HAPPINESS: WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE HOPE

By Aliker David Martin

September 26th, 2011

How do you respond to adversity in your life? In our families, we all have experienced incidences of adversity. But how have we responded to it? We all respond differently when faced with adversity in our lives. I once attended a graduation ceremony of a friend. His mother gave a very strong testimony of hope in the face of adversity. This is an edited version of her story. In 1989, we were blessed with a handsome baby boy. Unlike the six other siblings, William (not real name) was instantly sickly and spent many months in hospital. After so much effort like it’s characteristic in Africa, the doctors gave up. They could not trace his veins to administer medication to the blood. One day, a doctor came over and asked my husband to have a moment to talk. He sympathized with my husband and told him they cannot save the boy. Soon they will be discharged. Hiding his tears, my husband calmed me down and told me what the doctor told him. I listened but never responded. I was overwhelmed with the need to dialogue with my spiritual self and silently started to pray. My husband packed everything and headed home. I told him I would come later to allow me engage my faith and ask for divine intervention. A nursing aid brought the discharge note and found me deep in prayer. She said, “mom don’t worry, your child will be fine”. Ironically, she placed the discharge note next to her and moved out. Before she could open the door, she asked me, “Can I try one last time if I can trace the veins?” I just nodded in acceptance. That act of hope saved my son. I am glad today William has withered all forms of adversity in his life as a student. She concluded by saying, “your graduation is a testimony of why hope supersedes human wisdom”. So back to my article, why should we have hope when there seems no light at the end of the tunnel?

Hope is a message that gets coded in the heart. The heart is the custodian of joy and sadness. Our actions are determined by what we think. The information from our brain sends a message to the heart that directs our actions. If you lose hope, it means you have stopped trying other options but expecting a different result. Remember winners never quit and quitters never win. William’s mother and the nursing aid did not give up but thought of trying another chance and it saved William’s life.

Hope in spiritual higher power

Also, to have hope is a question of faith. What do you believe in? It could be evolution, it could be nature, it could be natural intelligence and it could be in God. It doesn’t matter what you call it, it’s some spiritual higher power over mankind that relates to our joy and sadness. To lose hope is to doubt your own beliefs and trust human wisdom above this spiritual higher power. If you believe that some day you will be fine, it will be. Napoleon Hill says,” you can be anything you want to be, if you only belief with sufficient conviction and act in accordance with your faith; for whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve”. William’s mother didn’t believe that the last judgment on her son’s life lies in the wisdom of the doctors but in that higher power. It took the nursing aid’s belief and conviction that she can do what the doctors have failed to do and save William and that’s what happened.

Therefore, as you go through adversities in your life, never give up. Always look to what you believe in and persist in trying to do some thing differently to find a different result. Adversity could be a sickness, divorce, losing a good job. Just don’t allow human judgment to over ride that higher power that you believe in. Rabindranath Tagore says, “If you cry because the sun has gone out of your life, your tears will prevent you from seeing the stars.

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HAPPINESS: Smile and get promoted


HAPPINESS:Smile and get promoted

By Aliker David Martin

September 17th, 2011

 He who enjoys doing and enjoys what he has done is happy. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Last week, I received a request on my blog to write on Happiness and achievements. In my reflection I realized while achieving our life’s goals lead to happiness, happiness itself is an important component of achieving our life’s goals. This reflection reminded me of my colleague Othieno (not real name). Othieno was a very hardworking and committed teacher at my first workplace. Othieno worked long hours and so dedicatedly that he won the best staff award of the year. His focus was to be a head-teacher at a young promising age. Subsequently, the School director reshuffled his administration and replaced the deputy head-teacher and the head-teacher in Othieno’s third year of service. While the director acknowledged Othieno’s hard work and dedication he believed he was still so young and needed more experience. Othieno developed attitude and became so negative, he fell off with other staffs that didn’t agree with him and failed to meet deadlines. Othieno fell from grace to grass and lost his job in the third year. Othieno’s experience is what many young employees experience. The question is, “how does happiness lead to promotions at work?”

The greatest workplace threat is the viral infection of negativity. Othieno allowed his attitude to take advantage of him. Trouble likes company, Othieno allowed himself to join the group of disgruntled employees who have given up on being promoted. A continuously negative employee affects the attitude of other employees. To keep happy, an employee has to learn work politics and keep away from negative staffs. Othieno excelled in his earlier years because he loved his job and had a goal. Negativity affected his focus and he lost his dream.

