I have never been an advocate of self-help literature, and neither do I believe in external motivation figures. I do not even consider this article a self help / motivational article. But I’m a firm believer in the happiness factor.

We spend entire lifetimes searching for happiness, pursuing even that which is beyond our reach, in the hope and prayer that it will be found. In fact, from a closer angle, every act is in search of happiness, even if we try to conceal it. And such is the power of momentum; it keeps propelling us to newer heights in our search.

We go to movies, matches, parties, and the desire is happiness. We get into relationships, break-up, divorce and even get into same sex marriages – all for happiness. And the search keeps going on in the hope that next time, we will be more successful.

In search of happiness, the Greek mythology of the sirens has been retold the world over. Men wandered in search of the singing sirens, lured by the pure touch, the thrill to the ear of the voice of the maidens and, unto their deaths, their happiness. It is said, at the height of happiness, one ceases to think. An inner silence engulfs one and peace takes over. Read death of the sirens.

Equate happiness to the recent story of the Sudanese businessman Mo Ibrahim. Mo Ibrahim is a media mogul, best known as the founder of Celtel, the leading panAfrican mobile telecommunications company. He also founded a foundation to honor good leadership, governance and democratic practices in Africa. With a cash package larger than the Nobel Prize’s, he wanted to reward the few examples of exemplary leadership around the continent. After two years, he ran out of former presidents to award! Could African leadership be happy with the state of affairs? Most likely!

African examples are littered all over with occasional inspirational stories and lots of firsts! And that is the problem with happiness. That there is no need to search for happiness or to create it; on the bizarre end, everything has to be let off, to go, for one to experience happiness. I will be stoned for such moronic utterances, but the third world seems to be happy so far, and doing well, the developed countries? Not so sure.

The argument is, Africans are a happy lot. Else how do you explain the many firsts around the world? When a Kenyan gay couple found time off to wed in London, homophobes came out of the closet in large numbers. There was a time when “identity” referred to a “state of being” – color, sex, ethnicity, race, religion, language, marital status, national origin, political opinion, disability, and wealth or other social status, today “identity” is understood to include sexual orientation. What of the state of happiness?

While we were busy ostracizing two adults in a very straight frame of mind, for same-sex marriage, countries the world over were being brought down to their knees by macho men and heterosexual women who strike off a love for God and country! And we seemed happy about it, and went on, in pursuit of happiness.





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