I am not sure how many of you have read this book called ‘The Geography of Bliss’ by Eric Weiner, but if you haven’t read yet, please do. I strongly recommend you. Being said that, this blog post is a mixture of a book review and lessons which I can relate to his point of view as I have traveled a lot recently.
So if you want to dive into a quest about where exactly people are most happy and why then I recommend you to read this article and we might learn a thing or two.
So first things first, what is this book all about and why have I decided to write about this on my blog? Well, the philosophy of this book is straightforward, author (Eric Weiner) being a journalist (self-claimed grumpy) travels around the world (Around 15 countries) to find “Happiness.” Yes, he goes around the world to see where people are most happy or unhappy and why and tries to find the exact formula to be happy (At least he hoped to find it). So the book takes you through his incredible journey around the world with a lot of interviews and observations about each country in his wit and funny way. The best part of the book is that he has tried to quantify with all those factors we think makes us happy (Money, Nature, Family, Time, Boredom, People), but he has different findings everywhere he goes.
The reason I love this book is that I have been to most countries out of his list where he went to find happiness and I must say, he has impressive observation skills. However, I want to share this because many of us have always believed happiness as a place or thing to achieve or to attain by different means and ways, but there is much more to it.
Happiness or Bliss by definition is a state of being happy, basically feeling good and positive, irrespective of many contradictory beliefs, happiness cannot be attained or achieved by doing certain things in a manner or following the same path of someone who is happy. Happiness/Bliss is a very personal thing, and with some tuning, some elements already inside you could take you to that state.
Much like the author’s exploration, we think more money means more happiness, which is not true in many countries (Like Qatar, Saudi) because even after having less to no income tax, an abundance of money, not everyone there is happy as we think. Like money, many of us believe, if we stay near nature or in mountains, we would be most comfortable, but there are countries which have more forests and environments around them than any artificial things and are still not even close to being happiest people. Similarly, only rich culture or only successful materialistic assets won’t make anyone happy necessarily as well. Off-course, I am not saying these things are not part of your happiness in one way or another, but we always seek to isolate that one thing or one pattern which fits all and that will never happen.
I have seen miserable millionaires and happiest beggars, again that does not mean rich people are not happy or poor people are happier, I am just making a point that the factors we think will make us happy for sure might not always be true.
But, it doesn’t end here, happiness cannot be just created with straightforward formula by adding some attributes on which someone else might be very happy. This is due to the fact, that every person is different, upbringing is different, the environment is different which makes us crave things we have never seen or experienced. As they say “Grass is greener on the other side”, its true with happiness because we always think someone else is happy because they have specific things and given that you had them, you would be equally happy. Sorry to break the bubble, but its never like that, it’s much more complex than that.
To break it down, which is purely perspective, Happiness is “Balance”. From all the research the author has done in the book or all the observations I have made across my travels, it’s always the Balance which is a key to the path of a fulfilled life. So, it’s very trivial to say that only Money, or only Family, or only Nature brings happiness and rest nothing is required. This is a lie.
Now, the funny part of Balance is, that, it is not always with you however you try, because most of our life balance is based on our situations, some in our control and some absolutely not. So how can we achieve a balance which leads us to happiness state? Well, the answer is our whole ‘Attitude towards life and our mindset to achieve our unique Balance’.
No one has been successfully able to quantify a formula of Balance, hence, no one can derive a formula for happiness. It’s a formula which every individual has to derive for its own and it won’t work on someone else.
The only thing we as individuals can do is to make everyone realize that your unique way of creating a balance between your priorities can lead you to more time in happiness state irrespective of your country, situation, actions or external attributes.
Please leave your thoughts in comments about what you think your balance and happiness is?