Compliment of the season to my esteemed beloved friends wherever you are at the moment. You may be surprised why I chose to use the word “compliment“, well, the reason is quite simple, I strongly believe somewhere around the world, a Country, State, Nation Community, tribe, village as the case maybe is celebrating or have something to celebrate or somebody is celebrating something that makes them happy. For example, in my beloved country, Nigeria, the last quarter of the year is usually called “mber” month for two reasons: First, the last four months ends in mber and again, it’s a season where everyone is expected to be careful, because of the get rich syndrome which is normally associated with it before Christmas is celebrated. Therefore, if you don’t have any cause to be happy, for the fact you are alive, you have to be happy.

Today, I choose to write on a topic of interest which flashed my memory some two months during my meditative and reflective moment.  I was wondering if I should use the topic In pursuit of happiness or In search of happiness. I finally chose to  use In Search of Happiness due to the crave most people have for happiness. I have come to the sublime conclusion in addition to discovering that in life, happiness is everything.  In order to fully appreciate this article, I will like to ask you a very simple question, What does happiness mean to you? I implore you to have at the back of your mind, happiness is a relative factor. This is because, according to some people, they derive happiness when have money; attain financial success; get married and have kids; attain a particular academic standard; get a good career job; seeing their children achieving success  in their chosen field/profession; living their dreams; being elected to serve in government; being a leader etc. All these desires are good and and can make one happy, but it should be noted, there are certain things which one or money can’t buy, yes, happiness is one and it is one of the most priceless virtues which we crave for. This is because, money can mansions and the goodies of life, but trust me, money can’t buy you happiness. Money can get you a companion but not happiness.The most money can get you is a comedian, but that joy or happiness is only transient, because after one or two hours of entertainment, you will be forced to return back to you misery or whatever situation you might have been. It should be noted-happiness is a state of mind which can be described as an involuntary act which one can’t control, just like you have no control of when you sleep.

Before we begin this discourse about happiness, it will be make sense if we can give a proper definition to happiness. According to Wikipedia, “Happiness can be defined as, gladness or joy is a mental or emotional state of well-being defined by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. With this elaborate and detailed definition, I’m quite hopeful we have laid a solid foundation for the most treasured virtue every living being crave for. Yes, I will say it again and again, this is the most treasured virtue every living being want in life. This is because, if you are not happy, why are you living? If you are not happy, what is the meaning of life to you? You may belong to the school of thought that opine that, money makes one happy, yes I agree to some extent, but I have a message for you, research has shown that most people who get riches and wealth through illegal means are not usually happy and will never be happy later in life, this is because their conscience will  never be at rest. Stories have it that such individuals normally have sleepless night. You may also opine to the school of thought that opine that relationship, whether married or not makes one happy. Yes, I agree to a reasonable extent, but we shall discuss the topic later in this article. I have seen many cases of wealthy persons who have virtually all the good things life have to offer, but they are not really happy with their life because of an illness they are facing or probably their fears have been heightened due to what the doctors have told them concerning their health status. On relationship, I personally don’t believe we need boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives etc to be happy. Don’t get me wrong, they are good and can make one happy, but I personally think, they are secondary factors because happiness is an inside job and the primary factor of happiness is the one you give yourself.

In order for us to fully appreciate this little piece, we shall be looking at some variable factors that play a huge relative role in the composition, structure and holistic nature of happiness. As defined above, happiness has a large composition and structure depending on the way and angle we are looking at it. Be it emotional, health, relationship, academic/career, marital, life challenges etc.

