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“Are you happy?”
This was once a popular phrase. This is a line from the movie, “Waikiki Brothers.” “Are you happy this moment? Do you consider yourself a happy person?” At these questions, it is said that there would be only a few Koreans that could confidently say that they are happy. Overall, it is said the happiness index in quite low in Korea.
So, what is happiness? People would have diverse answers. Happiness can be said to be the degree of satisfaction in life. However, people gauge their happiness, not by such an abstract definition, rather by things that can be seen. It is said that people believe having a lot of money or a big house would bring happiness. If we could just have a better job, we would be happy. If we could just get better grades, we would be happy. If we could just get a promotion, we would be happy. We think like this
Then, if we did get a lot of money, a big house, and a great job—would we really be happy? According to studies, we don’t become happy just because our situation changes. When we get what we want, we become happy for a time. Then, we get used to the situation and a new desire arises. If we get what we want, we want another new thing again. There is a saying that if we are standing, we want to sit. If we are sitting, we want to lie down. And if we are lying down, we want to sleep.
Nonetheless, people say, “But isn’t it good to have a lot? After all, a good thing is a good thing.” Studies indicate that what determines happiness is not external factors, rather our character and our attitude. In the degree of life satisfaction, less than 20% is determined by external factors. Of course, there are some people who give great importance to this less than 20%. It is when the 20% external factors and the 80% internal factors come together harmoniously, there is great strength. If these factors cannot come together, we want another 20%, after we get the initial 20%.
We looked for spring all day long
But spring was nowhere to be found
We searched to the cloud-covered mountain peak
We wandered until our straw shoes were completely worn through
Tired, we returned
Then a smile came upon us at the teeming fragrance of ume flowers
Spring was already here
Abundant on the branches of the ume tree
The precious things are within us or next to us. The most important time is now and the most important place is here. Not knowing this, we only search outside. This mind has no brake. Without brakes, the mind speeds up. With a speedy mind, our perspective narrows. With a narrow perspective, we become anxious and impatient. Even if there were precious things to be found anywhere, how could we ever find it with our anxious and impatient minds?
The four-leaf clover represents good luck. We’ve all probably looked for a four-leaf clover in the grassy field. We wanted to find our lucky four-leaf clover in the midst of all those three-leaf clovers. We wanted to place it in the pages of a book and dream of happy moments. However, did you know that all those overlooked three-leaf clovers are supposed to represent happiness?