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Of happiness and common sense

June 20, 2011

I’ve had many highs in my life. I’m sure you have too. You know, like your marriage, the birth of a child, your graduation, whatever it is. I’m sure the feeling is indescribable. For me, it was the birth of each of my children, the first one of whom is Nureen Sabrina. I remembered she was 7 days overdue. I wasn’t too concerned as I know these things happen. But what alarmed me then was when the doctor told me (2 hours before labour) that Murni couldn’t have a normal birth and had to go for a caesarian operation. Being a first time father, I was having the worst case of jitters. Although I knew that the procedure was a normal one, I still couldn’t help but feel scared.

When it was finally over, I can still remember holding Nureen in my arms. She was indeed a sight for sore eyes. It turned out the reason Murni couldn’t go for normal birth was because of Nureen’s size. She had a weight of 4.19 kg. My first impression was that she looked like her maternal grandmother (Murni’s mom). Anyhow, that was the happiest moment of my life. I have a child of my own! I have always wanted a daughter for a first child. And now I have one. I’ve watched her grow from then on. Saw her take her first steps, go to kindergarten and primary school. I am so proud of her.

Nureen’s birth was indeed a high for me. However, I constantly think about the highs that others experience. Let’s take an athlete for example. You see them on TV all the time. I’d like to focus on individual sports only, not team ones. You know, MotoGP riders, Formula 1 drivers, golfers and the like. I’ve seen them celebrate wins before. It’s different every time. I can understand their ecstacy and happiness at winning. The effort put in, the hours spent training. And that doesn’t include the times when they failed to make an impression on their respective sports (probably after many tries). The level of happiness is relative isn’t it? In a competitive arena, the delight at winning must be second to none.

Now, let’s think about it for a second. As relative as it is, how do you compare the happiness of winning the MotoGP World Championship (as an example of sporting achievement) to the happiness of say, me holding Nureen for the first time in my arms? How are they different? Could I attain a higher level of happiness? Probably the winner of the MotoGP World Championship would be happier than me at that particular time due to the competitive nature of sport. Am I at a disadvantage because I will never win the MotoGP World Championship (except probably in my dreams)? There may be a science to this. You know, how to measure a person’s level of happiness at a given time. That’s something to think about.

Moving on, I’ve been told of the value of common sense. A person for whom I have utmost respect once told me to be successful, you need to know your stuff. But more importantly, this person told me that the difference between successful and really successful people is the ability to put common sense to good use. There’s a way to do every single thing and there are usually rules governing them. But as much as we want, the rules do not cover every single situation in life (or work for that matter). In situations where rules are not provided for, your common sense takes precedence. This also applies in working life. For example, in our everyday dealings. Do you proceed with the business deal this way or the other (all other factors considered)? Of course your business acumen will help you. But in the end usually common sense prevails and will largely dictate your move.

Mind you, common sense is also employed in heavy doses in every day life as well. Is there a sure fire method to use when talking to your children about issues surrounding them? Or even when talking to your spouse? In the end, you have to learn to rely on your common sense and instinct when faced with every day situations. For me, it’s still work in progress. I have to consciously remind myself to use my common sense when tackling issues at work and in my personal life. It’s never easy. You may think you have taken the right step only to be hit (with great force) in the face by reality or whatever it is that may prove you to be wrong. As such, as I’ve said many times before, never underestimate the value of giving a thought to everything we do. The mind works best in a relaxed state.

Anyway, I’m constantly on a quest to seek a higher degree of happiness. I believe that it is attainable. May be in the physical or spiritual sense. And I hope it comes soon.

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