Its Tax Time and after three weeks I finally managed to compile all the information that is needed to get the job done in a thick 2 inch file. I got wiser after an IT Enquiry a few years back & play it safe by compiling every bit of information of the last FY. An IT enquiry can be really stressful – if you are asked in 2011 to provide in-depth detail of all your finances in 2006 & 2007 – it isn’t easy to dig out old records & transactions.
As you start compiling bank account (s) statements , TDS Certificates , Capital Gains & Losses , Property Details , Home Loan statements , Insurance Receipts , PPF scans , Nett Worth calculations, Credit card statements , Form 16………..- you start wondering – What can I do to simplify my life ? How can I minimize transactions ? A time comes when you say its Ok to earn 1 % less interest but I want to sternly reduce all the challenges and paperwork. And thats the goal behind this blog – The road to happiness and how to simplify your life.
Step – 1 : The goal of every human being is to be HAPPY
I start with a simple Question – What is it that is common to all the 7 B people who inhabit planet Earth ? Other than the fact that they all breathe , need food & water , have desires and live in communities ? Suppose I get all the inhabitants of the world into a large Stadium and ask – All those who want to be Happy raise your hands ! My guess is that every person in that Stadium would raise his hand.
Step – 2 : What makes you Happy
This is a tougher question. A Big House , a hefty bank balance , a promotion , becoming a CEO , getting elected as a MP or the Prime Minister , a Rich Husband , A pretty wife , fancy holidays in exotic jets……. In short to a vast majority on earth Happiness is defined by two broad parameters – 1. Wealth
and 2. Status & Power.
What is common to the Bellary Brothers , Satyam Founder Raju , Rajat Gupta & Sanjay Dutt ? They are just some of the Rich & Famous people who are now behind bars. I doubt if they are Happy. Is a rich & powerful CEO happy – constantly under pressure to perform and facing the axe from the shareholders if he slips a tiny bit. Partying in a pub with wild friends maybe happiness to many on a Fri evening after a long hard week – but its similar to the pain killer shot that the doctor gives you , it just numbs your pain for some time. Most people run after wealth , power & status – that is clearly not the road to happiness. So what is the REAL road to Happiness ? Thats a tough one to answer. But lets keep trying.
Step – 3 : Six Sigma & What makes you Unhappy
Lets apply a bit of Six Sigma Concept here. (Six Sigma became very popular in the mid 90’s when every large India IT company touted Six Sigma and SEI CMM as their road to growth and the flag to enter the global world of IT outsourcing). Six Sigma preaches that the way to improve is to indetify defects – its easier to identify defects than to figure out a way to improve. If Six Sigma can help GE & Motorola I am sure we can apply this principle to our life and try figuring out what are the defects that make us Unhappy. If we can reduce our unhappiness then automatically our happiness will go up. Thats is simple and makes sense.
Step – 4 : 4 Key elements of Unhappiness
1. Physical Pain – Headache , stomach pain , hurting knees , indigestion , arthritis , BP , 80 % blocked valves in your Heart and similar physical ailments cause unhappiness.
How can you eliminate or minimize physical pain ? A good lifestyle , sleeping at the right hours , healthy food & regular exercise – thats all it takes to ensure a health pain free body ( at least in 99 % of the case where you do not have a genetic disorder).
2. Stress – Unhappiness can also be caused by Stress & Tension. Meeting deadlines , driving sales growth Year of Year , juggling with multiple balls at the same time , trying to squeeze too much out of too less – all this can add to Stress. A lot of this Stress is driven by trying to do too much in too less a time. You are constantly trying to race against the clock. And why are you trying to do this – because you have too many TRANSACTIONS. One transaction leads to another – and another and all of them start adding complexity to your life.
The trick here is to start Minimizing Transactions. Unsubscribe from all unwanted groups and mailing lists , simplify your investment portfolio from 20 different investments to 2 – 3 , avoid multiple Credit Cards , Multiple Bank accounts , reduce your FB friends, if you have 3 houses sell 2, avoid a role in the apartment management committee, stop trying to solve all the problems of the world – If you consciously start working on it you can make good progress. Each Transaction reduction starts a chain of events and the chain of Transactions continue to reduce. Set a goal and work towards achieving it. Each reduction reduces pain and gives you joy.
3. Insult – The 3rd thing that makes you unhappy is Insult. You feel your voice was not heard , your opinion & view was not respected , you were ignored. Your EGO is hurt. You created your own EGO – a small kid does not feel insulted its only adults who create their own Ego’s who feel insulted. With insult comes revenge & vendetta. And a river of negative energy starts flowing. Its easier said than done – but if you can curb your EGO you will never feel insulted.
4. Unfulfilled Desire – The last and most common element that causes unhappiness is unfulfilled desire. The kid wants an expensive Nike shoe and Dad says NO . You want a promotion and a 20 % hike – Boss says NO. Wife wants a holiday to Switzerland and Europe – Husband says NO. We all get upset when we don’t get what we want. But getting what you want never makes you happy – else the people I spoke about earlier would not be in Jail. Again a little difficult to get started – but a conscious effort to reduce desire and can help eliminate unhappiness.
Step – 5 : Starting the journey – Meditation
It sounds simple but getting started and maintaining it is not easy. A simple tool that can help you and be an enabler is to start meditating for 10 minutes every day. Human beings consist of a Physical Body + Something Extra (Soul , Life , Prana , Consciousness) . We are constantly in touch with the Physical Body but rarely do we connect with that “Something Extra” . Meditation is the only way to connect with that Something Extra and just 10 min a day can change your life and start helping you to control the above mentioned 4 elements that cause so much unhappiness. its not mumbo jumbo – but a science that can be practiced by one and all.