which we are navigating our path towards a sustainable and equitable society. We believe the world needs to do the same before it is too late.' The GNH model of Bhutan is inspired by its roots of Ancient Indian wisdom, spirituality have been integrated with governance and as a result they want people to be happy first before everything else, thereby setting a sustainable model for the world to follow.

Spirituality is one of the prime natural sources which has the potential of transforming a person into becoming Generous, and a society consisting of generous people in the majority will by its nature acquire integral instincts, which are bound to organically turn into an Integrated happiness society. The Western materialists who are always critical of this phenomenon have conducted various researches and have failed to prove otherwise. However, spirituality should not be confused with religion or by the Dogma of Traditions and Customs. Religion is often formalized and community-oriented, while spirituality tends to be individually based and not as formalized. The concept of Supreme power more commonly understood as God exists in every person’s brain starting from childhood. Several circuits exist that help to shape each person’s understanding of their higher power. Whether or not one pursues a relationship with a higher power is a personal choice, but the capacity does exist in all, proclaims the authors of the book, ‘How God Changes Your Brain,’ while identifying the areas of the brain that shape the human perception of Supreme power. Enhancing this thought process in the pursuit of knowing the ultimate reality is what spirituality is all about. Spirituality not like religion is to relate the self to a wider form, feel contentment in this life, and be totally present in the actions of the present. Spirituality means the process of knowing the self the inner and original self. Ancient India, despite being an undemocratic nation, always strived to promote humaneness which the forefathers had derived from the wisdom they acquired through consistent ‘Adhyatmic sadhana’ or spiritual enlightenment. Today, India which is Bharat is the world's largest democracy. This basis is not only advantageous but a solid footing for upscaling a nation toward better prospects. Democracy unites people and Spirituality propounds integration, coalescing the both, India should strive towards transforming itself into a higher level of Spiritual democracy, and for this to materialize Integral Humanism is the adhesive and it shall further curate the festival of Happiness.

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