The Fairy Tale Concept of Happiness — The Perception of a 22-year-old

In all certainty, I am not one to be quick to write a piece reflecting my opinion on certain matters. I’d rather stay on the background and silently form my own opinion based on facts and research. However, with this particular topic, I don’t really feel like background research is at hand here. Everyone has their own opinion on what happiness is and what it means to them and others around them. To be honest, as a 22-year-old, I may not have gained enough life experience to touch on this topic. However, I think that maybe seeing things from my perspective could prove to be rather refreshing and you might reflect on your own opinion as to what happiness means to you. Actually, that is what I am trying to do with this article. I am not one to make a statement on how to be happy, but I am just trying to reflect on the things in life that bring me happiness and want to invoke a discussion on why you might think differently.

For me, happiness consists of many small pieces, and during this article, I will try to explain why each piece contributes towards my happiness. An important one is freedom. Being able to do the things you love and want to do. The freedom to express yourself, whether it is via music, art or dancing. The freedom to make your own choices in life and to walk your own path. I am privileged to have been given the chances in life to pursue playing music, to attend university and to choose my studies without any external pressure. This freedom has led me to explore many things in my own peculiar way and has enabled me to formulate my own opinions about many different topics.

Our delegation of the first ever Belgian Huawei Telecom Seeds for the Future in China [2014]

One thing that contributed to my happiness early on, is that I quickly learned the act of initiative. At the time, I had no idea how much impact it would have on my life. Initiative led to social interactions, which in its turn allowed me to become a people person. This was crucial as I learned how to converse with all different types of people. It also allowed me to grab many of the opportunities that presented themselves during my education. Because of this, I was able to traverse to China for three weeks with Huawei.

I also believe that, if life doesn’t give you many opportunities, you have to create them yourself. For example, it is not because you didn’t take up coding classes in university, that you’ll never be able to work as a developer. Take matters into your own hands, take some online courses, earn certificates, make some hobby projects to help you code and show those coding companies that you are really motivated to be a developer. Make your dreams come true and never let anyone tell you otherwise.

Hakuna Matata — Don’t worry, be happy. It is a slogan that I live by as an everlasting optimist. I learned that worrying about the small things in life only leads to stress, but doesn’t actually change anything about the outcome. Why would you stress about it then? Take the following example. You are a student and have just finished your exams. Many people would start stressing out about the results, even if it is still weeks to come before the results are known. But why bother? The exams are submitted anyways and there is no possible way that worrying about the result will have any sort of impact on the end result! By that reasoning, I’d rather enjoy my vacation period without worrying or stressing about school.

With my colleagues at Kinepolis Kortrijk, we took a trip to The Ardennes to bond. [2016]

Happiness is also something that I believe to be very contagious and I try to spread it to the fullest. I feel happy when my environment is feeling happy and if they are not, they know that they have someone to talk to because I do feel better knowing my environment is happy.

Sharing happiness also means that you should be happy for others and their accomplishments. Don’t be jealous, but accept the fact that they achieved something and be happy for them. In the case you were contesting for the same position, for example, give the other the respect he or she deserves and aim even higher, because what is life without a challenge?

With that said, I also love turning life itself into one big challenge. Those dishes you need to do? Measure how long they take and try to beat your best time. If you keep on making challenges, you might end up surprising yourself with what you are capable of.

Pohoda Festival in Slovakia, one of the best festivals I’ve ever done. [2017]

Friends and family are also certain to play a big role in my happiness. Think back to some of the moments during the last year when you were truly happy. For me, during these moments, there were always people besides me that shared these moments with me. Not only did they elevate the moments themselves, they also helped create the memory and make it memorable for many years to come.

For most people, success leads to happiness, and why wouldn’t it? Who doesn’t feel happy when they succeed at something they have worked a great deal for? For me though, failure is also key to happiness. I am a very driven person and am always looking for ways to improve myself, and that is exactly what failure brings about. It shows me a way to improve myself, so I can learn from my mistakes and succeed the next time.

Something I don’t believe in though is the concept of finding happiness. People should be able to create their own happiness around things they feel happy about. Even through the toughest times, there will always be moments that bring about happiness, you only have to embrace those moments and focus on the positive instead of the negative. Trust your friends and rely on them when you need them because they will be there for you as you are for them.

A view over Budapest from The Citadel. I could have spent hours here. [2017]

Start living the life of an optimist. It is so much more fun! Even when you are in a pinch, deadlines have to be met, reports have to be filed, etc. You have to stay optimistic and think about the fun stuff you will be able to do when you are done. One thing that helps me do this, is careful planning and organisation. I love to plan ahead, whether it is schoolwork, city trips or even regular weeks. Because of careful planning, I know that I do not have to worry about deadlines and reports being filed. They will always be done in time, as long as I stick to the plan. This is also one of the main reasons that I can remain stress-free during very busy periods. It also enables me to enjoy the real moments to their fullest. Take a city trip for example. Because everything is planned out in advance, I do not have to worry about catching the plane, making reservations in time, etc. because I know that my planning is accurate. This allows me to enjoy the city trip to its fullest.

My happiness is also not based on the approval of others. In this digital age, there are many people that go out, take pictures for social media and wait. Wait for the likes on Facebook, the hearts on Instagram, basically wait on the approval of others. If the picture gets a lot of likes? Great! If it does not, it is a disaster. People start questioning the things they are doing, the way they are dressed, the meaning of life itself! Maybe I am over dramatizing here, but I do want to make a point that you should live the life you love and stop caring about other peoples opinions. You should do things for your own reasons, and not because others will approve of it. Stop living on the internet and start to really live. Enjoy moments when they present themselves. For example, I love going to concerts. However, I am always bothered by people that film the whole concert with their smartphone. Why would you come to a concert then? You could have watched it at home on a live stream! I do have nothing against taking a few pictures or filming a small part, but a whole concert, incomprehensible!

Sunset dinner by the water in Venice. Those are the moments that make life worthwhile. [2016]

For me, the small things in life also contribute greatly towards my happiness. Mowing the grass barefooted, lying in the sun, dreaming away with headphones on, going out for dinner, enjoying wonderful views on vacation. There are so many little moments in life where I can honestly say to myself: “Now I am happy”. Cherish these moments and enjoy them while they last.

Last but not least, happiness for me is the fact that I know that I still have a full life ahead of me. That I am still able to explore many new places, meet many wonderful people, learn many new things, live up to my own expectations and maybe enjoy the wonders of starting a family. Maybe I am just a naive 22-year-old who still thinks of happiness as a fairy tale concept. Maybe I am not, and my way of looking at life is refreshing for some. Maybe I’ll change my opinion in a few years, who knows? All I know is that happiness for me is here and that I am having the time of my life.