My wife got pregnant of twins in 2016.
All of a sudden It became as a very risky pregnancy with all kinds of complications someone can imagine. One of these complications was called "intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR)" which meant her placenta was not working properly and my babies were not getting enough nutrients for their development. They were not growing as expected. Isabella and George were borne in 32nd week of pregnancy within the 1% smallest babies on earth. She was borne with 2.3kg. He was borne with 1.2kg. Hopes that they would be perfectly healthy were not too high.
As a religious person, I turned to god. I asked god for my kids to be healthy. George and Isabella spent one month in the intensive care unit (ICU). Isabella's heart stopped many times over that month. After a month, the miracle we were expecting was apparently coming true. After all we have gone through, they seemed to be developing like perfectly healthy babies.
Until the day we were leaving the hospital.
George failed the routine hearing test on the day he left the hospital. The doctor asked us to check with an otolaryngologist. Four weeks later we went to the doctor and news were not good. Either George had a malformation of hearing channel (which apparently could potentially be fixed after adolescence (!)) or he didn't develop the neurological connections that would allow him to hear. My son was diagnosed deaf.
So, I want home and asked god again: If my son is deaf, what else can I wish that a perfectly heathy son? The immediate thing that came to mind was "happiness". But can people with disabilities be happy? I asked myself.
So, I went on a search and to my surprise what I found was astonishing. Research was showing that people with hearing disabilities had levels of happiness comparable to people without disabilities and even higher. Unhappiness was a life choice, not a fate. There I had my answer. The only thing that I can wish for my children is for them to be happy. This answer was not new.
“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” (Aristotle)
In todays world we see an epidemic of social isolation, anxiety, depression, rise in teenage suicide rates (specially among girls) and so on... So, why would anyone wish someone they love anything else other than happiness? Why wish your kids have money, why wish they go to a good school, why wish your kids are straight or good athletes? why wish they become a lawyer, or a doctor? Why even wish your kids are healthy if a huge amount of healthy people live unhappy lives?
The best you can do for your children or for someone you love is to wish they live a happy and fulfilling life. All the other things are means for the achievement for that objective. Health, relationships, work, status, money, power, pleasure these are all means humans seek to find happiness and a fulfilling life. Some are good means, some are not.
That's how my journey studying the science of happiness started. I have been finding more than 4,500 years of studies, learnings and knowledge from philosophers, psychologists and thinkers.
My intention here is to make science of happiness and the human potential more desirable, more accessible and more applicable so that we can all live happier and more fulfilling lives. The good news? We can be happy and science can tell us how.
God answered my prayers after all. Four weeks after the diagnosis, a miracle happended. George started hearing normally. He and Isabella are very happy and healthy kids.
Hope you enjoy this journey.
If you could wish one thing for the person you love the most in life, what would that be?