Saturday, November 07, 2009

What do we really need to be happy?

This week I met up with Shaolintiger for coffee. We were catching up when he was just telling about a few new things he has in his life. One of which is his new car that he's really really proud of: A Mitsubishi Airtrek.

He was so proud of his new car that he insisted he take me for a ride in it and it was beautiful even on the inside. For the first time in my life, I was looking at a man who displayed an aura of content and bliss as he sat in his driver's seat. He didn't need a big house in Damasara Heights, or a BMW or Porsche. All he needed was a car he liked and maybe some time in the future, a house he could call home.

It got me thinking. Being Chinese, we all grow up thinking of how we must strive for successful careers. How we must live our lives to accumulate a lot of money to buy big houses and big cars with them. How we must all one day strive to own our own businesses. These material dreams though come at a cost.

I don't own a big house nor have I accumulated vast amounts of money but I do own a business. Not a big one but a medium sized one and one of the costs of that business is that it takes away my peace of mind. Weekends never feel the same again because your mind doesn't stop working even then.

I have many friends who work on weekdays to service their housing and car loans but I see them on weekends and they are truly relaxed. Some of them don't own a lot on paper but they genuinely are happy. So while money is important to provide a certain level of comfort, how much of it do we really need?

I think that probably differs between people and where we all go wrong is when we start to compare ourselves with others. You may have saved for many years to buy your dream car, say a Honda Stream but one day you see a few of your friends driving a Mercedes E Class and that somehow makes you less proud of your Honda Stream when it shouldn't. But can you blame us for being like that? For naturally having to compare ourselves with our peers? That's how we were all brought up.

Remember how in primary school your mum would compare you to her friend's son or daughter who was doing better than you in school. So we all grow up comparing ourselves with one another and when we do so we sometimes pay too little attention to what we should be grateful we have and too much attention to what others have.

If you can imagine a group of Tai Tai's comparing who has a more expensive and exclusive bag and who has a bigger diamond. The ones with the least to show of the group probably still has a Chanel and a diamond ring that most of us don't have but she ends up feeling a little bad about it because all her peers have more expensive items.

I think the root of happiness is being happy with what we have in a material sense and achieving a good balance in other areas in life like family. I know right now that I could never be truly happy with all the money in the world if I didn't have a family, with wife and kids that I love and who love me as much in return. Having happiness after all is what success should be measured by right? Not money. But happiness.

What do you need to make you happy?


jazmint said...

the bestfriend and family is the best remedy. but oh, a puppy is a bonus tho. (:

Boss Stewie said...

jazmint: awww.. what puppy do u have?

suanie said...

happiness is what you make of it :)
i am very happy that i can run 400m without stopping.

Vy said...

I think being happy is just being content with what you have. With family, friends, reading a nice book, being in your imagination, traveling, etc. 快乐其实很简单.

Simplicity is happiness...

Boss Stewie said...

suanie: yeah i heard u've been making a lot of progress. takes a lot of discipline. Well done Suanie. Keep it up :)

vy: ahh so true :)

Gypsy On The Move said...

Happiness is when you're living your life to the fullest and appreciating it even tho it might be small. A dinner with the whole family together is enough to make me smile. =)

papayaz said...

very well said =)

Boss Stewie said...

gypsy: awww... i'm about to have dinner with some family now so that makes me happy :)

papa: hehe thank u

xiiinyiii said...

first time comment here..sooooo true...some people just dont know how to be appreciative for what they have in life..

well said~

Genova said...

boss, u wrote an essay and it's kinda similar to what i once wrote for exam. :)

Super Gentleman said...

A normal paying job that can cover for my bills and ration... I jz need my Xbox and games to be utterly happy... Owh, internet too!! :D

Anonymous said...

" Having happiness after all is what success should be measured by right? Not money. But happiness " nice words bro , so true !!

Joshualaw said...

Well written, Timothy! =) Yea..have lots of money but got no happiness also worthless...the best have both, money & happiness! lol~

tickledpinkpig said...

I think the key to happiness in life is to find the reason for living. The drive that keeps you going. To be honest, I am still searching. I can only wish I was 16 all over again. Everything was much more simple then =)

sarah said...

At time I do feel very happy and content with my life. Mostly when everything in my life is going the way I want it too (ie no problems to worry abt etc).

Anonymous said...

Very meaningful entry, couldn't agree with you more :)
I guess some people don't know their limits because they are still looking for something to fill up the emptiness within them..

