I strongly feel that lasting happiness is when we respond favourably to the challenges that we face day in and day out in our lives, thus sowing the seeds for favourable outcomes, than to bank on favourable events.
Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has often narrated an incident where in August of 1979, he was heading the Satellite Launch Vehicle program, and the first launch attempt failed, as the whole launch vehicle instead of going towards space, crashed into the Bay of Bengal. On the evening, of the crash, at the scheduled press conference, Shri Satish Dhawan, the head of Indian Space Research Organisation told Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam that since he was the head of ISRO, the failure was ultimately his responsibility, and therefore he would take the press conference. Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam was highly impressed by Shri Satish Dhawan`s sense of responsibility.
Next year in the same month, August, when the SLV was successfully launched, the evening before the press conference, Shri Satish Dhawan called Shri A.P.J Abdul Kalam and instructed him to take the press conference, since he was the SLV program manager.
Shri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam saluted his boss, Shri Satish Dhawan for teaching him what it was to be responsible, and not wavering in front of challenges, and to do what is right.
Very often the reason we are unhappy is because we don`t do what is right. The reason why many of us are unhappy on occasions is because we try to be over-smart, by shirking our responsibilities, or taking credit for things which are due to others. Shirking away from responsibilities and taking credit for what is not our due, dis- empowers us, thus making us weak, and subsequently unhappy. Happiness is a state of confidence and contentment that comes from appropriate behaviour.
When I reflect on occasions when I have felt unhappy because of somebody behaving in an unexpected manner, on later reflection, I realized that I am responsible. Others don`t hurt us; we on occasions commit mistakes of improper judgement. At home, if children bring us grief due to their wrong behaviour, we as parents often conveniently overlook our improper parenting when they were younger. If we are facing financial challenges, we need to admit our role in creating the financial challenge. Very often we are irresponsible, which we conveniently overlook, till we have to face the consequences of our judgement errors.
It we were to think before we act, we will undoubtedly live happier lives, and if we were to think how to overcome a challenge by reflecting on what we could do better, we will live even happier lives.
My father-in-law celebrated his 80th birthday this year. He is a very happy and a healthy man. I have studied him and have come to the conclusion that his happiness and health is because he thinks, be it before eating, before speaking and especially when he is making a decision. On occasions when he is facing a challenge, he becomes very calm and thinks his way through. I on the other hand fail on many occasions to think before taking action.