The pursuit of happiness

Growing up I've been taught by society to believe that work should fulfill me and that the pursuit of happiness is a good goal.  I should strive to create an environment or life that makes me feel fulfilled and happy.  This seems to be the mantra of so many self-help books, magazines, gurus, and TV shows.  But is it the right pursuit?  Is it a lofty goal to aspire to?  Is it the direction I should aim?

Visiting India last week reminded me once again to challenge these assumptions.  You see there are people in the world who don't have a choice about what they get up every day and do.  They will do anything to put food on the table and provide shelter for their families.  And yet they don't seem to go through the day miserable.  It's not the first time I've encountered this by any means, but it is something I'm starting to give a lot more thought to.  Sure it's great to do something you love.  Yes it's fantastic to be fulfilled in what you do every day.  But doing something you love and that fulfills you can be full of challenges.  It can make you sad.  It can depress you.  It can make your life very difficult.  I wonder - shouldn't the question be - can I find fulfillment in what I'm doing right now?  Can I find happiness in this moment?  Isn't the simplicity of life itself enough to wonder at?

PS - This is one of my favourite photos in India.  I passed this street stall selling chandeliers every day on the way to work.  I'm not sure it was the sellers dream job, or even where these chandeliers came from, but he always had a smile on his face.  It certainly put a smile on my face seeing it every day.