The little things that make happy

Happiness is quite the popular topic. There are countless books and publications on the subject and yet people still seem to have a hard time finding happiness. Here follows a little story about something rather benign that made me happy. I do not really know why but it did, and I want to share it because there are interesting lessons to learn from it.

One of my pair of shoes, which I bought some 12 years ago look beaten up. They are waterproof hiking shoes and I have to admit that I had not taken the best care of them all these years. They look so beaten up that over the past few years I had used them only for gardening purposes. Of course, they got dirtier and more beaten up but they are sturdy and so I kept using them. Lately, I used them to shovel snow and they got wet and showed some tough water stains. It reached a level of ugliness that bothered me. So, I looked at what kind of shoe care products we have in the house. My wife has a quite a collection of such products and I found a few that would help the shoes look a little bit better. I gave the shoes a good scrubbing and brushing. I applied care products a few times in all the creases and cracks to make sure they would nourish the leather. I finished with a good shoeshine and polishing and… I could not believe my eyes. I bought some new shoelaces and the shoes now look really great, almost as good as new. They look so good that I do not use them just for the garden anymore, but I use them for my trips to town during the winter. They are waterproof, comfortable and warm. That is ideal for our winter conditions here. It is also a lot cheaper than buying new shoes. I cannot explain why, but restoring these shoes has really made me happy. I am proud of them and I am proud of myself. Silly? Perhaps, but who cares anyway? All that matters is that it makes me happy. That is lesson one. Your happiness is for yourself only. Others do not have to understand or agree. As long as your happiness does not harm anyone else, it is nobody else’s business.

Lesson one is really important because it comes to a simple fact: happiness is about you, not about pleasing others, which means that others are not the ones deciding what makes you happy. But there are more lessons from this:

  • Happiness is what make you feel good, regardless of what it is. There are no particular rules.
  • Happiness is not necessarily about grand ideals. In fact, most of the time, it is not. It is about the little things, because little things are easier to achieve than bearing the world’s salvation on your shoulders.
  • Happiness is not about money. For my shoes, all it took was some care products that we had in the house for years and a pair of new shoelaces. The total cost was just a few bucks, while buying similar new shoes would have cost at least 30 times more. Perhaps, the fact that the restoration cost so little was part of the happiness.
  • Happiness is not about others, but it is about what you think and feel. Yet, I got some positive comments on my shoes, so I guess it confirms that they look good.
  • Happiness is not about having fancy things or high-tech stuff. These are stupid hiking shoes and all it took was some shoe care products, a rag and, bit of elbow grease and less than a quarter of an hour.

If we focused on the little things of daily life that make us feel good, instead of desperately trying to keep up with trends to impress others, the world would be happier, except for  marketers of course, but they, too, might find happiness in something else than what they currently do. To be happy, follow your feelings, not the trends. Happiness can only come from inside.

Copyright 2020 – Christophe Pelletier – The Happy Future Group Consulting Ltd.