Commentary: The Happiest People Make the Most of Everything

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I would like each person present here to think carefully and to ponder over a few simple questions that I shall pose to you. I shall choose five of them. They are not trick questions. These are just ordinary, routine, everyday questions, and, each one has a simple, straightforward answer.

  • Name the wealthiest person in the World.
  • Who was the last winner of the Miss Universe beauty contest?
  • Name the last Nobel Prize winner in science.
  • Who won the academy award for the best actor last year?
  • Name the last World Cup cricket champions.

And just how many correct answers did you get or at least think you got?

Well, the answer is that you did not get too many correct answers for these five questions that I posed to you.

The fact is none of us remember the headlines of yesterday.

The answers to all five questions involve people who were or still are certainly not second rate achievers.

Each person or each team was the best in their fields. Their names were on the headlines of hundreds of newspapers, but it was yesterday.

Their names were called over hundreds of radio stations and television stations and so too were their photographs, but it was yesterday.

Their names were called from the lips of millions of people all over the World. They were champions, the best in their field and they deserved their titles, and they won them fairly, but it was yesterday.

And then what happened? For even some of you may have been ones who sang their praises and who heralded them and yet you cannot even remember them today.

You see the applause died down, the cheering ceased, the celebrations stopped, and the world, well, it continued to turn.

What took place was something very simple. The simple answer is that awards soon tarnish and even the greatest achievements are forgotten.

Accolades and certificates are buried with their attainers.

And now, I shall give you another small questionnaire.

  • Name one person with whom you enjoy spending time.
  • Name one person who makes you feel appreciated and special and good.
  • Name one person who helped you through a difficult time in your life.
  • Name one friend who taught you something worthwhile. (v)
  • Name one teacher who had a positive impact on your journey through school

And how well did you do in this next questionnaire?

I am sure it was much better. I am certain that you got more correct answers, and do you know why? Once more the answer is very simple.

You see the people who make the difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, or the ones with the most certificates, or the ones with the most money, or the most awards.

They are not the most famous. They simply are the ones who care most about you. They are the ones who make the difference in your lives.

And, these are the ones who you keep close to your heart.

Remember that the happiest people in this world don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They simply make the most of everything that they have.

Be yourself only and always, everybody else is taken. Be careful that you create boundaries for your full potential by being too satisfied too quickly.

You see, when this happens, greater opportunities and more feasible options become stifled.

So choose well as you have listened well, and forge always onwards to a better and more successful life.

The way that life is designed, success is far simpler to attain than is failure. I assure you of that.

(Fayad Ali is a former Dean at Naparima College in San Fernando, Trinidad, an eminent Mathematics teacher and author)


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