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Why Happiness Is An Inside Job

Melvyn Tan
Melvyn Tan
2 min read

Are you doing what you want to? Or are you doing what you have to?

These are the questions that have been on my mind lately. Perhaps it is because of my age that I began relentlessly purging tasks that doesn’t float my boat.

I figured, at my death bed, there are only two things on my mind:

    How can I have more time with my loved ones
  • Where am I going next

Both questions don’t involve money. Both questions are about relationships. The first is the relationships I have with my loved ones. And the second is my relationship with God.

Possibly a third question, for me, is: will I be missed? That may sound egotistical but in truth, what I’m really asking is whether my work will be talked about long after I am gone.

Are you going to be known for your work?

People go to Florence daily to see David. People go to Paris daily to see Mona Lisa. People go to Milan daily to see The Last Supper. People go to Vatican City daily to see the paintings on the Sistine Chapel.

And so even after hundreds of years after their deaths, people are still talking about Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Even if people are not talking about them, it is their works that you and I are inspired by.

So the question that has arisen is: Why do you do what you do and are you happy doing it?

The most effective approach towards happiness

I’ll admit that happiness is a new concept to me. While I was not unhappy doing the things I did, I certainly can’t say I am happy. And perhaps, life is not so binary after all.

Happiness has become a concept that I’m getting to know. But not quite understand. Happiness, to me, is a complex matter. It is both a dependent variable as well as an independent variable. In math, however, there is either a dependent or an independent variable. Again, you see, life is not so binary after all.

I take a proactive approach in happiness.

Happiness is a state of mind

In other words, happiness is not necessarily a function of what you have. Because there are people who have a lot in life and yet are unhappy. Conversely, there are people who have very little in life and are happy. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not going with the ‘less is more’ or ‘it is not about how much time, but it is about quality time’ BS.

Control your mind

If happiness is a state of mind, then the good news is that you have absolutely control over your own mind. But how do you control your mind? As it turns out there are more ways than you can imagine in controlling your mind and channelling that focus and attention to the state of being happy.

Isn’t that what we all want at the end of the day?

Melvyn Tan

Despite living the good life at midlife, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. My aim here is to reinvent midlife, learn new skills, and understand how the world works post-COVID.