RELATIONSHIP: This is one of the most revered areas in life when the issue or topic of happiness is mentioned. This is simply because, there’s is this perception that, happiness is synonymous with relationship. To a reasonable extent, I tend to agree with this school of thought, because as rational beings, we cannot live in isolation. We need our fellow beings to succeed in life. As human beings, we always have a tendency to believe that our happiness lies in our fellow human beings, I kind of defer on this school thought on the premise that, happiness is an inside job. In one of my blog I wrote last year entitled “What is life and how can one live through it”, I defined life as 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you react to it. As human beings, we always have a tendency to attribute our success, failure, happiness, life miseries to our fellow human beings. However, this should not be the case. I have always advised friends to own their life situations name it, happiness, sadness, disappointments etc. One way to achieve this is to see whatever happens to you as an experience, in that way, you are thinking positive. Every right thinking human being likes to feel loved and being appreciated and when they don’t get the desired appreciation they want, they feel the world has rejected them. I personally don’t think the world owes us anything. Rather we owe the world by giving back. Stories abound of many people who have faced many difficult situations, abusive relationships, experiences, etc, but they refuse to allow human beings and life situations to take their joy and happiness. They were able to overcome such negative situations by giving back to the society in addition to advising on ways we can live happily. As mentioned earlier, nobody is in-charge of your happiness, your happiness lies in you, because, happiness is an inside job. Please permit me to share an experience I had when I was in college (University) in Nigeria. I was once touted/tagged with so many nick names namely: most handsome, fine boy, ladies man, among others names. One evening, while I was relaxing with one my of my bosom friend, a conversation came up and the topic was centered on relationship, and he said “Henry, you know you are the toast of most girls in campus, why don’t you consider having one of these ladies flocking around you as your girl friend”?. I smiled, and asked him, please tell me why I need a girl friend, and he responded ” because they will make you happy”. I smiled, and looked at him while nodding my head insinuating, that makes sense. I thanked him generously and replied him “my brother, I thank you immensely for looking out for me and advising me on issues of concern, yes I agree with you to a reasonable extent, ladies make us happy, however, I personally believe ladies are not primarily responsible for our happiness, because happiness is an inside job” Luckily for me, I had a book by by John Powell entitled Happiness is an Job , which I was currently reading at the said time, I showed him the book, he smiled and concurred with me, saying, there’s some sense in what you have just said. I went further to say, “make no mistake, having a girlfriend is sweet and lovely, however, one needs to have one who is not only compatible with his or her personality, but one who also knows what he/she wants, feels, in addition to liking you for what you are and and what you represent as opposed to loving you for who you are”. At this point, he was speechless with a demeanor insinuating, speak on. I finally hit the point by asking him a question, “are you telling me, without your girlfriend, you won’t be happy”? He said no, I thereafter told him “The primary source of our happiness lies in you” not ladies, ladies are there to complement it for you and vice versa, because, when the relationship is over, your life still continues. That ended the topic. However, both of us agreed and reasoned from both sides and the rest was history The moral of this point is that, it’s only when we give ourselves happiness that other people will come to complement us. In law, we have a legal maxim that says Nemo dat quod non hebat which literally means, you can’t give what you don’t have. If you don’t have happiness, you can’t give out happiness. Therefore nobody will make you happy unless you chose to be happy.

Vocation: Another component of happiness is in the area of the vocation we find ourselves in. If we are honest to ourselves, we can never be happy in addition to being fulfilled in any profession we find ourselves nor matter how much we make and how hard we work, if you don’t have a passion in the job or career. We are all created in different ways and as such the creator of heaven and earth has made us in unique ways in addition to endowing us with certain inalienable gifts such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. This he did by giving us the choice to to choose what we like having endowed us with different gifts. However, it’s quite unfortunate many people have ventured into different jobs professions/vocations in search of better life or opportunities. Some people have chosen jobs, vocations or career for money and power and not for passion. They have chosen to put the cart before the horse by choosing money or material things over what they are passionate about. In order for you to you happy, you need to follow your heart. I’m not saying saying that searching for greener opportunities which pays well is not good, they are good, what am saying is that, you’ll never get fulfillment and satisfaction in life. According to Herman Cain, Success is not the key to happiness, happiness is the key to succeess, if you love what you are doing, you will be successful”.Trust me, money doesn’t make one happy, money is a secondary factor when compared to happiness. Isn’t it true that you can have money and still not be happy? “. My mentor Dele Momodu once said, “If I’m asked to choose between and love and money which will I choose? I will choose love, because love has given me everything I need in life, with love you can get anything you want in life” Some folks might disagree here, but I have a simple question, would you prefer happiness in a marriage or a marriage with wealth but no happiness? If you have no idea of the answer please ask a married person if possible a married lady if she prefers money to happiness or happiness to money in relationship. Again, In one of my blog I wrote last year, entitled “The Relativity of Success” I said, success is relative and so, same is applicable to happiness. This is because, the vocations we find ourselves really goes a long way to show how successful we’ll be in life. It’s only individuals who have really discovered themselves themselves very well that will succeed in the career path they have chosen. Example of great leaders who decided to follow their dreams and achieved success and fulfillment are: Michael Jackson aka King of Pop who at the tender started making waves in the entertainment industry, Beyonce, Jay Z, Micky minaj, Usher Raymond, Don Jazzy of Nigeria, P – Square of Nigeria, Davido of Nigeria,and more recently Linda Ikeji of Nigeria who recently bought a house valued at over half a billion naira in Nigeria which is equivalent to $3.4 million US dollars just by blogging. Also great minds like Mark Zukerberg of Facebook discovered his passion on time and followed it and founded Facebook. Another great mind is Barack Obama, who joined partisan grass root politics to help his community despite getting big offers from corporate organization in Wall Street in New York City where the money is. Today, he’s been celebrated as the first black US president in the in America history. He (Obama) used his oratory and leadership skills to achieve his end desires to be the United States president. Assuming president Obama was after money, maybe he wouldn’t have been the US president and again, maybe he wouldn’t have been as successful as he is today, because, most of his skills won’t really be needed in the business world as opposed to the world at large. Same goes for Chinua Achebe of Nigeria – an international novelist who turned down the scholarship opportunity that was offered to him by the British colonial government for studying Medicine when he was in his second year in the University, he followed his passion and heart desires to study English and literature in English by paying out of pocket. Today, he’s regarded as one of the greatest writers in the world through his published works: books and articles.  Therefore, what makes you happy is relative to what makes another person happy. Moral: When choosing a vocation please choose a course you love, whether law, medicine, artwork, music, religious vocation, entertainment, business, government, politics etc because the end justifies the means, you really want to be happy in addition to not having any regret later in life.

