His YouTube video Redefining Happiness, is not your usual staple of ‘happiness is not a destination but a journey’ or ‘happiness is a choice’.
Shetty talks about the difference between being-ness as opposed to doing-ness. It is what we become, not what we have, that determines our experience of happiness, he says
Where are we now with happiness? That illusive state that we can’t even define?
Since we’ve been young, we’ve all been exposed to various definitions of happiness, says Shetty. The scientists and the mathematicians even have algorithms and formulas that they believe add up to the equation of happiness.
And then there are the corporate professionals and the corporate hierarchy of actual promotion and career progression to measure success and happiness.
Happiness and success have become all about money, but not only that. Our desire for power and wealth increases the speed at which we believe we need to work, observes Shetty. We need to work at an ever increasing pace so that we can supersede our peers in the rat race, moving at a pace that even a Fit Bit or wearable can’t truly monitor or analyse our stress.
We need to stop.
We need to redefine what success and happiness means, says Shetty.
“Let’s not make happiness and success about the size of our homes, but about the size of our hearts; let’s not make it about gratification but gratitude.”
His next words really hit home for me:
“We speak about being healthy and our wellbeing, but we act more like human doings than human beings and therefore instead of to-do lists we need to-be lists. Instead of thinking about what you want to do, think about who you want to be.”
Do you want to be more self-aware, do you want to be more conscious? Do you want to be a better person? Do you want to be a difference in the world?
We need to move away from what we want to do in situations to what we want to be in situation.
Think about this for a moment. If there is a family crisis, do you want to have the nicest lounge to have the confrontation, or do you want to be the one everyone turns to because of the way you have with people?
Shetty likens our search for happiness to leaving home without our keys, wallet or mobile phone and the frantic search that ensues.
“It’s funny that our experience of happiness is so similar to this. We run around trying to find it in absolutely every place. But actually when we come back home, we find out that it’s within.”
He recalls a quote from Jim Carrey that he heard as a teenager: “Everyone should become rich and famous and do everything they dreamed of just to see that’s it’s not the answer.”
It’s even backed by the neuroscience of happiness.
Doesn’t that just say it all?
Shetty starts his talk with an anecdote of a teacher who asked her students what they wanted to be when they grow up. There were the usual answers like ‘actor’ or ‘teacher’ but one little boy wrote down ‘happy’. He clearly understood that happiness is part of his being, not as most of us have come to believe that it sits high on the corporate ladder next to a healthy bank balance.