In the movie ‘Hector and the search for Happiness’, Hector, a psychiatrist, ditches his job and goes round the world to study what makes people happy. With his observations and experiences, he compiles a list. These aren’t a list of must-haves or must-do’s to achieve happiness. It is just his observations. Some of them sound ridiculous (#4 for e.g.), some are plain stupid (#10) and many have a ring of truth to them. The list from imdb.com:
Hector: 1. Making comparisons can spoil your happiness. A sure-fire way to become unhappy is to keep comparing oneself with others. It could be about looks, what the other person possesses that he/she doesn’t have or even abilities. There is no end to feeling different. One has to remember that each one of us are unique. But, we so easily forget that and get into the rat race of comparisons. Stop doing that.
Hector: 2. A lot of people think happiness means being richer or more important. Many do feel being important is an essential goal in life. But you are important until another person who is more important comes by. A husband can feel unimportant when his wife pays attention to the child. The President of the United States could feel unimportant in many places around the world where he just cannot help or wait till the opposition doesn’t pay scant respect for him or his position.
Hector: 3. Many people only see happiness in their future. We are all brought up to think we should work hard, so that we have all we want so that we can be happy for the rest of our lives. However, as my once-coach said, we should strive to be happy and do all we can. Then we will be happy with all we have and never want more.
Hector: 4. Happiness could be the freedom to love more than one woman at the same time. This is certainly debatable. I know some people would love such freedom and that would make them happy. There can be only soulmate at a given point in time – if you go by this rule, or if you are one of those who believe in such a rule, you can see #4 is for those who lack a commitment. Religious reasons might permit such a practice as in Islam, but a deeper understanding of love will preclude that. For those who are just sexually-inclined, it would be hard to argue about this point with them.
Hector: 5. Sometimes happiness is not knowing the whole story. Truth can be hurtful. As it happens sometimes, ignorance is bliss and bliss is happiness. Some wise man knew what he was saying.
Hector: 6. Avoiding unhappiness is not the road to happiness. Very true. One has to experience the bad to know what is good. Same with happiness. Only if we experience some unhappiness, can we relate to it and say what is better, isn’t it?
Hector: 7. Does this person bring you predominantly a. up b. down? In the movie, Hector meets an African-American woman who is unmarried and she gives him her piece of wisdom for this tenet. Looks like the director couldn’t make up a lengthy enough list without sexual innuendos.
Hector: 8. Happiness is answering your calling. Who wouldn’t be happy pursuing his or her passion? Few people in the world know what their calling is and that is a straight road to happiness.
Hector: 9. Happiness is being loved for who you are. Who doesn’t like that? Whether you are handicapped or have a slur when you talk, one feels happy when the other person overlooks such qualities and connects with you. Along the same lines, one has to be a happy person to see through other’s faults or shortcomings.
Hector: 10. Sweet Potato Stew! If food makes you happy, then this one holds truth.
Hector: 11. Fear is an impediment to happiness. Happiness is a state where one has no fear and accepts the moment as is. This automatically excludes fear.
Hector: 12. Happiness is feeling completely alive. Are we going to argue about this? No way! Being fully alive happens few times to many people in their lives – we are so bogged down with anxiety, future plans, mortgages and everything else to worry about. Being completely alive is the height of awareness and awareness can lead you to happiness.
Hector: 13. Happiness is knowing how to celebrate. Don’t know about this one, but champagne is certainly a means to happiness for many.
Hector: 14. Listening is loving. Only a caring person will listen with full ears to something being said to him. Just listening and not processing is poor listening and poor caring in turn.
Hector: 15. Nostalgia is not what it used to be. I forget the context from the movie on this one..