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PERSONAL MASTERY - Happiness

Happiness is an emotion that seems to elude many people. For centuries, people have been trying to solve the problem of finding happiness. A common expectation and excuse for being happy is that “I’ll be happy when I make my first Ten Million”, or “I’ll be happy when I find my soul mate” or “I’ll be happy when the baby comes”. During our recovery years following our car crash of January 1998 that left us with an 80% brain disability, we found that it wasn’t the lack of happiness, but rather the lack of meaning, that made us unhappy. Happiness is to be experienced, not pursued.

So we set out to do an autopsy on the common reasons that led to unhappiness, with the intention of sustainably solving them. It didn’t make sense to us that with new technologies, people are now living to 100 instead of 60, where 100 is the new 60. Despite this, the global suicide rate has gone up, rather than reversed, over the last decade.

We found that there are four Pillars of Happiness. They are:-

As a child, we grew up in South Africa, which was racially polarized by apartheid. Apartheid was a governance system created by a minority, that sought to oppress, suppress and ostracize non-White people in South Africa. For example, non-White people were not allowed to marry White people, and if they did, the non-White person would end up in jail for transgressing the Immorality Act. Non-white people were not allowed to live in the same suburb as White people. Black people entered public areas through separate entrances from White people and had to sit on different benches in parks and other places from White people. This repugnant, abhorrent and malignant affliction was finally dismantled on 17 February 1990 marked by the release of Nelson Mandela from prison.

One day out of the blue, we received a call from a man called Peter. Peter is an Entrepreneur and game farmer who heard about The Isaac Lakhi® Mi2C Success Framework from one of his friends. He requested to see us urgently and asked if we could travel to his majestic farm, situated about two hours north of Johannesburg. We were extremely busy at the time, but he lured us by sending his private jet to pick us up. A few days later as we jettisoned onto his farm on his Gulfstream G550 twin-engine 10-seater aircraft, we got a spectacular aerial view of amazing animals such as Buffalos and Sable Antelope that he bred on his expansive 15000-hectare farm. As the conversation progressed and our friendship developed, Peter started becoming a bit emotional. He told us how of how he left Egypt when he was ten years old. His mother was a strong Orthodox Christian Greek, and his father was a confident yet introverted Muslim. Like him, both were naturally, white. This was during the sixties. To avoid the persecution that befell Egypt at that time, they decided to leave their beloved North African Nation and head to South Africa. They thought that as they were white, they would be happy and safe in South Africa.

Even though they had settled and lived in a White area, they were castigated and considered to be outcasts and lowlifes. This was because South Africa’s white people were predominantly of Dutch origin; they had their own language, and they had a distinctly different way of life. Peter and his family were Greek Egyptians, and there were no Greeks in that part of South Africa. For his thirteenth birthday, Peter’s mother threw a birthday party for her son. During the celebrations, the cops knocked on the door and arrested Peter’s parents.

The Apartheid government were afraid of revolt and mass uprisings, so to protect their idiotic regime, the law that they were arrested for breaking, provided that domestic meetings could not exceed twelve people, and as there were thirteen people to mark Peter’s thirteenth birthday, they had contravened that legal baloney contrived by a few mad racists in suits. That law even made provision that Peter’s parents could be held in prison for up to ninety days without a trial. Fortunately, they got off with a warning. So even White people were oppressed in Apartheid South Africa.

After the incident, Peter’s parents decided to move from the “Christian” part of town to the “Brown” part of town. The brown part of town was predominantly populated by Hindu, Tamil and Muslim people, whose roots traced back to India. In this part of town, Peter was considered too White. What were they to do ? In one part of town, they were not considered white enough. And in this part of town, they were too white. The experiences left Peter with scars. Up until that day, he could not muster the courage to tell anyone of his painful past. Of his lack of belonging. His yearning for identity. And even if he did share it with anyone, people would think that he was mad; really, a White man, growing up in White Apartheid South Africa, oppressed by White people? Think about this; people would have thought that he had lost his marbles ! These pains were exacerbated by the fact that he yearned to visit a Church and a Musjid (or a Mosque as it is incorrectly referred to by many).

He told us that when he was seventeen years old, he went to a Musjid.  Most worshippers were brown, and some of these fools were arrogant enough to believe that they held the monopoly to Islam. Seeing a white teenager enter their shrine was an abomination of their value system, so in an abhorrent and repugnant fashion, chased him away. For over three decades, Peter didn’t set foot in a Musjid and Church.

To help Peter get rid of the childhood scars that he carried well into his 50s, we put a robust plan of action into place for him. At times, we met at a Church. On other occasions, we met at Nizamiye Musjid, located between Johannesburg and the capital city, Pretoria. Nizamiye is a replica of Hagia Sophia, formerly a cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey. Nizamiye was built by the respected and loved Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Uncle Ali. Nizamiye, like Hagia Sophia, is an architectural masterpiece. With its awe-inspiring, heart-stirring and spine-tingling beauty, its visitors are captivated by the splendor of its imposing columns, magical facade, and beautiful interior. At Nizamiye, Peter would find peace, serenity, and tranquility while enveloped in the seclusion of its magnanimous surroundings. During the great Islamic holy month of Ramadan when deeds are multiplied between 10 and 700 by The CEO of the Universe, Peter would recuse himself in the walls of Nizamiye for the last ten days of the month observing Itikaaf, a magical journey that is an outstanding recipe for the reformatting and rejuvenation of the Mind, Heart and Soul, while simultaneously refreshing our connection to The CEO of the Universe. Because Dad was a Muslim and Mum a Christian, he yearned for both religious and consequent cultural identities. But this also confused him. When he tasted and drank from the wells of Christianity and Islam, he discovered his nuances, biases, and preferences, and found that his frequency resonated more in Islam. And through that, he found his identity. And peace.

Our dear friends, belonging is a powerful tool that is driven by values and underpinned by love Belonging gives a person identity, and identity gives a person love. Love is the glue of the mind. Where there is love, there is belonging, and where there is belonging there is meaning. And meaning leads to happiness.

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