Did You Remember To Take Your "Content Pill" Today?

Did You Remember To Take Your "Content Pill" Today?

Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D

We can't have it all! Sometimes, what we want most may not be the most rational and appropriate goal for us. Just wanting something even more strongly and passionately doesn't do it.

Some choose irrational career goals. They don't "have it in them" but they don't want to give it up because they are totally emotionally attached to the idea. The negative feedback and mediocre performance might make them feel sorry for themselves but they wouldn't give it up. They get totally plugged in to the idea that there is one and only one thing that can make them happy. This is a sure formula for unhappiness.

Many of us have wrong idea about what happiness is and what it's not. The misconception and ignorance about happiness is so prevalent in the world that sometime I want to give up everything else and become a "Happiness coach!"

I don't know if choosing a career as a happiness coach would really make me happy. I may be better off just writing about it.

To put my happiness coaching in a nutshell, it would suffice to say "Check your Ps and Qs."

Just as we, adults have a somewhat fixed and stable I.Q (Intelligence Quotient), we also have a set P.Q. (Pleasure Quotient). Our P.Q. remains relatively fixed regardless of circumstances. Events may temporarily move the "needle" up or down, but it comes back to the set point. The higher the P.Q. the more independent it would be of one's life circumstances.

P.Q. also stands for the "Perturbability Quotient." This P.Q should be low in order to sustain happiness over time. When you get easily perturbed by what someone said or did or, didn't say or do, you are likely to hit the unhappiness zone several times a day. Incidentally, too much unhappiness doesn't leave much room for happiness.

P.Q. also stands for "Philosophical quotient." Do you have a positive philosophy for such negative but inevitable events as a painful experience or failure.

Benjamin Franklin once said, "That which hurts instructs." When you regard failure as your teacher, you inoculate yourself against the despair that failure can unleash upon an unprepared mind.

P.Q. also stands for "Positive Qualities." There is a strong relationship between positive qualities and happiness. Positive qualities such as integrity, hope, faith, perseverance, contentment, self-control and optimism generate personal satisfaction and happiness. Take, for example, optimism. While optimism triggers behaviors that contribute to our health and happiness, pessimism stifles them. Optimism, to some extent, counteracts depression.

One hundred and some years ago, Harvard University Psychologist William McDougall said that people could be happy while in pain and unhappy while experiencing pleasure and comfort. What a profound observation that is! People can make extraordinary sacrifices and willingly embrace hardships all because some inner demand or value offers them personal satisfaction and happiness.

Such values as honor, power, independence, freedom, social status, tranquility and the sense attitude of gratitude and acceptance appear utterly abstract and intangible at face value. They don't directly translate into dollar amounts or degrsee of creature comforts. But adherence to these values can make you happy (while surrender to ) and their surrender to the circumstances can make you feel utterly miserable.

So, why should you take your contentment pill regularly? Because, contentment and satisfaction directly contribute to the degree of happiness you enjoy in your life. In that context, let's remember another P.Q, which stands for "Persistent Quarter." Watch the Quarter factor! It follows us doggedly regardless of our status and accomplishments.

Allow me to explain. A quarter is 25% of the whole. According to one study, we want 25% more than what we already have. When we reach the goal of 25% increase and are done celebrating the accomplishment, we up the scale by another 25%. If one makes twenty thousand dollars, one wants to earn $25,000 a year. When that goal is accomplished, one wonders how anyone can manage with $ 25,000 a year.

A free spirited soul once said, "I know money can't buy everything, but I love what it can!" Wanting more comes to us naturally. We can go on doing it for the rest of our lives until we do something to break the habit.

Personal satisfaction, contentment and happiness follow when you live your life consistent with your values and what you have, rather than from wanting or regretting what you don't have.

Barring extreme poverty, the only person who can stand in your way from attaining satisfaction, contentment and happiness is you and you know even you can't stand in your way unless you allow it.

The "Book of Rights" says everybody is granted two rights.

Right #1: "You have the right to be happy provided you exercise your Right #2.

Right #2: "You have the right to act, but not the right to its outcome."



Return to Happiness
Return to Self Help 

Copyright 2004, Mind Publications 
Posted August 2004
 

 

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