Dan Gilbert did this famous TED talk about ‘Why we are happy?’ Why? Because happiness can be synthesized. It’s not a thing to be found. There are mind artists who – under the most adverse circumstances – make the best of their situation to the point that they are convinced that it’s the best thing that could have happened to them.
I am one of those people. The less I have, the simpler the circumstances, the narrower the options, the happier I am. It’s weird, but consistent. Synthesised happiness for me is much more fulfilling than experienced happiness – for several reasons:
It’s reproducible. It’s cheap. It’s instant. It’s self-sufficient. It’s mine.
Wanting spells unhappiness. Submerged deep in my mind are the memories of wishing, delighting, wanting and desiring the things a little girl’s world holds: a new doll, a game, lace and ribbons, diaries and jewellery boxes with secret compartments. When these wishes bubbled to the surface of my mind, they were met with sternness: “You don’t really need it.” Or worse, litanies of supposed misbehavior and attitudes showed up how undeserving I was.
I quickly learned that the real treasures were in my mind.