In 2015, I learnt a lot about choosing happiness and positivity over sadness and pessimism. You might have some recollection of my 2015 recap, but if you don’t, here it is. In 2016, I worked really hard. I stayed true to myself, I stuck close to my values, chased my dreams and focused hard on my goals.
Now reflecting back on what happened in the last year, this has been an extremely fulfilling run. I did not just learn more about myself but about other people, and about building relationships, friends, love and commitments.
I must say that 2016 might have been full of important lessons and also one of the most exciting and memorable years of my life.
Your Facebook page might be flooded with memes talking about how terrible the year went with deaths of so many celebrities, with Brexit and oh ya, politics taking on a complete mind of its own in America.
But that aside, I thought it’d be nice to share some of my personal lessons with you guys as this year has been a pivotal one for me.
Friends are golden. A true friendship is one where you can trust completely, love unconditionally without bearings or any limitations and just be entirely yourself. They’re people whom you need not meet every single day, but have a million things to say to, the moment you meet them again. They’re the ones you can always count on when the going gets tough.
I’ve also learnt that you can’t force friendships. Either it’s there or it’s not, and whatever “it” is, is so ephemeral and magical that neither one of you could name it even tried if you tried your hardest to. You both just know.
Love is such an idolised word. Love is all around. Love is everywhere. Love is a wonderful experience. It’s one of the greatest experiences life has to offer. It should always be aspired and enjoyed. However, it should not cause one to lose self-identity, it cannot be a force that defines a person and sacrifice his/her self-worth as a result. Love should not take away anything, but only add. I always thought that being in a relationship would have me to give up a part of myself, my dreams and my life- but I was wrong. And this, I was proven to in 2016– that my relationship, work and life could all go hand-in-hand. Remember guys, if love causes you to lose yourself, then that is not love. Love should always add and not subtract.
Constantly searching for happiness is difficult and almost impossible. I’ve realised that the pursuit of happiness in itself is limiting and the best way to be happy is to follow your heart and go with whatever that sets your soul on fire. This helps to bring one’s self a step closer to that “ideal self” or “ideal state”, which will in return grant you true happiness.
Many a times, things that make us happy would involve some form of struggle, despair and then as we look back on it, gets our eyes welled up in tears.
That’s when they put it in a cliche way that it is not the end-goal that matters, but the journey. It is not about the prestige and money from the successful business you run that makes you happy, but the process of overcoming all odds with people you care about.
And this is why happiness is so fleeting.
Know that there is always someone greater than you are. And by that, I mean God. God is always in control. You can plan a hundred things in the year but at any time, He can take it all away.
Traveling has given me a perspective on things and on life. I’ve realised that humans are by and large similar, we are all in pursuit of the same things and we are all flawed in similar ways. I’ve learnt that no matter how much I’ve seen, learnt or experienced, there’s always more– with every destination discovered. I’ve also come to realize that with every piece of knowledge or information obtained, I become aware of how much I really do not know. I’ve realised that my quest to touch foot on every corner and inch of the world is impossible, and that all I can do is to increase the depth of each experience. Humility is so important in my scope of work, and I only hope that I’ll always keep this value close to my heart.
5. Live and let live
When we go through the routine of life and when things start to get a little more regimental- like waking up at the same time, going to the same cafe for meetings, saying hello and goodbye to the same faces, we tend to get an unrealistic impression that all of the little things matter. And that is when we start placing expectations on ourselves about how we should act, the way we should behave and the things we should say.
It dawned on me one day, that actually nobody cares. And that thought was quite liberating. Why would it matter if I’m seen eating at a restaurant alone? Or why would it matter if I’m walking in town, bare faced and comfortably dressed? Who’s judging? And even if people are, they quickly move on from it.
It’s an important lesson to internalise: that the vast majority of the planet doesn’t care who we are or what we’re doing, we realize that there is no reason to not be who we want to be. There is no one to please. There is no one to impress. Most of the time, it’s just me, myself and the stories I invent in my mind.
Gratitude is the skill of happiness. It is easy to say thank you but how often are these “thank you’s” genuine and not designed for selfish reasons? Choose to be grateful and be grateful from your heart. Always remember how it could be worse, it could always be worse.
The human mind naturally over emphasizes the negative so it is important to condition our minds to behave otherwise.
Even in the worst of situations, when I get misunderstood, wronged, criticised, I remain extremely grateful for this space and for all the people who journey with me. I’m thankful for how I have this platform to communicate with you guys, to enrich my own life and possibly yours, to inspire and hopefully, make a difference to.
So thank you to all of you who make doing this so worthwhile and fulfilling.
I just wanted to end on this note, that: THE SUM OF THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER MUCH MORE THAN THE BIG THINGS.
Little things in life count more than big ones. Always be kind, stay humble and be grateful.