The secret to a happy life

by Daniel Nkado

A very, very long time ago, all man ever desired is to find food to eat and protect itself from wild animals.

Life was simple and we needed not to build mansions or maintain a fat bank account. We were wanderers finding satisfaction in free fruits and a good kill.

Sharing was easy as there was no need to store.

Finding a mate was easier too — our standards of judgement were lower and we did not have TVs or Facebook to see how those across the sea looked.

We found contentment in ourselves and the way we lived.

But then came civilization, and we discovered we needed not just food to be alive. We did not need to travel in search of food and game anymore — we learned how to farm them.

We also learned how to calculate and compare yields — leading us to the first discovery of envy.

We learned how to store and create boundaries within ourselves, making us to share less.

With the passing of time, technology arrived. We could now even see what the people across the sea looked like, how they dressed, fed and lived.

Our quality of life might have improved, but so does our expectations and desires, resulting in no actual net increase of happiness.

There is a saying, “Less luggage, more comfort”. Every one of us now carries more instruments in their minds.

We have all these new things yet are not any happier.

It’s called the hedonic treadmill, a theory that states that as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness.

Our life is now likened to a person on a treadmill, who has to keep running just to stay in the same place.

So what is the solution then?

What can we really do?

We have to find a way to re-condition ourselves to finding content in the things we already have — and feel less bothered about how we compare to others.

Yet, I dare say this is the hardest thing to do now because some things once done cannot just be undone.


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