Thursday, November 29, 2012

Graduation Advice - Fall 2012 Edition - Keys to Happiness

My apologies for going off prompt this week but in our department we have a tradition that every semester we have an end of term party for our graduating class.  As part of the event, every professor in the department gets to say a few words of advice to the graduating class.  Today is that day and I post the words I am to share here...

This has been a year of change for me personally.   As a result, I have taken much time to reflect on what is truly important in life.  To all of you I wish all of you to find happiness in life. How is happiness achieved you ask? Well we all have our own paths to choose but there seems to be some common threads with the people I know.  They all seem to live by the three 'L's' - live, love & laugh.

Most people who talk about living take a 'carpe diem' approach. That you live everyday as your last.  In my experience that approach gets burnt out.  The key to living 'happy' is moderation and incremental personal growth.  It is about learning how to balance fun with responsibility.  It is about keeping ones emotions on an even keel.  For the most important part though, it is about driving yourself to become a better spouse, parent, friend, coworker and community member.  I challenge you to look in the mirror each morning and ask yourself honestly, "am I a better person today that I was yesterday."  If you are being truly honest you will have several days where the answer is 'no' but that will drive you to have more days when the answer will be 'yes.'  If you can make that happen you will continue to grow personally and professionally which will result in a life of fulfillment. This approach will take time but with diligence, vigilance and dedication to personal growth - it will lead you towards happiness but you can not do it alone.  You will need others support along the way and that brings me to the second 'L' - love.

Love comes from displaying compassion, possessing empathy and demonstrating respect. One truth that has come to me through the years is that caring for others brings its own rewards.  Compassion is about wanting to be there for others.  It is about being understanding and willing to give.  Empathy is about understanding others.  True empathy is trying to see from others perspectives their word and views.  It does not mean you have to agree but by trying to understand others one opens themselves to really learning about and knowing others.  The final ingredient of love is demonstrating respect for others.  By demonstrating these characteristics you will find that a lot of people come to care and love you.  This is important because life will kick you in the teeth at some point.  You will have series of moments that will test you.  By surrounding yourself with love, getting through those moments and passing those tests will become much easier because you will have others to lean on and help you.  Which leads to my third point.

When life throw absurdities at you, sometimes, you just have to laugh.  Laughing is a good way to ensure happiness.  To be able to laugh one needs to have humility,  a willingness to be open and a positive outlook.   Humility is knowing in your heart that you are human and fallible as anyone. By being humble it leaves one with the ability to be open.  This means be willing to listen to others, take in knowledge and use the information in a positive manner.  A positive outlook leads one to look for ways in which makes the world around them better.  It is about being willing to open oneself to a world of possibilities and to keep moving forward as a result.  Being being positive and moving forward one will have many good and rewarding experiences as a result.  This means, you will have a lot of opportunities for laughs - Take, enjoy and relish them.

I wish for each and everyone of you happiness.  While we all have our own paths to follow, there are a core set of values that seem to share.  Think carefully about these three 'L's' and what you can do to foster each one of them.  Happiness comes from within.  It come from feeling and knowing one is a good person who is trying their best to grow and flourish in this world.  Your beliefs, values and actions shape the world in which you live in.  Each one of you has the ability to be happy by creating positive environments around yourself.  My advice?  Take initiate and responsibility for your own happiness by being the best person you can.  That is the true key to happiness.

No comments:

Post a Comment