I was born with happiness. My parents opened an arcade game room when I was 2 years old, so I had passed my childhood in different exciting digital worlds which most children expected to have. I had happiness in my every gene. I lived in China before 20 years old. Because of the Chinese education system, many children were just treated as robots and they were not happy at all. However, I was always smiling and enjoying every day at school.
I was coming in France with happiness. I appreciated new friends from different countries, beautiful landscape everywhere, and that I lived at last without my parents’ monitoring. Even though I couldn’t speak French every well, I tried my best to learn it and I was admitted in a university after 5 months in France. I got a job in a Chinese restaurant, and I had to wash more than 600 dishes every day. The life seemed hard at that time, but I had never complained. After I graduated, I worked as an IT consultant in a big company. Since then, everything has been changed. I didn’t feel happy, I complained every day, and I was depressed. Just like a zombie, I walked out of my house, went into the metro, arrived in the office, checked emails, went out of the office, went back into the metro, and walked back into my house, day by day, year by year. I asked myself: Where is my happiness?
I blamed France. Because of the country, I became depressed. I blamed the job. Because of the computer programming, I complained every day. I blamed where I live. Because of the long distance between my home and the office, I was unhappy. I told my wife, the only solution that could make me happy was to leave the country and to go back to China, because I had left my happiness there. I applied for the MBA, and I hoped the MBA could help me change country and career so that I could find back my happiness.
At HEC, I met a girl from Norway. She told me that everybody in Norway was happy. In summer, they do sports: mountain-climbing, sailing and cycling. In winter, they do sports: ski, swimming, cross-country. They get a high income, so that they can travel around the world happily. People there have very high ethics, so everyone helps each other sincerely. I changed my mind. I told my wife that we should go to Norway. Living in one of the happiest countries, I could get my happiness very easily.
At HEC, I met a man from the US. He told me that computer programming engineers are admired and paid a lot in the US. Most high technology companies have free lunch and a lot of fun in offices. The weather is great in Los Angeles, and people are extremely kind there. Everyone has his or her American dream, and everyone there is happy. I changed my mind. I told my wife that we should go to the US. I might have my own American dream or dreams, and I might realize them in the future. I wanted to continue to work in IT, and I would be admired and well paid, so that I could find my happiness very easily.
One day, still at HEC, the professor of positive psychology told us that only 10% of our moods are from our life circumstances, not more, 50% are caused by our genetic makeup, and 40% are from what you think and what you do to the mix. I was astonished. I tried hard to escape from France to find my happiness, but the professor just told me that it wouldn’t help a lot. Only 10% are from my life circumstances! I was disappointed. I asked myself several times at class: Where can I find my happiness?
However, the professor is right. France hasn’t changed a lot, but my reaction has changed since five years ago. When I was a student in France, I went to parties every Friday night, I tried different activities organized by the university, and I talked with different people who had different background. When I began working, I went out with my colleagues only once a year for the annual party, I rarely played with them, for they had to go back home early and stayed with their family on week-ends, and I stayed with them every day in the office, from day to night. But I could have learned positive psychology earlier, so that I could have changed my mind and reaction earlier.
I should have known earlier that the environment is not important. When my daughter went to the kindergarten first day, the mistress called me one hour later to get her out of the kindergarten, because my daughter cried for one hour. She felt unhappy when her environment changed. However, 15 days later, she didn’t want to go back home when the class finished, because she felt the kindergarten was a heaven for children. She played with friends, even though she couldn’t speak French at all. The kindergarten hasn’t changed, but it was only my daughter who had changed her mind.
Now I know the answer, and it’s so easy: It’s only me who can find my happiness, and everywhere, so I have to enjoy every minute that I am in France. I have to be smiley to everybody, even though it seems bizarre in Paris. I will read interesting books and listen beautiful songs on subway. I will try to invite my colleagues to go out to restaurants at noon. I will make data reports funnier so that the happiness will be spread to everybody in the office. I will tell myself every day, today is the first day that I arrive in France. I will tell myself every day, don’t think about leaving France to other countries. When I’m happy, France is happy.