What matters most are the simple pleasures so abundant that we can all enjoy them…Happiness doesn’t lie in the objects we gather around us. To find it, all we need to do is open our eyes
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry ~ The Little Prince
I recently re-read The Little Prince and quickly remembered why this is such a popular and powerful book, read across the globe. While it was intended for a younger audience, it’s a book which i’d recommend to adults too as it contains powerful observations about life and human nature. The story itself is enjoyable, but the real value comes from the way in which it makes the reader stop and think about the world and their place in it.
The main theme of The Little Prince is the importance of looking beneath the surface to find the real truth and meaning of a thing. It is the fox who teaches the Prince to see with one’s heart instead of just with one’s eyes. Unfortunately, this is something which most adults have difficulty doing. As we get older, we get bombarded with messages about what life should look like, and are processed through an education system which is out of tune with the world for which its students are being prepared. In the process, too many of us lose our sense of curiosity and even our creativity as we focus instead on becoming the kind of person society wants us to be. We focus on getting the best education, to secure the best career which will in turn pay us the best salary with which we can afford to buy a nice house and a nice car before meeting someone with whom to start a family. All pretty intensive and exhausting stuff, and with only 24 hours in a day, something has to give…
That something which usually falls by the wayside? The simple pleasures in life which bring so much happiness, joy and meaning to our lives. That is why I wanted to share the above quote, because it’s so powerful. We become so busy chasing after grades and jobs that we often forget or forego the time we should be spending enjoying our lives. We find ourselves overworked, stressed and often miserable, desperately seeking a solution.
This is where Marketers and Social Media Influencers come in. Their sole purpose is to influence our decision-making processes, so that we spend our hard-earned cash on things which we neither want nor need. We all like to think of ourselves as intelligent and perceptive, so how are they able to get away with this?! In short, they assign certain emotions to their products or services. We are led to believe that having their product in our lives will lead us to feel happy, satisfied or fulfilled. Or, another approach they use is one by which we become convinced that without their product or service, we won’t be happy and our quality of life will not improve. All of which is, of course, nonsense.
Buying things in order to feel better doesn’t work. All that happens is that you are left with a cupboard full of junk and an empty bank account. Hardly a cause for celebration. The reality is that happiness is a feeling and a mindset. It’s internal, and controlled by you, and you alone. It is, essentially, your choice whether to be happy or not and all comes down to what you choose to focus on. Do you focus on that which you already have in your life, and for which you are thankful? Or do you instead spend your time reflecting on what you don’t have but others do? Attaching your happiness to material possessions, or comparing your life with others, will only lead to disappointment, frustration and a lack of fulfillment.
Achieving happiness doesn’t require the latest smartphone or designer handbag. It requires quietening your mind through meditation or journalling, before taking time to appreciate the true beauty of life; whether that’s in our personal relationships or spending time surrounded by nature. These are just two of the simple pleasures which are so abundant that we can all enjoy them. Anybody can experience these pleasures at any time, young or old, rich or poor. It doesn’t even require you to open your wallet.
All you need to do is set some time aside to open your eyes and your heart. Take some time to truly appreciate the beauty of life, and the things which money can’t buy. That is the path to happiness.