Life Situations: Due to time time factor,  I will like to summarize other areas of interest. As mentioned earlier, life situations have made some people to act differently. According to Mother Teresa, she has given us some succor on how to live a healthy positive life when we are faced with different life situations she said:

“People are often unreasonable and self-centered, Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people will accuse of ulterior motives – Be kind anyway

If you are honest people may cheat on you, Be honest anyway

The good you do today maybe forgotten, Be good anyway

If you find happiness, people may be jealous Be happy anyway

Give your best anytime and at the end you will discover it is between you and God, It was never between you and them anyway” .And I add, because such is life. 

That said, I will add just one sub topic of interest that is responsible for challenges in most homes.

Marriage:  The basic factor which every married couple crave for is happiness. Without happiness, it will be hard for any marriage to last. There can never be happiness without understanding. Understanding is the foundational factor that holds marriage together. This is because, there can be problem where there’s no problem and there can no problem where there’s problem, because, what might be a little issue between two friends or couples, how they will handle it will be make it look big issue, and what might be a big issue between two married couples, how they will handle it look little. For a successful marriage to thrive happily, peace, love and understanding should be the foundational ingredient, it is only then that happiness can thrive happily. With my little knowlege and experience on relationship with most married couples and people in relationship, I have heard many words like, “it is better for one  to be single than having a relationship where one is married and still single”. In United States for example, most ladies who file for divorce do so on many grounds: adultery, lack of understanding, ego of men etc. However, trust me, assuming they have happiness is in their mind, divorce won’t be an option. Divorce breaks the jinx that money makes one happy in marriage for people who opine money makes one happy. Stories abound of many successful men who have money, but their wives still divorced them for reasons best known to them, a classical example is Tiger Woods, the richest sports man in the world. On a humor note, I have always told ladies, you can be married and still be a side chic especially the case where you allow another lady to make your man happy lol.

Smiling: This is a very big component of happiness. As mentioned earlier, happiness is an inside job. You smile while remaining unhappy, unless you are deceiving yourself with plastic smile. Smiling has a way of making life easy for each and everyone of us. During the course of my communication with most female friends of mine who have faced difficult life situations. I always say to them smile, just smile, it cost nothing to smile. Smile at your problems, that’s one sure way of making your adversaries know you are way above the situation. As advised earlier, life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it. Happiness is indeed an inside job.  I have also told female friends of interest, smiling makes you look more beautiful and younger, while been moody makes you look older and ugly. Moral: Smile is the cheapest but radiating make up  a lady can ever put on.

Attitude:  Attitude is the sum total way we see life. There’s no other sure way of being happy if you don’t have a sound positive mental attitude. In life, attitude is everything as written by Keith Harrel. Stories abound of men and women, who don’t have the basic goodies life have to offer, but at same-time they choose to be happy. Our attitude goes a long way to show our dispositions to different life situations. Attitude is the only sure way we can demystify being sad. Just like happiness is a state of mind, same can be said of attitude. Therefore, it’s highly recommended and imperative, we always look at the good side of life, whenever we are faced with negative attitudes, I strongly advise, we think positive by seeing life situations it as an experience.

Finally beloved friends, the search of happiness is an unending life journey we all have to engage in. Just like discovering oneself is an everyday factor. As a way of an advice, as you go about living your life, don’t put your trust on material things or human beings.  TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HAPPINESS! OWN YOUR HAPPINESS REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION OR CIRCUMSTANCES, PUT ON THE RIGHT APRON OF ATTITUDE AND SMILE AT YOUR HATERS AND PROBLEMS. TRUST ME, IT’S ONLY THEN, THEY WILL BE CONFUSED IN THEIR CONFUSION. ONCE YOU THAT, THEY WILL EVAPORATE AND DISAPPEAR LIKE AN EVIL SPIRIT LOOKING FOR A NEW BODY TO LIVE IN. Therefore, as you live your  life, always have at the back of your mind, happiness is an inside job!  I ask once more, what makes you happy? For me, I derive happiness when I smiles on the faces of the desolate beings, those in need, counseling, inspiring people, serving humanity, listening to music, dancing etc so what about you? Be inspired, be positive and be the change!!!!

PS: Please feel free to drop your comments whether constructive or advise in that way, we can learn from each other. Thanks…

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Henry Ukazu is a graduate of New York Law School. He is Founder and President at Global Empowerment & Mentoring Initiative. A trained life coach, prolific writer, and passionate youth advocate, he is also a highly sought-after public speaker. He is author of the acclaimed book, “Design Your Destiny- Actualizing Your Birthright to Success.

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