Once upon a time, a professor invited all his old students to a program. He was retiring from his 35 years of serving them. So he thought, why not meet all my bright students once before I get down from the chair of professorship.
And he was more interested in knowing what was going on in their lives. This college where the professor taught was one of the ivy colleges in the whole of the nation. So, almost all his students were well settled now and they owned lavish lives. But there was something that he still wanted to check with them.
He sent them the communication and asked them to come and meet him on the last day of his college. Many received the invitation. But not every one could make it to the venue. However, there was a formidable presence on the day of his retirement.
All his students were very happy to meet their professor. They were saying thanks to him for all the hard work that he had put through the years to shape their future. And so every one seemed to be sharing their material achievements.
Some said that they were now the CEOs of BIG companies, some had started their own companies. Some had even sold their companies and bought their retirement at an early stage in their lives. They were all doing great in their lives and were very happy to share all that with the professor.
After they had their warm greetings, the talks then shifted to something more interesting. This was not about what they learned at the college but what did they learn in their life after college. The professor asked them about their social and personal lives now.
The question seemed to have created dullness in the hall. They slowed down in their responses. There was now not that much loud noise and cheers that could be heard. In fact, they started to speak in their hushed tones.
The professor sensed the problem. So, he asked, “Are you guys happy in your life now?”
The students tried their best to answer the question. But they gave the answers in ‘buts’.
They had everything that they wished to have …house, car, bank balance, family etc. But they were still feeling the vacuum inside. However, they did not know what was missing in their lives. So, they said, probably they are missing that HAPPINESS and fulfillment.
The professor decided to give them the last lecture. So, he invited them all to the classroom one last time. They happily obliged.
The professor got some nice beautiful Mugs and some not so beautiful MUGS and placed them all on his table. The students were curious to find out what was inside these MUGS. The professor was known for his life lasting and impactful ways of teaching. So, they knew that a big lesson was on their way. But they could not understand why the MUGS were there.
The professor made an announcement.
“Come to my desk and pick a MUG for yourself”.
The students came to his desk to pick up a MUG for themselves. Those who came early on decided to pick up their MUG based on the shape and size of the MUG. They fell for the physical appearance of the MUGS. And these beautiful looking MUGS were first to get over. Then, there were not so beautiful MUGS left. Those who came later felt not so happy picking them up.
The MUGS from his desk now got over. And it was his turn, the turn of the professor to give his lecture.
The professor started to speak. He said, ” You all found for yourself a beautiful MUG. Great! I am sorry for those who were unable to find such beautiful MUGS. But here is something that I wanted to explain to you. I had placed coffee in some of the MUGS. And I expected that you will look into the MUG before you picked up yours.”
“But you were awed by the beauty of the MUGs and that’s what became the criteria of your selecting your MUG. Most of those beautiful MUGs were empty my friends!”
“And this is exactly what we do in our lives. We are attracted by the material things and we choose our careers, connect with people and move in societies that we expect to bring us money and fame. And we mistake money and fame as ways to find our happiness. But our happiness does not depend on our material possessions just like coffee in a mug. Even a dull looking MUG could be carrying the best tasting coffee.”
“We need not be bothered by the material possessions. We must focus on on the content inside. If we fail to do that, we will stay empty inside. And Happiness will remain elusive”.
Our health loses our focus and we often complain that we don’t have time. Many of us deviate from track and lose our focus. I hope this story will help you remember your priorities for happiness.