By what measure do we define Happiness?
How do these differ between Western and Eastern cultures? How intertwined are these emotions? These perceptions.
What is their worth?
These were some of the questions pondered and debated in a discussion today that I had with some of my work colleagues. Even though some of these colleagues are English and they are not very bright – I like them a lot and I value their opinions. Dare I say that I even respect some of them and I enjoy our dialogue.
I like our banter.
We agreed that we shouldn't generalize - however the Singaporean standard for the measurement of success seems to differ from our viewpoint. Education to the Singaporeans is very important - the formal kind - not life experiences. The Singaporean takes life very seriously. Failure is not an option. This seems to be a focus from a very early age and it is a heavy burden.
There is a lot of pressure - especially on children.
It is not necessarily a bad thing.
It is just different from ours.
So is success linked to happiness? I didn't think so and neither did most of the English. We all know quite a lot of successful people who aren't happy.
They aren't happy at all.
Conversely I know quite a few people who are very happy but they aren't particularly successful. At least not by the standards that Western society sets.
I suspect that these happy people are however the most successful of us all.
These impoverished people.
And what is the measure of success? Is it the size of one's bank account? Is it the value of our net worth? Is it the title on our business cards? Is it the esteem with which they are regarded by others? Or is it the way they regard themselves? Is it all of these or none? My view of this has changed as I have aged.
I once believed that other people's perception of me was important. I was genuinely unhappy if people thought poorly of me. It doesn't matter so much to me anymore and I look back and laugh at my foolishness and my ambition. It was passé. It was com si com sa.
What people may or may not think of me? Well in the main I simply now don’t give a fuck.
What I think of myself carries more weight. It sets my moral compass. I value my values more than other peoples regard.
I am not saying that I am happy all the time - far from it.
I am perfectly imperfect and I don't disregard the supposition of others.
It just doesn't drive me anymore.
It is the simple things now that bring me happiness and contentment. Sharing moments with friends and family. Laughter. Giving. Receiving. Sharing. Reminiscing. Introspection. Virtuosity. Rising to an occasion. Reaching a goal.
I equate fulfillment with happiness.
But who am I to know?
I know though that at this point of time I am happy. I am content.
And I am sure that this will change again.
This sagacity of mine.