Another reason to keep happy at work is productivity. Employers reward productivity. Therefore, keep happy and become more productive then a promotion will get your way. Researchers such as Thomas Wright from Kansas State University have repeatedly shown that happier workers deliver more products. Now I know why our teachers were given touring trips and staff parties. While the office gossip was that ”only party going staffs get promoted,” the logic was that party going staffs were happy and enjoyed their jobs hence more productive. Othieno avoided staff leisure activities and carried his work home.

Stephen R. Covey asserts that,” our greatest joy and our greatest pain come in our relationship with others”. Othieno developed grudges with many other staffs as a result of his unhappiness. This implies he could no longer be a team player. His frustration made him unable to meet his deadlines. While other happy staff members enjoyed the cooperation of their colleagues and great appraisals from their line managers to guarantee them promotions. Othieno would have enjoyed emotional support from his colleagues when he felt frustrated. This would have eventually made him regain his focus and potentially achieved his goal. We all have low moments at our work place, what is important is not how we fall but how we get up when we fall because we all fall anyway.

Conclusively as you begin a new week at work, keep happy and focus on your goal. Realize that we all have low moments at work but what keeps us going is a good working relationship, keeping ever productive and less negativity to meet deadlines.

NB: As always, mail me what you think or what you want me to write about.

HAPPINESS: Move on with you precious gift of Life


By Aliker David Martin

September 11th, 2011

 I am lying on my bed with my headphones on, listening to Boyence’s song broken hearted girl. My phone rings and I get excited to receive a call from my long lost friend. We last met 5 years ago. She called to inform me this time she is getting married for real. The last time we talked, she had called to cancel my commitment, as a master of ceremony in her marriage and that she was heart broken. Her fiancée then, changed his mind at the last minute. My question was, “How did you get over the rejection?” She shared with me three great ideas that I will share with you on getting back your happiness.

Rejection is a very painful experience in life. It brings self-doubt; a feeling of betrayal; and thoughts of vengeance. Mary (not real name) shared with me, that she feels so lucky she was rejected then because she would not have been lucky to have the man in her life today. She looks back and thanks God for his wonderful guidance. Sometimes when you lose you feel you have lost every thing. Yet the reality is that if you could find that which you have lost you can even find better. In Mary’s wisdom, “look for the lessons in the stale relationship and pick the gift in it”. She adds that,” normally there is a tendency to look for who to blame instead of taking own responsibility for the broken relationship”. Most of those who successfully get over rejection desist from blame, and believe that the universe is out there to support them. Nothing happens without a reason; whatever is happening has a gift or a lesson in it for them.

The last time we talked with Mary, she was full of anger and promised so much vengeance, but now she sounds in high spirits and less conscious of the feeling of betrayal. When I brought this to her notice, she said, “My faith helped me to get over the strong feeling of vengeance. It’s important in our lives to identify the signs that tell you, its time to bury the hatchet. I learnt to define myself by not how hurt I am but by being able to find compassion and understanding in the face of a perceived adversity”. To forgive is a very difficult task for the broken hearted. However, forgiving some one does not mean that you condone betrayal; it does not mean you have forgotten; and it does not mean you are minimizing the severity of a problem. Forgiving is more about the forgiver than the person being forgiven. Forgiving frees you from the negative mental imprisonment that entraps you when you can’t let go off past misdeed.

Mary’s final counsel is that, in life one has to be able to see the silver lining in every tragedy of life. She compares difficult moments with clouds in a rainy season. “If one focused on clouds and paid attention to whether there was any blue in the gaps, it’s a signal that the rain; if it did come would not last forever”. This hit me really hard and I remembered Winston Churchill’s words,” a pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty”. So move on with your precious gift of life because great opportunities lie ahead of you.

Our telephone conversation ended but her words kept with me on how I should look at life. I will and do hope you will look at life more positively and feel emotionally stronger in the face of rejection at work; amidst friends and in pursuit of life’s goals. I hope the three most important words today are: Optimism, Forgiveness, and Lessons in Life.

NB: Feel free to mail me what you want me to write about on Happiness.