Summer said...

Happiness is a state.

If you are a poor man and I give you a million dollars now, you would be happy.

If you are a billionaire and I give you a million dollars now, you WOULD NOT be happy.

Same thing, different position, different results.

So bottom line, life is all about balance. You need some bitter to make the sweet taste sweeter. You need to take knocks to appreciate what you have.

We all too often take things like electricity, water from tap and even able to flush down out poo down the toilet bowl for granted. A visit to places like nepal or rural part of china will change your thinking.

So life is not all about getting everything. You win some, you lose some. Because you lost before, therefore there is a meaning to the win. What is the fun if life is only win win win?

Jane said...

but of course, money cannot buy happiness, but it does prevent many unwanted worries and problems from not having enough of it.

there is a fine line between a workaholic and a person who is passionate about his job. there is nothing wrong with thinking about your job 24/7 if it gives you pleasure. that itself is a form of happiness, don't you think? it's something that very few people are fortunate enough to be able to experience. i hope i too will find a job that i'll love.

JD said...

I think sometimes we need to be content. I am happy that I am able to relax on weekends. And being able to do stuffs that I like. Work is work and leisure is leisure. It's a matter of balance and finding the right mixture.

Boss Stewie said...

xinyi: yeah and if you learn to appreciate it then that's where you'll find happiness :)

genova: really? ohh share it!

super gentleman: yes we all need internet :)

dj: thanks dude :)

joshua: haha yes that would be ideal eh

tickled: aww why do u wanna be 16 all over again? i don't wanna be 16 again. happy where i am now

sara: hehee that's great to hear

yong: yeah sometimes i think that emptiness is created from within ourselves

gastroboy: ahhh i like your perspective of life :)

jane: yeah.. that's why i think we all need some level of money to achieve some comfort but beyond that it's really up to the individual

Anonymous said...

Its subjective, isn't it.
Thats how life is, where comparing leads you to become dissatisfied with what you have.
The best way to be happy imo, is to count your blessings no matter big or small, and be thankful for them.:)

- m i c h e l l e - said...

I remember how over the "interview" I had with you over Skype, you were telling me how success should always be measured by happiness. And since then, I've always held on to it and reflected on that quote of yours whenever I start pondering what is it that really makes me a successful person. Not my results, not how rich I'm gonna be in the future, but yeah, happiness. (: And happiness always = family and friends. They will always be on top of the list.

Innocent^^Guy said...

everytime i do something different, i feel happy...therefore every morning i wake up, i try and do something different that day

Tony Wan said...

Good post Timothy!

Money is not everything :D

Anonymous said...

Why compare what shoes they are wearing? Most of us are barefooted.

Kevin Chan said...

Hey.. just dropping by.. nice post.. to me, i dun need a lot of money to be happy. To me happiness is when i'm able to take care of and spend every single moment of my living life with the girl i love and our children.

Funky Dory said...

Good post indeed.
I'll be truly happy if I could travel to Spain (my dream!) to take nice architectural pictures.

But still, need money kan to go there? Hahaha XP

SYN* said...

Happiness for me is when you have someone who can share your happiness and sadness;and presuppose I do not have to worry about my own living. Am I asking too much already? haha!

ps: Boss Stewie, I find that you replied everybody's msg. Cool!

Ice Princess said...

Very well written indeed!
Erector pili musles were stimulated to produce goosepimples towards the end of reading...
I love the sincerity, simplicity and truthfulness in your way of writing.
Blogging is real fun past time. *inspired* Will definitely try to dwell in deeper.
Princess is a blessed girl, and Tim is a HAPPY boy! =D

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messi said...

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rage n roll said...

interesting write out. i always thought about this but i am not good at expressing my self like u do. hope you dont mind i share out ur write out link at my fbook.

RealGunners said...

so.. when are you going to propose?

jess~ said...

im happy i got into USM. *always hopes to see Timothy Tiah walking with Audrey Ooi in Batu Ferringi.*

im happy when my mum call and asks me when is the exact date i'll be home.

im happy when my dad calls.. he has this thing where he always knows the right time to call. especially when im down.

im happy when my younger brother calls me and ask me to get soomething from him when i get back. =)

i will be happier if my elder siblings calls when they don't need anything from me.

im happy that whenever im down i just go online and check out all my favorite funny blogs laugh to myself and it'll make my day. *ur blog included*

p/s: im an easily happied person