Newton’s third law of motion states that  ” For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”. But you say, hello, isn’t this article about self help and happiness, so what’s law of physics doing here. Lots I would say.

Happiness is basically rooted in our thoughts, words, deeds and action. Yes, so here comes ‘action’. The action which is an outcome of our self generated/analysed thoughts is the action we own, we take responsibility for the same. If its good, results in something good, we can feel happy about it. If its not, then we also have to take the blame for the same. 

However, the action, the source/origin of it is what someone else said or did to us, is ‘reaction’. It’s something we may or may not do. But when we do it, again, the consequences might be good or bad. And here again, we have to take credit or blame, depending on whether the result is good or bad. BUT, and that’s a big BUT as that’s the basis of this article. The level of satisfaction, peace of mind, we get from the fulfilment of that action does NOT result in true happiness. And that’s something that you need to think about.

Now let’s see some simple examples to further illustrate my point.

  • Rahul is at work. On Day 1 he was told by his boss to go to Bhiwandi and meet a potential customer whom the boss has met in the past and indicated interest. He goes, grabs an order and is back in a jiffy.  Day two, he was out having coffee at CCD. As there were no free tables, he shared a table with another guy and started a casual conversation. The person happened to be in the same line of business and knew of a businessman who might need Rahul’s product. He spoke to the businessman and then passed on the contact no. to Rahul. Five meetings and three phone calls in the next one month finally yielded a business deal. – Guess Which deal is Rahul more happy about?
  • Smita was wondering what to cook for dinner. There was a recipe which her friend Rachna suggested, run-of-the mill stuff and she made it fast enough. The next day, however, when some friends were to come over, she decided to make some serious effort. Checked for recipes online, read from a book that had been gathering dust at home for a while. Identified couple of items to make. Experimented on them for the whole day and finally, worked out a decent spread to please her friends. – Guess which meal was Smita more happy about.
  • Pranav wanted to take up wildlife photography. But his father did not believe that Pranav can make a living with the same and advised him against the same (if this reminds you of 3 idiots, it’s a mere coincidence!!). @ years after his engineering, Pranav is frustrated with his boring job of coding and quits. He is owning up on his decision this time (action) as compared to his earlier one of doing Engineering (reaction) and after 7 years of struggle, has finally established himself with a job with national geographic. Despite the long struggle, you know what Pranav is more happy about.

Once we have established the fact that you would be more happy with your actions, than reactions, the critical need is to be bold enough to take the actions. Have that risk taking ability to be ready for failure. Things may not go necessarily as per plan and its OK. Its not going to be the end of the world and you will get a second chance to restart. 

Here’s a simple task for all of you. Analyse for a day and see what all things you did in the day. And how many of them were ‘action’ and how many were ‘reaction’ . Based on wether they went right or wrong, see how many made u happy (as they went right and even if they went wrong, you still felt happy as they were your decision) and how many made you sad (because it was your decision and it went wrong or it went wrong and you did not make the decision).

Would love your views in comments.