How to be happy: Learn from kids

March 30, 2015

I often walk to my office and pass by a school. It is such a pleasure to see kids laughing, playing and having fun. I usually stop for a moment and observe them. One thing that strikes the most is that they are all happy. Even the kid who may be crying minutes earlier soon joins the gang. I wonder what makes them happy all the time. Are there some lessons that adults can learn from kids? Children may not have years of wisdom but they certainly know how to be happy. My analysis of children’s behaviour presents the following recipe of ‘how to be happy’:

Find happiness in the present:  

Life is a game for kids. They play and have fun. They don’t even need toys most of the time. Leave a few kids together and you will see them discovering new ways of playing together. They don’t need resources to be happy. They make the best of what is available. In contrast, most adults spend time reflecting over the past, thinking what is not well with them at present and worrying about the future. So, the first lesson is: we can’t plan happiness. We should find it in the present: at work, meeting people, exercise, sport, hobby, reading, etc. Important thing is to do at least one thing a day that makes you happy.

Be quick in forgetting what made you sad:

One thing that really impresses me about kids is that they quickly forget what hurts them or what makes them unhappy. Smile appears even when tears are not fully dried. Adults hold on to their sorrows and worries for too long, and that keeps happiness away.

Don’t judge people:

Have you ever heard a kid judging another kid?  They may fight but forget soon and start playing together again. They are too innocent to judge each other. How I wish we adults could learn to be like this. We may not like everyone we meet, work with or spend time with but it does not give us the right to criticize them. Keeping grudges against people affects our relationships and sore relationships make us unhappy. Mother Teresa said it well, “if you judge people, you have no time to love them.”