Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Pursuit of Happiness

How many times in our lives have we started a conversation with "I want..." Pretty often. And once we do achieve the "I want..", do we stop saying that? No, probably not.

I read a couple of articles this morning in the papers that set off this line of thought.

# 1: Mukesh Ambani's house
Mumbai Mirror reported that he is building a 27-storey house with features such as helipads, mini theatre, swimming pool, 6 floors of parking space (to house upto 168 cars), two floors of guest rooms, 4 floors of living space for the family and 600 service staff to maintain the mansion. I wonder if he’d be happy with this, or want more, once it takes shape in concrete and mortar?

In contrast, my maid told me this morning that she is thrilled to have found a first floor asbestos roofed 1 room house before monsoon and she aims to buy a one room shack in two years time!

Who would be happier once they move into their dream house? Would they want more after that?

# Cars and Car Owners
Bluetooth backseats, warm seats, I pod connectivity, moon roof, run-flat tyres.. the list goes on. As if it were not enough to own a BMW, these are some of the extra features that are regularly asked for by BMW clients.

In contrast, my colleague has begun traveling by rick once she moved into this company. She says she is much happier without having to fight for a foot of space on the train each morning. She is saving up to buy a second-hand car in 3 years time.

Will a BMW go faster in Mumbai traffic as compared to a 3 wheeler? Who would be happier traveling in their mode of transport on a rainy day? Would they want more?

When some material, spiritual or emotional change brings us comfort, it doesn’t last, we want more. Want more salary, want children now that we are married, want to go to all jyothirlingam sites….

When do we start saying ‘I want’ and when do we stop?
Who is happy with what they have... my maid? Mukesh Ambani? Me? You?

“It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson on the Declaration of Independence and the part about our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. How did he know that? “
- Will Smith in ‘The Pursuit of Happyness'



  1. I take Happiness as a spread (Inv banker that I am!). The narrower the spread between what you expect and what you get, the happier you are. If being happy is the goal - expect less.

  2. they say the hunt is bigger than the kill...

  3. I am right now in that phase when I keep thinking to myself that I want this and I want that...and I am sure that once I get that I will want something else...

    Nice post made me feel human!!!

  4. what we want is always relative to what we have....and once you get what you want you are happy for at least sometime and then you start wanting more.. so there is nothing wrong in wanting more and more..... but one should be realistic and should know one's limitation also....

  5. # smita: thatz interesting. Expecting less to be more happy.

    # itchingtowrite: I agree. Its always the chase thats exciting.

    # chaitali: Hmm, have you considered that perhaps variety is available now?

    # cool: We'd be enlightened if we knew what our limitations are exactly! But its a worthy pursuit nevertheless.

  6. Was going through your older posts and found this one worth commenting, by the bye.

    Well, happiness is an extremely subjective thing. To tell you honestly, I have set me a target of buying a BMW in ten years. I think that it’s not the BMW which will give me happiness but the person that I can share it with will. As the material form is only a goal and goals once achieved only give you satisfaction and not happiness which might reflect on happiness in the larger picture.

    The start and stop thing is truly a big problem as people lose track of that once they start achieving.