Financial loss, divorce, career setback, illness, or death of a loved one - life is full of difficulties. To borrow an apt term from Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn, life is a ‘full catastrophe’!
How can we hope to live well amid these challenges of living?
What makes people happy?
Success, money, power and love. What else?
Happiness is now a well-established topic in the scientific and social research community. Some of the research is investigating the ancient traditions of wellbeing.
A lot has been found about happiness. The best news from researchers is that happiness can be ‘cultivated’. Here are some ways to live happier, as suggested by research and traditional wisdom.
Back in the day when I didn’t need to make final decisions about my life, I could declare to the world “I want to be a doctor” and change that to “I want to be a dancer” the next year; I wanted to become many people - journalist, teacher, writer, designer, researcher, RJ… God knows how many more.
About 80% of the world learns the difference between left and right in the age of 5 or 6. But then there is another 20% inclusive of me, who can’t tell their left from right. Well, to start with, I am a medical researcher and have had an excellent formal education since schooling. Like any other weird and strange person on this planet, I perform tasks like anyone else and have certain set of qualities that makes me stand apart. Time and again, I have proved myself that I don’t know left from right.
People do not usually come to coaches asking for fulfillment. Most people seek a coach to achieve something specific such as to find a better job or to improve a relationship or to reduce stress. But all of them are seeking a more fulfilling life.
Unfulfilling life choices sap you of energy and joie de vivre. You feel hopelessly stuck in a very unhappy place. In contrast, when you live a life of fulfillment, you experience being alive and whole.
A fulfilled life
Discovering what is important to you gives you freedom to live in harmony with yourself. Knowing one’s values gives a person a sense of identity, direction in life, clarity in decision making, and the motivation to set and achieve personally meaningful goals.
Clarifying Values is the core of life coaching process
A decision maker’s story
This story illustrates how clarifying values helps making decisions easier.
My mother draws a Kolam every morning at the front door. A ritual, that I remember her doing ever since my first memories. And I have rarely seen her miss a day so far.
It is hard to describe what a Kolam is in a language which cannot capture its cultural nuance. Kolam is an artistic pattern drawn on the floor usually in front of the house or near an altar. It is usually drawn with dry rice flour and sometimes with a powder made of a particular stone. In some parts of India it is called Rangoli.
At the age of 10, Yuge Ma set out alone, on the first of a series of train journeys to explore her home nation. By the age of 14 she had travelled across all 31 provinces of China by herself with the full support of the parents. After graduating from Tsinghua University in China, she joined Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi to study development and environmental change.
Shirin Rizvi Hasan - Director, Global Clinical Affairs for Covidien
2014 has been a year of change for my family, and me both professionally and personally. Some good and some not so good, but change is what leads to growth. Change can be intimidating for some, but for others it is welcome, whether planned or unplanned. And whether you expected it or not, you have to learn how to deal with it, make it your own, and spin it to keep going forward.
My mind is stuck between screaming good riddance to a year that has troubled me or bidding a grateful adieu to a year that has taught me many things I couldn’t even have dreamt of achieving.
One part of me didn’t want to confront the troubles life threw at me; on the other hand, I am immensly happy knowing how much I have changed for the better.