... “Happiness is a state of mind” ... “Find your Ikigai” ...
I never really understood these phrases when used to motivate - how can we expect the above from an individual when : - Anxiety is floating around - A panic attack is creeping up - The overwhelming feeling is of being “stuck” or disassociation - i.e. "The lights are on but nobody’s home" If anything, these statements can add more pressure to an already intensified emotional state. I’m not ashamed to admit that a while back in my early 20’s, that was my experience. And I didn’t feel that way because I was stuck in a rut or because things weren’t going my way. In fact it was the exact opposite, a lot of amazing experiences and ‘moments’ were happening in my life, however I was indifferent to them. These feelings can be heightened by many factors - burnout, routines, work/personal life balance, lifestyle, career etc. As we grow and shift so do our needs and wants. If we look at Abraham Maslows ‘Hierarchy of needs’ theory we can easily see that the road to fulfillment lies in self actualization. Which is no surprise really. For me, happiness is ‘adaptive learning’. The process of constantly re-learning: - how to be happy - what makes us happy
And applying our findings to our everyday life.
This can be linked to the process of finding our Ikigai. (Watch Jiro dreams of Sushi for Ikigai inspiration).
Everyone's path and journey is different. This was my personal journey towards a balanced state of Ikigai and happiness:
1: I had an epiphany in which I realized I was repeating the same cycles and scenarios/routines without altering any outcomes. I started to be mindful of breaking routines. 2: I realized I wasn’t being grateful. So I started practicing gratitude.
3: I applied sophisticated simplicity and minimalism to my overall life.
4: I let go of expected outcomes and became present in all moments.
I applied the above approaches and changes starting from my early 20s onwards and the shift since then has been noticeable. The main purpose of sharing this is to let you know that happiness isn’t something that wraps it’s arms around us and sucks us in and we become cheerful 24/7. But it certainly starts with us. To look inwards and heal generational trauma, the pressures of life, comparison with other individuals across work, career progression, SM, marriage/engagements/travel etc, because only then can we focus on fulfilling our hierarchy of needs and understanding our Ikigai to set our own path and values for what our definition of ‘Happiness’ is.
Tying in nicely with the above I have officially become a ‘Happy Finn’! Here I am wearing a VR headset and surrounded by penguins in Antarctica.
The Happy Finns NFT project is exploring happiness. They believe that people have a right to be happy and since Finland appears to have figured out a formula for a Happy society, they think that this could act as a cipher for deciphering happiness.
Finland is a Nordic welfare state that aims to be carbon neutral by 2035. It’s also the happiest country in the world and a safe travel destination – 11 out of 12 lost wallets are returned to their owners.
Thankfully, you don’t need to live in Finland to benefit from Finnish happiness. You just need to know its source and start your journey!
Some links to the project.