I was once bullied while in middle and junior high school. My confidence and self-esteem deteriorated to the extent that I did not even want to go to school. I performed poorly in school and questioned my abilities due to the humiliation of bullies. I had no friends in school, everyone talked badly about me, and I became deeply depressed. I then decided to end my state of emotional bankruptcy, explore my abilities, and face my obstacles. My father helped me to gather confidence by making me believe that I am meant for greatness. Eventually, I learned to accept my weakness, face my bullies courageously, and work towards my academic goals– I threw my knapsack over the brick wall (Ben-Shahar, 2007). I also committed to serving a higher purpose, God; I prayed each day, studied, and engaged in productive activities and believed that favor would come along. Currently, I am committed to preserving my spiritual life and achieving my academic plans.
When I made academic excellence and religion a lifestyle because of love for my family, I became exclusively happy than I had ever been before. Before I found myself, I was pushed to do things, and I had nothing to press beyond my limits. However, after setting goals, I enjoyed everything in school and life because it gave me direction. I believe love is the greatest gift that can lead to the ultimate currency – happiness. If I craft plans in the future with love as the main propulsion, I will find a purpose to stick to my cause and overcome obstacles. For instance, when I am financially stable, I will help unprivileged students, the needy, and people under oppression, such as bullying.
Self-concordant goals are ones that emanate from individual self-will and interest without being pressured by external factors (Ben-Shahar, 2007). Some of my self-concordant plans include exercising, studying, living spiritually, water and snow skiing, having a right family connection, and leading a life dictated by love. I have sometimes experienced internal barriers like doubting my abilities while pursuing the goals. The external obstacles I faced in my destination journey include being harassed and getting discouraged by people. When I begin my day, I pray, take a bath, go to school, study, go to the gym, gaming with online friends, and later spend time with my family. I would say the want-to overweighs the have-to in my days because what I have intrinsic motivation. I find it pleasurable and meaningful when I accomplish the set tasks and look forward to sunrise. However, I must acknowledge that I sometimes feel I have to be tired to maintain a fit body when exercising. I really, really want to study, get a superb job, have stable relationships, and be a cause of happiness to others because of my deeds.The dream will need me to learn for at least five hours a day, excluding weekends, and start leading a compassionate life by donating the little I possess and spending more time with my family and friends.
My best teacher in school demonstrated passion in his career. He committed most of his time to ascertain that the student understood his lessons. He even sacrificed his time and slot in extra classes to cater for our studies. The passion the teacher had towards his career automatically triggered enthusiastic feelings in his style. He also loved reading and influenced me to enjoy learning as he did. In every class, he narrated a story from a reading he encountered that day. The teacher read daily and shared the information during class teachings. Learning seemed like leisure to him, and he created the same mentality in his students. He also incorporated wonderful stories that persuaded us that there is a promising future in learning. Therefore, my teacher employed the lovemaking model method to help us realize the present and future benefits of studying (Ben-Shahar, 2007).
We experience flow when we merge the present and the future benefits in pursuit of dreams. When we experience flow, we become fully absorbed by what we are doing, such that no distractions can stand in our way. The flow experience also enables us to enjoy the journey process and the end of the destination. It eliminates the ideology that suffering is mandatory for success, “no pain, no gain“; instead, it makes us take pleasure in struggle and the final reward. A person in flow neither overstretches nor under-stretches their abilities. They perform optimally in a zone that the level of skills possessed matches the task’s demand. People with flow experience do not get anxious or bored while pursuing their hearts’ desires and always attain peak performance (Ben-Shahar, 2007).
I accept negative emotions whenever I come across them in my life. For instance, when I was bullied in school, I was sad and desperate; I cried and sought comfort from my father and God. Eventually, I looked at the brighter side; I figured out that I must have something outstanding and unique that differentiates me from others. I turned the painful moment into a stepping stone that gives me more reason to stay committed to my dreams. Whenever I remember the torment I went through, and my wish to help others in a similar situation, the spirit of desire and commitment refreshes in my heart and inspires me to perform accordingly. My oppression is the most challenging experience in life; yet, it is also the turnabout of my life. I also learned that people who face rejection, harassment, and forms of dehumanization require genuine support because they experience the worst scenario ever. I will dedicate my life to ensuring a violence-free society. I could attribute my unstoppable trait and a sense of purpose to difficulties I have faced because they have shaped my desires
After reviewing the book, I have learned to increase my education happiness by taking it as a privilege. The time I spend in school is more valuable and exciting than if I stayed idle at home. School provides a perfect setup where I can experience flow, performing at my best in my zone. I can also change the mentality of taking school work as a duty (my duty to study to support my family) instead; i will consider the school as a privilege that I should explore and treasure. I will also discard the mentality that considers work is a punishment from God induced at the beginning of creation and associating it with suffering and pain. Work is essential in human life; in its absence, people would be hopeless, empty, and have no desires (Ben-Shahar, 2007). My education program to enhance pleasure in studying will include visiting workplaces of my future career for mentorship and revising with friends to share our learning experiences.
