Today is my brother’s birthday. He is turning 15 years old, and naturally I asked what he wanted as a gift. More specifically, I asked him to think of something he wanted that cannot be bought with money. His response was “talent and respect… also health, happiness and knowledge”. I was not expecting that but as his brother, it is my duty to at least try to get him close to those things by sharing what I’ve learned from my humble perspective.

I believe that in the end, everything comes from happiness. Once you get there, the rest is rather easy because no matter what you will still be happy, right? So what is happiness then? How do you get there? Maybe we need to understand unhappiness first. It’s like a virus that everyone has. We’re all sick from it. We wake up in the morning and we’re not happy. We go to school or work and still not happy. We encounter others who are not happy. Sometimes, we even enjoy the company of those who are chronically unhappy. And so it goes around that way. It is found in all the things we want and don’t have, like a pendulum swinging from where we are to where we want to be. And so happiness is what we find when the pendulum stops. It’s not something that can be bought, given or taken, it’s something you must find for yourself because sometimes one man’s treasure is another man’s garbage. All that matters in the end is what makes you happy. That’s how you become your own cure and your own medicine. Like all other virtues, it’s not something you get, it’s something you become.

So start where you are, today, with what makes you happy. What better time than the present?