In one of his visits to Japan, Nobel Prize laureate Albert Einstein had an epiphany. Possibly being overwhelmed by the publicity aimed at him for his Nobel Prize win, the German scientist took a moment to reflect on the events in his life and wrote on a piece of hotel stationary a note that served as a beacon, a guide, the very foundation on what the Internet called Einstein’s Theory of Happiness.
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.” –Albert Einstein
He was on his way to the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo in 1922 at that time. The scientist had no extra pence to tip the bellboy and instead, wrote on the stationary sheet, which decades later on would profit the bellboy and his family as it was sold in an insane $1.56 million value at an auction in Jerusalem.
What exactly inspired Einstein to write those thoughts down was not known, what matters is how those words ring true to people from generations since then.
In another note, the physicist wrote, ““Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The piece of paper, once more was sold for $240,000, an amount that has gone beyond its expected $6,000-selling prize.
One need not be an Einstein fan or a hardcore physicist to relate to Einstein’s Theory of Happiness. His words very much convey what the modern man has to know in this era of consumerism, an era in which the value of one’s individual is measured by the material things s/he owned.
This mind conditioning started when we were still kids. Our books implicitly told us that if we finish school, we will get a good job which will help us earn money. And with money, we can buy a great house, a car, we can travel to a lot of places, have lots of friends.
This idea is continuously reinforced when we grow up. The more well-off we are, the more comfortable our family is, the higher our chances to ‘be happy’ as our parents can buy us presents for Christmas, or take us to fabulous theme parks. And, here comes social media, a platform that further emphasize the need to gain material goods and fame. We measure happiness with the number of Likes and Shares we get from our vacation pic, or that pic showing our brand new car. These days, social media has literally taken over us and made us feel that we cannot live without it. And unconsciously, we are agreeing on the agenda it tried to impose on us. We are trapped in that perpetual web of chasing happiness, a hedonistic pursuit that had led us to feel lonely and empty.
It takes clarity of vision and a strong willpower to stop this perpetual illusory chase. You can start by reexamining your priority and de-cluttering your life down to the most pressing priorities you want to achieve. Using the minimalist approach, you can see through the illusion and figure out what really matters to you. Hopefully, it would be your relationships with friends and family in your list.
Some people mistakenly thought that giving up their 8-5PM job to travel the world can end the gnawing loneliness only to find themselves losing a lot of money and at the same time exposing themselves to possible dangers in an unfamiliar environment.
The excitement, according to most travelers, is only on its peak on the first few countries and key places they first set foot on. The succeeding ones only increased that gaping, knowing emptiness as you unconsciously you yearn for home, and at the same time, crave for more adventures. Truth is, you don’t need to travel to far-off places. You will be surprised to find out that in just by listening to people in your trivial life, their stories and opinions on certain things will lead you to worlds you have never been to before! And a simple day with a few but significant goals is enough to keep one happy and satisfied.
Fewer choices, fewer but clear goals can lead to a more satisfaction as we can have the chance to focus and give all our best in achieving them. And, in the process of achieving our goals, let us make sure to re-examine, re-evaluate our priorities, and hopefully we stay grounded, stay soft and human to realize that happiness is simple. It is the little things, the small gestures of kindness we give to others, that warm feeling that comes from deep within!