Do you know someone who is always negative or someone who gets really mad at little things like how the person in front of them is walking too slowly or how their phone didn’t charge properly from the night before? I think at some point we all experience these kinds of emotions.
But today I’m gonna share with you my weird life hack that will not only make those negative feelings go away but it will instantly make you feel happy. And I’m going to do it by sharing with you the unbelievable story of my friend Ben. Ben was born in Los Angeles California. His parents bought him pretty much anything that he wanted from bikes toys gaming consoles everything. And they did this because they wanted to keep Ben busy because the parents were working all the time. But as the years went by Ben started to become bored and he would always want the next coolest gaming console or the newest cell phone and this environment made it hard for Ben to ever feel content and happy with himself instead of having someone to talk to. He was just given more and more stuff and this seemingly small issue during his childhood would be the thing that would almost ruin his entire life. Fast forward 15 years and Ben has now become the head negotiator for one of the world’s biggest airlines called Legacy air.
This job helped Ben support his childhood habit of always buying the newest toy. But whenever he would buy that new watch or buy that new jacket he would experience temporary happiness but it would always wear off and he would be left with that incomplete feeling that he had been experiencing since childhood. After some time things started to get really bad for Ben. The more he tried to fill that hole inside of him with new stuff the bigger the hole became and he started to blame his friends his family and even his girlfriend for his unhappiness. He would always lash out at them and he would point out their flaws and their imperfections whenever they tried to help him. As a result of this Ben lost his friends and contact with most of his family. But worst of all his long term girlfriend decided to leave him. Ben felt alone with no one to talk to and he slowly entered a very dark and depressed state of mind. The only thing that Ben wanted was to end up like those people in movies who would live happily ever after with the white picket fence. But Ben knew that if things stayed the exact same then he would end up miserable and alone like the way he was right now.
So Ben needed to figure out why he wasn’t happy and how to fix it. But he had no idea how to do this. The following week Ben received the phone call from his work with some interesting news. He was given the opportunity to move to India for six months to represent a legacy air in some international negotiations. Ben thought to himself that’s why I’m not happy. It’s this stupid superficial city everyone here is so fake. They all want to take something from you or they’re trying to sell something to you. If I go over there I’ll meet the right people and then I’ll come back and be a happy person. So Ben took the offer with the goal to find his answers. Over in India. But little did he know there was something much much bigger waiting for him over there. When he got there he was a total culture shock. There were people everywhere. There were wild dogs running around. He couldn’t even read signs let alone talk to anyone. But luckily the airline had assigned him a local personal assistant who would show him around and he would even drive Ben to and from work every single day. His name was Azhar.
Despite staying in one of the nicest hotels in India Ben was very very unhappy and if you asked him why he would tell you that it was because he hated the hotel he hated the traffic. He hated how loud everything was he hated how hot it was. He hated pretty much everything and he felt more miserable there than he ever did back home.
And it was pushing him to a mental and emotional breakdown on the way home from work one day Azhar asked Ben. So how are you settling in and out of nowhere? Ben just started ranting about all the things that he hated about India. He said I don’t know how anyone could even live here in these conditions how can anyone ever be happy here. I’m miserable. Azhar pulled the car over and with a big smile on his face. He turned to Ben and said I want to take you somewhere where Ben said a place that you will never ever forget. Fine whatever Anywhere is better than this terrible hotel. Ben said they started driving outside of the city and slowly the buildings became more rundown and the roads became more damage and everything just looked poorer. After driving for about an hour and a half they finally got to this house that basically looked like a small wooden hut. The moment when Ben got out of the car he felt very uncomfortable and scared. He had never seen so much poverty in one area and he was worried that Azhar was going to rob him or something.
He had no idea what was going on. Azhar took Ben inside the mysterious house where they saw this elderly lady doing the dishes. There were also four small kids who are running around who were all laughing and smiling. Ben Meet Anika. My grandmother Anika turned around and said No stay. Ben will you be joining us for dinner. He sure will be. As I said they sat down on the floor and then everyone started to eat just from using their hands. Ben had barely said a word the entire time. He couldn’t believe how there were five people living in the small two-room hut with no air conditioning no microwave notable no cutlery. They barely had anything yet. Everyone looked so happy. They finished up the food and then they said goodbye. On the drive home, Azhar turned to Ben and said Ben I’m confused about something.
What is that? Ben said. You live in the nicest hotel in all of India. You have one of the coolest jobs in the whole of India. You have more money than most people in India. Yet you appear to be one of the saddest people in all of India. Why do you think that is. Ben paused for a moment and said. I don’t I don’t know. You keep blaming everything around you for why you were not happy.
Perhaps the problem is actually inside you. Ben just looked at him unsure what to say. How about this. After work, I can either take you back to this luxury hotel and you can keep doing whatever it is that you do here and complain about everything or I can take you to see more of the slums in India where you can explore the truth about what is really going on with you. Let me know tomorrow when he got to the hotel. He started to think about what Azhar said and for the first time in his entire life, he looked inwardly as opposed to looking outwardly for the cause of his unhappiness. He could not deny that the family he met today was happy and Azhar was happy and they all have much less than he did. Maybe there is something wrong with me.
Ben thought to himself when he went to bed that night it didn’t seem as hot the bed didn’t seem as uncomfortable and the noise seemed quieter. The next day Azhar was there to pick Ben up from work and he said So Ben where are we going.
Ben looked at him and said Take me to the worst slum in India. So that day and every week for the next four months they would go to different slums in India and Ben could not believe how much poverty there was in this country. He would see families barely having enough food to eat. He would see kids who were homeless on the street who would light up with a smile when somebody gave them a single candy bar. Seeing this type of extreme poverty made Ben appreciate what he did have in his life and seeing how happy some of the families were here. Despite this poverty made Ben realize that happiness does not come from stuff. He had been trying to buy his happiness from external things on his last day in India. Azhar said something to Ben that he will never forget. He said if you ever catch yourself getting mad at those little pointless things just do this. Take a moment to appreciate how you have a roof over your head or how you live in a safe country or how you have food to eat every single day. Appreciate how you have arms that work legs that work or how you have a heart that works and you got all of this completely free no car no watch no toy will ever make you feel happy or complete. This must come from within. They hugged and Ben went home.