The Secret to Eternal Happiness Comes Down to This One Thing

Do you remember Po, the cuddly panda from the movie Kung Fu Panda?

Let's recap a bit about the movie.

In the movie, Po, a bumbling panda is chosen as the dragon warrior to fight an evil warrior, Tai Lung. His guru, Master Oogway trains him and even after being defeated by Tai Lung, Master Oogway gives Po the dragon scroll - which is sacred and full of wisdom. Upon receiving the scroll, Po finds out that its reflective surface has nothing on it. Po is disappointed that the scroll did not have the knowledge to make him a great warrior. He goes to his adoptive father and to console his son, he reveals to PO the secret ingredient for his noodle soup.

He says, " The secret ingredient is nothing". He adds, " To make something special you have to believe it is special".

Such simple lines, but one can have profound learning from it.

Aren't we all looking for that special ingredient to make us happy? You won't be reading this article if you are not in search of happiness.

On the internet, you will find loads of articles and blog posts complete with a variety of lists telling you the path to happiness. Entire websites run on telling you how you can be happy. If only we could remember all the points they listed out when we are unhappy so that we could always be happy.

Happiness cannot be packaged or found in to-do lists.

Let's accept it.

Life is challenging and we are all navigating the ups and the downs the best we can and trying to hold onto the lasting experience of happiness.

We believe that if we found the right person to fall in love, we would be always happy. We think that buying an expensive car or a dress or a house will make us happy.

Wait a minute.

If that was true, wouldn't all successful people be happy all the time?

Can the source of happiness be anything external? But isn't happiness inside you? 

Just like pain, anger, and disappointment.

Then why do we keep searching for it in all the wrong places?

Happiness is always within you. It all depends on how you choose to look at a situation. People who are always joyful will focus on the good in any situation. They will always look at the silver lining. It is always about perception.

How do we look at a given situation? 

Focussing on what we don't have rather than what we have pulls us into a downward spiral. Negative feelings feed negative thoughts and then start the whole cycle of being unhappy.

Introspection is one of the biggest tools to understand why we feel unhappy.

Why is a certain situation making me unhappy? 

An answer to this question needs to be broken down to reach to the root cause of unhappiness. Any situation that makes us unhappy is always based on our perception and the expected outcome of a situation.

What if we step aside and become an observer, instead of being a participant?

This will help us to be rational without letting our feelings get in the way of our introspection. It will not only allow us to see things clearly but will also help us to take the next steps, to deal with the situation in a structured way. Recognizing patterns of thoughts and understanding our limiting beliefs will help us to work on them.

We all face challenges, losses, and struggles in life. In such moments, it would seem impossible to hold on to happiness. The thing we need to remember is that it is always our choice about how we want to feel about a situation.

Self-love is the key to happiness. We need to be gentle with ourselves. Living in the now - the present, and forgoing past mistakes and the fear of the future. It is about appreciating what we already have. It is about shifting our perception and learning to focus on the abundance we have in our lives and being thankful for it.

The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.

Marcus Aurelius


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