Toastmaster P10 : Be happy

Do you ever wonder why we exist? What is the purpose of life? What would be my contribution to the big picture? Or in fact, what is the big picture? There are many contradictory views on this subject – mostly religious and some scientific.

Some people say that their goal in life is to be successful. But do they know the definition of success? Is it money, family, position or simply peace? If you ask them they would be unsure and their definition of success will keep on changing as they move ahead in life.

The question is how do you figure out what you want in life? There is a well known model known as the PERMA model founded by a psychologist Martin Seligman. This model states that there are 5 attributes that human beings require to find personal happiness. The first element of the model is positive feeling – which is felt when the basic needs of life are met – like food, drink and sleep. The second element is engagement – which is about being involved in activities you like with passion and commitment. The third element is relations – which is how closely are you related with people around you. The fourth element is meaning – which is defined as what you value in life and how you contribute to improve what you value. And the last element is achievement – which is a sense of success that you get out of challenging yourself repeatedly and improving yourself.

Whenever you feel lost or demotivated, step back and have a look at these 5 parameters in relation with your life. This will help you figure out what is missing and what you can improve upon. When i evaluated my PERMA model, i figured out that I should be engaged in travelling and challenge myself to visiting remote natural wonders.

I have my own perception regarding the purpose of life. For me, life is a journey. Like in any trip, there should be a lot of planning done for life. And it is important to figure out what your values in life are. It is like figuring out the places you want to see in a trip. Most of my trips do not have a specific destination. My most memorable trip was the trip to leh. If you search for images of leh, you will see that leh is actually a small town in the mountains. The landscape is mostly like a desert – barren with lack of vegetation.

When I was planning the trip to leh, my better half told me to go via air. But I planned it as a road trip. We travelled through roads with huge walls of ice on both sides. I am still curious as to how the roads were dug out of so much ice. We saw a huge plateau called moore plains which is 40 km long and wide flat plain with mountains on all sides at the altitude of 15400 feet. We got stuck at the highest motorable road in the world and spent the night with a bottle of old monk. We saw the huge pangong lake which is surrounded by mountains and has crystal clear water at the height of 14300 feet. On our way back, we spent a scary night in kargil and stayed in a beautiful houseboat at kashmir. It still is one of the best trips. We saw beauty, had adventure, experienced new food and culture, met interesting people and completed a must do trip.

The point to note here is that the trip did not have any destination. Though we say that we went to leh, but ideally we saw a lot many places in addition to leh. And I would like to say that out of all the places we saw, leh was the least interesting of all.

It is the journey and not the destination that matters. And this line is applied to all our lives. We have a journey of 80-100 years from the time we are born. There is nothing in the destination of life. In fact we all know the destination. So, evaluate your PERMA model and figure out what gives you happiness. It can be having more friends or photography or travelling or maybe even getting married. Take your time while you are on the journey of life. Stop at all interesting spots to click pics. Live each moment. Aim for your aspirations. Those are the challenges in the game of life, that keep the game interesting.

Strive to make memories that make you happy and peaceful. Remember, life is a journey and not a destination. And you are here to enjoy the journey. Aim for the sky, but move slowly, enjoying every step along the way. It is all those little steps that make the journey complete.