In search of a simple and happy life

January 20, 2014

Not very long ago a regular commentator in my blog (btw, I never publish what is posted in the comment section, much prefer to talk to them, one to one) shared with me – he was seriously considering migrating to Australia. When I asked him why, he said, he believed, both he and his wife would be happier living there. When he asked me for my opinion – I simply told him – it is best to find the happy and simple life in yourself rather than to put your faith in a country. As no matter where you decide to settle ultimately, one cannot deny there are certainly many good things in Singapore which you will only find in Singapore and no where else – so when one decides to migrate, one should be very clear about the goals and set realistic expectations as to what that country can offer…ultimately, I went on to share with this person, the idea of the simple and happy life can only come about through his own hands and not via a country.

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“A large component of happiness revolves around the question of how much control can you exert over your life. The higher the level of control – the higher your quotient of happiness and vice versa – to me, the only means to create a very efficient means of leveraging on happiness is to start your own business and not to work for others.

Personally, if I have work in a firm, it will always be very stressful. As if I want a high degree of control over my life – I would have to blackmail my boss, induce a heart attack or raid his job by engineering his downfall. I would also have to spend a lot of time empire building and playing politics by kicking out the people who pose a threat to how much control I want over my life. Added to this I will be embroiled in all sorts of Machevillian designs and I soon realized this is really not something I want to do. Above all, I don’t want to be an evil person any longer.

When I started my own business, of course there is the initial stress that comes from growing an enterprise from zero – along with pressure that comes from taking on a huge financial risk. As I may end up buying into a whole lot of grief, if the enterprise fails.

Fortunately running a business is not so different from flying a plane. In the beginning, a lot of energy is spent getting the string bag to climb to the cruising altitude….but once it reaches the gulf stream, then it’s possible for the pilot to throttle down, turn on the auto pilot and sit back and just monitor the flight systems, that’s the normal life cycle of every business – to put it another way, it’s very hard and stressful in the very beginning, but once you’re established and people in the industry know who you are and what your strengths and weaknesses are along with what you can offer, then you’re really cruising along happily.

Once you’re established in your business – then you will find the degree of your control over your life will increase correspondingly – you will no longer need to blackmail your boss, take over his job, engineer his downfall, terrorize HR to give you a company car, play perpetual office politics or even empire build any longer. So a whole lot of extraneous nonsense is cut away from your life, leaving you to pursue only what you want to really do – this means you will be more effective and efficient in how you want to use your time to manage yourself and others….only then, do I believe can one reasonably be in a position to actualize a simple and happy life.

Having said that this does not mean – your life will be 100%. of course you will still need to strategize and find ever more inventive ways to destroy your competitors….only the stress at this level of the game is dramatically different. As now suffering is optional – since you now don’t have to regularly put up with the nonsense of dealing with people who bring out only the worse in you – providing you keep your ego in check, regularly audit your paranoia, remind yourself not talk to your imaginary friends in public, do not succumb to temptations of the flesh, keep a lid on your greed, do not end up seduced by delusions of grandeur, change your underwear when it takes to smell fruity, remind yourself to take your vitamins regularly, don’t go overboard with power tools and torchlights and brush your teeth after every meal – my feel is everything else will fall into place very nicely – as you have the fundamentals right – and that simply means, you will always be in a better position to carve out your own slice of heaven under your own terms and in your own sweet time.

The moral of the story is, if you genuinely desire to be happy and live a simple life – then go and start your own business. Doesn’t have to even be a big enterprise, could be just a hawker store, but it’s yours to call your own….humble as it is, it’s still an opportunity to be your own man….to live life under your own terms…take ownership of your financial well being….it’s really as simple as that.”

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