We’ve all wondered what truly makes us happy, this recount is one example.
What started out as a desperate attempt to please a tyrant boss ended up being a doorway to a soul-searching path. You see, like many, I was chasing the hope of becoming the boss’s favorite and endured agony in the process. Instead, I ended up despising work with no means of venting out.
But I decided to redirect my frustration. They say: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” and this was exactly what I intended to do. I made a list of “good employee habits” and began implementing them, even though some were ridiculous.
However, I wasn’t happy and nothing I did seemed to impress that man. If anything, he became even worse. Horrible bosses came in all shapes and forms and this one was a tyrant of Machiavellian proportions.
Nevertheless, I’m no quitter. I kept at it, deciding all along to lighten my misery by turning it into a personal objective of mine: “100 days of making my boss happy”. I went through all this trouble in vain hope of getting into my boss’s good books but all that changed with one question from my sister: “Who cares about him? What about your happiness?” I had an epiphany and the title of my project changed into: “100 days of my happiness” (this was back in 2007 before Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project book was released).
I decided right there and then to take up this experiment seriously as there were 101 days left till 2007 ended. During this quest, my aim was to define what truly made me happy. It seemed like a simple enough quest, right?
WRONG! I spent the first few days confused about the objective, wondering how to define it, and doubting whether I was truly happy or not.
If there is a will then there definitely is a way. I then decided to watch my emotions carefully and that was when the roller coaster ride began. I found myself exploding on certain days, feeling jitters on others, frustrated on some days and hopeless on others. But one thing remained constant: every night, I would put time and effort into jotting it all down and specifying what made me happier that day. What I found gave me some relief as certain keywords kept repeating: freedom, friends, gym, family, peaceful, stability, achievement. I looked carefully for other trends and noticed how from day 27 onwards, I started using the words “I am blessed”.
The road though was very bumpy but even on dark days I continued to chronicle my findings daily. Eventually, the 100 days of happiness came to an end. I was proud of myself mostly for my commitment. So after 100 days of diligence, was I better able to define happiness?
As I look back at my journey, I must confess that there was happiness every single day of those 100. It took an oppressive boss to launch me onto this soul-searching path where today I am aware that happiness is everywhere.
Shurooq, an Emarati from Dubai, has been on a journey of self-discovery ever since she shifted career from Science to humanitarian where she found joy. Her interests include traveling and foreign films. Shurooq’s column is influenced by those distinctive moments that give a deeper perspective on life.