Everyone will go through difficult times. Few had already been through some of these hard times. The moment of truth is that it’s not how to find a solution to those difficult times, but how you take that problem to your heart without clouding your judgement. I will admit, it’s not that easy. Life is never been made to be easy.
We are challenged – often on a daily basis – to rise above what we might consider our primitive response, to engage our brain, to make decisions no matter how minute on a moment to moment basis. Out of this, there is a way through it and find happiness. Finding the joy of little things you do, when you are in stress or in difficult times.
One way I have always go through difficult times is by thinking ahead to what good things are ahead to come. It might be a holiday, social event, or sitting alone in the bar sipping that lemonade with a touch of mint flavour. If you think about it, it’s a flawed coping mechanism, because as soon there isn’t anything to focus upon your life with the immediate outcome, life can be a bit stale.
We are surrounded by some powerful ideas about the sort of things that will make us happy. We, humans tend to think that really to deliver satisfaction, the pleasures we should aim should be rare. We have inherited something like ‘ordinary,’ which is taken to be mediocre, dull, and uninspiring and work with a corresponding assumption that things that are unique, hard to find, exotic delight us more.
Then we want things to be expensive, we like an economic endorsement. If something is cheap or free, it is a little harder to appreciate it. There was this fascinating experiment done by Washington Post in Washington DC as a part of a social experiment about the perceptions, taste, and priorities of people.
A celebrated violinist once donned scruffy clothes and busked at a street corner playing was largely ignored even though the pieces, he played was one of the best pieces in the world. The man here is Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the intricate pieces ever written on the violin worth over 3.5 million USD. He was completely ignored that day because we, humans want things to be expensive & have an economic endorsement. The Same people would flock to the world’s great concert halls to hear just the same man play just the same pieces.
The questions it posed were, in a common place environment at inappropriate hour
- Can we perceive real beauty?
- Do we pause to appreciate it?
- Do we recognize talent in unexpected context?
We have all been facing all these misunderstandings in all our lives. Even I certainly have been under the misunderstanding all my life. We feel that something which is expensive must be good quality and by the same token, if it’s cheap it must be bad. We believe in big schemes give better joy, marriage, career, travel. These are not wrong at all. But, collectively, they exhibit unhelpful bias against, cheap, ordinary.
What exactly happened to us? Where it all went wrong? We fall into this trap of thinking critically for everything we do and stopped making our own observations. We often follow trends, influencers, a fashion which is far away and more often we fail to observe the real beauty & joy right in front of us.
If someone says they have been on a trip to Europe, we automatically assume that they had a better time than someone went to the park next door. We imagine that visiting the Galleries in Florence is always going to be nicer than reading a paperback novel in your room. A restaurant dinner sounds good deal and more appealing than having Maggi at your home.
Sharon Draper, An American writer says, “Perfect happiness is a beautiful sunset, the giggle of a grandchild, the first snowfall. It’s the little things that make happy moments, not the grand events. Joy comes in sips, not gulps.” There’s always joy in smaller things If you manage your expectations. Satisfaction comes from many forms, all the way from the first bite of chocolate chip cookie, up to stepping off from plane when you are travelling home from the city of your work.
As I mentioned, Joy comes in sips, not gulps. The problem with Joy of small things is, we don’t tend to anticipate them for as long as we do big stuff. And, that anticipation is a factor that determines how happy we are. But, anticipation itself is a dangerous thing as you will be disappointed and disheartened.
As far as I’m concerned, joy comes for me by doing simple things as such as cheesecake at the end of the day, if I feel I am productive enough for that day. A peaceful walk, back from work listening to my all-time favourite playlist. Joy always comes from things that don’t last forever. You don’t keep high expectations to yourself and try to have joy by solving it. It takes a lifetime to do it. By the time you are done, all is gone!
What’s great about small things is you don’t have to wait for a longer time for outcomes, you don’t have to anticipate for longer duration and rarely they do go wrong. If, it helps you can always do it again if your previous outcome isn’t perfect. Baking a perfect red velvet cake went wrong? you can try again, doesn’t take more than 90 minutes. Who knows, your second outcome is favourable. We all need to focus on little joys of our lives because we can’t do anything about losing out on big stuff and we all still deserve to be happy.
The perfect idea for ‘Joy of small things’ is minimalist living which is trending a lot these days. It is based on the idea that we have too many things than we need. We, humans, have this tendency to believe in, ‘grass on the other side is always greener.’ and we tend to buy things which we don’t have and it feels overwhelming. This ‘Loud’ happiness is rare happiness and these things can be mundane over a longer period of time and eventually, you will forget the joy of little things.
Doing the same thing every day, and expecting different outcome can be called insanity, similarly, doing the same small things daily and expecting joy out of it is no different than insanity. One thing you can do is doing the same thing, differently. It might sound stupid at this time, But it might keep you going until you get those bigger things back.
Gratitude & appreciating things shouldn’t be overlooked!
It is one big myth by our sceptical society that great art exists only in Galleries, Museums, Opera houses. In reality, there’s amazing art out there in walls of the city, amazing musicians on street and great acting in plays. A pleasure may look very minor – eating a cookie, having a bath, holding a paperback book, talking to a grandparent, or scanning through old photos of when you were a child and yet these pleasures can be anything but small. If properly grasped and elaborated upon, these sort of activities may be among the most moving and satisfying we can have.
So, in a nutshell, pay attention to the small things in your life. Feed your mind with the things that invoke a sense of joy, appreciate, wonder or gratitude. These are in fact the things that get you through in your hard times.
But there is no point in chasing the future until and unless we are better at being more attuned to the modest moments and things that are presently or readily available to us.
This article may seem like life is as simple as it is and you may argue about it. But, I am totally cool with that, because I know there is beauty, art & joy to be found in unexpected places.