Reflecting on my favorite work experiences, the rewards performing employees got for accomplishing tasks gave me a positive impression of work. The feeling of happiness and confidence I noticed from outstanding workers who designed a unique product or delivered the best services captured my attention and convinced me that work is enjoyable. For instance, I usually revisit Facebook’s launch by Mark Zuckerberg and imagine the feeling he has. He created software that is utilized universally for many purposes. Likewise, when I consider scientists’ works, such as Sir Isaac Newton, I am mesmerized by the achievement and revolution the man caused in the world. I deduced that if I become passionate about my job and explore new ways that are different from what society knows, I will stand among the best in history. Passion increases motivation and the ability to produce a remarkable performance.
I envision my work as a calling because it was among my self-concordant goals. Intrinsic factors such as the need for personal growth and connection with my principles fueled my decision to choose the work I pursue (Ben-Shahar, 2007). Since I have dedicated myself to pursuing a career that I wanted to do and landed a job related to it, my work fulfills the ultimate currency requirements. The work I perform is a privilege because it gives me the fulfillment – yes, I did it. However, in the past, I regard the work I have done as a job. I did the chores for the money’s sake so that I could meet my material needs. Although I performed the tasks with pleasure, I had no passion or meaning because I knew it was just a pass by activity. I went to a job to raise money and never expected anything else from work.
I can craft my current position to bear more meaning by first changing the perception about work. I will get rid of viewing the work as a daily routine that I have to do or doing nothing beyond what the organization expects from me. I will take on more responsibilities passionately to feel that I am of significance in the organization. I will learn more about the organization’s history, the impacts it bears in society and learn about the strength and weakness. When I have a comprehensive understanding of my workplace, I can change my attitudes towards work and realize that I can bring something unique. I will also associate with colleagues deeply to learn from them, share experiences with them, and make the work pleasurable. The way I treat my clients will also change, I will establish a personal relationship with them and gauge their needs more in-depth. I will ensure that I can familiarize myself and feel satisfied with my workplace’s broad experience by making happiness the ultimate currency.
Analyzing the MPS process, I found out that I find meaning in healthy relationships, creating or designing something unique, generating happiness to people around me, and maintaining my body in good shape. I derive pleasure from swimming, mountain climbing, interacting with close people in my life, and making them happy, researching, and reading. Looking at my strength, I found that I am compassionate and enthusiastic, muscular, and always innovative and craving to inspire positive change whenever I find myself. Therefore, I have learned that I will take at least two hours a day engaging in exercising because it contributes to my happiness. I also need to increase time with my family, spouse, and other people to make them happy and, in the process, gain the ultimate currency personally. Finally, I need to engage in a job where I will exercise my problem-solving skills to expand my innovative skills and inspire changes in the work. A work where I will not have a responsibility in influencing growth may not accord me with happiness. The work should also allow me to exercise and have time for quality relationships.
I value spending time with my girlfriend, family, and friends. I would say I spend a significant fraction of hours interacting with my family in my daily routine. Before I go to school, I help my mother prepare breakfast and take my siblings to school. When I go to school after classes, I spend time with my friends exercising, revising, and sharing ideas about life. After school, I get time to spend with my family since I am not attached to social media that would somehow rob my attention. During holidays, we go riding and camping as a family or with my friends. The characteristics that make my core self include compassion, warmth, determination, kindness, and tolerance. I would say I can sacrifice anything I have to ensure that I make my family, friends, and other people happy. The relationships I have engaged in so far have been pleasurable and meaningful. For instance, I have a childhood girlfriend with whom we have maintained a loyal bond regardless of obstacles, difficulties, or achievements. My girlfriend helps me explore my potential and authentic self; she supports and challenges me in every situation. I share my dreams with her and display my core-self with comfort around her. I also feel a circle of happiness from my family that always gives me the ultimate currency.
Relationships flourish when both parties feel there is equity in the share of ultimate currency. If someone in the relationship denounces self-fulfilling things (sacrifice), the partner robs the other ability to find pleasure and meaning in the relationship. In successful relationships, the joy of our partners should also provide happiness to us (Ben-Shahar, 2007). In my perspective, my relationship with my girlfriend has equity in the ultimate currency because we allow each other to pursue the things we desire most in our hearts. I also find happiness when I do something for my girlfriend or when she achieves her objectives.
I like telling my life story to my partner to understand the origin of our pleasure and happiness. I also believe in engaging my partner in every activity I do, my world, and that of my partner should be the same. Sharing enjoyable moments, such as skiing, reading, gaming, and exercising, also increases relationship bonds. Sharing experiences and going through the present and future endeavors with my partner create a platform to know each other to a deeper extent. Since knowing each other in a relationship is endless, the desire to learn more about one another and share the ultimate currency will permanently maintain our love in all situations. I also believe in cultivating a stable relationship; my future spouse will be someone I have willingly invested in for long. Crafting a gratitude letter will be possible for someone I know, want, and have had pleasurable moments with.
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfillment. McGraw Hill Professional.