Happiness Really Is in the Little Things

I’m on a train going to visit my parents. Next to me, there is this old lady with an enthusiasm to envy. She’s looking out the window and saying: “Look at all the trees! They’re so green! And look at all the beautiful houses!” I look at her attentively for a moment and I realize she’s probably in her 80’s, but her face is shining with youth, joy and vitality.

Meanwhile, I’m on my laptop, hurrying to answer all my emails before I reach my station, noticing that I’m loosing my Internet connection, thinking to myself “Damn! This isn’t fair! Why is this happening to me! I need to answer my emails!” and getting myself annoyed by the situation.

Then I suddenly realize how silly I am, in the way I think, feel and act right now. And how silly the vast majority of us humans are. Here we are, living in the most evolved society that ever existed, a world which our ancestors 2000 years ago didn’t even dream of, and we’re bitching about things like our Internet providers.

I instantly hear myself thinking: “Fuck this!” A split second later, I close Outlook with a click, deciding to leave my emails for later and I abruptly… relax. I start looking out the window; I notice: the trees are beautiful. Very beautiful! And I don’t even like green. Or so I thought.

How many moments of joy and happiness do we miss out on each day, because we get distracted and pissed off by small problems? How many of them do we miss out on in one month, one year and one lifetime? I don’t even want to make this estimate.

In psychological terms, it is called habituation: the process of getting used with something which exists in our lives all the time or a lot, so it no longer evokes the same emotional response. What it basically means is that our mind no longer interprets that thing as special. It sees it as normal, as a given, it takes it for granted.

This is how we take for granted almost everything in our lives. The personal car, the big plasma TV, the instant communication available with anyone on the planet at anytime, the skills we have as people and the things we can do. Then we start getting really frustrated when for some reason, one of these is no longer available to us. We feel cheated, betrayed, as if life owes us something. Forget silly: this is hilarious!

And so my lesson for the day emerges: if we want to live truly happy lives, we need to stop tacking things for granted. We need to look at even the smallest things in our lives and realize how great, how extraordinary they are. Then we can laugh at almost any modern life problem we have.

When you are able to enjoy the little things in life, not only that you become a lot happier, but you also radiate it. So in social interactions, you exude this positive energy which gets you noticed, impresses people and attracts them to you. This is one interesting way to improve your people skills.

I don’t believe in destiny, but if I would, I’d say that it’s manifesting right now: the old lady got off and now there’s this 8-9 years old kid who just climbed aboard with his mom in her place. He’s full of energy, he’s bouncing left and right and singing “Happy Birthday” like it’s the epiphany of musical creations. He’s so exited about this song!

This must be the second pointer to the same lesson, for reinforcement. I’m looking at the kid and I’m thinking: “I hope school and habituation don’t mess with his head too much”. My station is near; time to close…

Image courtesy of linh.ngan


  1. Hi Eduard… Great story at the beginning, it proves the point… I travel once a week for two hours, and I never carry a laptop while traveling. Prefer to see nature and the sun. 🙂

    The so-called “small” things are all around us,if we pay attention and enjoy them. This is one of the things that really can enhance the beauty of our lives.

    Sun, flowers, trees, people who laugh, talk, forgive and love. These are all things that require our attention and admiration.


    • Hi Marko,

      I’m learning to enjoy the scenery while traveling more and more. Now that I think about it, I’m learning to enjoy the scenery while doing anything 🙂

  2. Hey Eduard, great story! With my new situation I have so much more time to focus on me and enjoying the little things. There’s a great new park near where I live with four small man-made hills that are made from the old earth of the old Wembley stadium. I went there on Saturday just to enjoy the awesome view on such a gorgeous sunny day! It’s something I’m going to be doing a lot more of! 🙂
    .-= Amit Sodha – The Power Of Choice´s last blog ..Classifieds- Life Coach Seeks Advice =-.

  3. Ahhh, the power of gratitude, isn’t it a wonderful thing 😉
    I’m delighted to hear that you took time to enjoy your surroundings on this journey, and thanks for sharing this beautiful story to illustrate how being grateful for the little things can bring so much joy.
    .-= Claire – Gratitude Connection´s last blog ..Today Im grateful for =-.

  4. hy eduard!

    you re right in everything you say. but just think of something
    how many of us appreciate thses little thingsm how many appreciate the person the nature and not money or wealth?
    i ll tell you very few because nozadays people are too hurried to gain wealth and happiness and they forget that happiness is founs in thses small things


    • Hi Lumy,

      I believe this is a lesson we need to relearn: that there is beauty and excellence all around us, not just in driving a limo.

  5. “How many moments of joy and happiness do we miss out on each day, because we get distracted and pissed off by small problems?” What an important question to ask ourselves and I think you really explored this topic wonderfully. I think we really do need to make certain we are capturing every moment in the greatest way we can. Once we are genuinely able to do that, everything unfolds just as it should
    .-= Sibyl – alternaview´s last blog ..Do the Small Things Well and Achieve Big Goals =-.

  6. Hi Eduard,
    You may have been busy, but you did notice the signs you were being given and then institute change…you turned off your mind and opened your heart, to find that Beauty was there patiently waiting to be noticed…
    All that we ‘want’ in life is already there, just waiting for us to be Aware…we don’t need to do anything, just ‘be’…
    .-= Joy´s last blog ..Wednesday Wisdom- A Threshold… =-.

    • Hey Joy,

      That’s a good way to put it. I really opened my mind and got out of my head in that moment. And it was a valuable lessons which I learn every once in a while.

  7. How true this is! I had a similar moment today.

    I was taking a long walk because the last couple days I haven’t been able to fully relax (I’m a 15 year older, it’s summer and I didn’t get anywhere near stressed, but still I wasn’t at my normal inner peace) and I found myself checking my email and reading my blog comments! While walking! Can you believe it?

    Then, the little blue dot appeared where a “3G” icon should be on my iPhone and the connection speed lowered down a great deal. So I said, almost out loud: “No! Not now! S*** I wish there were no 3G blind spots in my city!”, but then I immediately said to myself: “Isn’t it wonderful that this is my biggest concern right now?”, started playing “I love the whole world (Boom De Ya-Da)” on the iPod app and happily continued my walk. My inner peace was back.

    This experience inspired me to write one hundred little things I like. I liked the list so much I used it as my ‘about me’ page: http://thedailyadventurer.wordpress.com/about/

    • LOL! While walking! This is why I encourage some people to not get Internet on their phones. It can become addictive. Anyway, glad you made good use of this experience by writing something 😉

  8. Great Reminder! So true that we ignor the things that we should stop and reflect on and are consumed with the things that don’t really benefit us. We get peeved over nothing…and about stuff that matters not. Thanks for sharing!

Speak Your Mind