​© 2017 Dr Maria Fotiadou

Life Treasure Collector

MARIA'S BLOG

Things I learnt in Fiji about #Happiness

 

 

If you ask people what their ultimate goal in life is, they will tell you with confidence ‘To be happy”.  But when you ask them what exactly will bring them closer to happiness, they don’t always have a clear idea. 

 

Aristotle believed that our ultimate aim and purpose of our existence is Happiness.

There are hundreds of textbooks and research that try to explain the factors that shape our happiness. But if happiness is supposed to be our life's purpose and we are born with the desire and ability to become it and live it, why then most people need a lifetime to achieve it? 

 

People tend to forget about happiness and they get overwhelmed with stress, worries, fear, and all of sort of negative emotions. So, instead of being happy, we try to find ways to be less unhappy. 

 

 

HAPPINESS DEPENDS UPON OURSELVES

ARISTOTLE 

 

 

In reality, Happiness is much simpler than we want to believe. It sometimes comes from the big things in life but mostly and more certainly from the small everyday things that we often take for granted.

 

People tend to believe that other people have it better than them, they think about the future or past more than the present moment, they think that one day someone will come to save them from their current situation, and they wish for something magical to happen to transform their life into a fairytale. 

 

From my observation and years of research and from working with numerous people from all over the world, I came to the simple conclusion that the Happiest people on earth are those that appreciate every single thing that happens in their life. Happiness is not a specific thing or a person. 

Happiness is love, satisfaction and appreciation for everything we have in life. 

 

 

FIJI - MY VOROVORO EXPERIENCE 

 

A year ago I traveled to Vorovoro, a remote island in Fiji, together with other amazing people from Australia, USA and England. In Fiji, we lived a unique and incredible experience. We got involved with the Fijian customs and life, while working on our dreams to make the world a better place during the “This Is Your Life Change” project.  

We got to explore hidden aspects of ourselves, get connected to the nature and bond together in an incredible way. 

 

Each day we had to undertake different tasks and activities and push ourselves to the limits, to go beyond the things we used to be. From swimming for 3 hours in the Pacific Ocean to reach the shore, among sharks and sea snakes, to helping the locals sell their products at the open market of Labasa in the best way possible. 

 

We spent many nights with the chief, Tui Mali, and the rest of the tribe, drinking Kava and listening to their incredible stories about friendship, family, happiness, love, compassion and joy. Seeing them playing, enjoying life and helping each other in a selfless and generous way was precious. We learned that we don’t need to define happiness, we simply live it every day. 

 

People in Fiji showed us that what creates happiness is already in our hands, it is inside us and all around us. We just need to realize that Happiness is a choice we make everyday. Here are the most important things that I learned from them: 

 

 

1. It’s Fiji time! 

Fijians did everything with joy and managed to have all things done when needed, without clocks hanging on their walls. You will think that it is impossible to act free when your daily schedule is tight. 

Think about it again. This is your life. You are the leader. 

There is always time to stop and feel how wonderful it is to simply breath and enjoy life while it is happening. 

Stop, Breath, Smile, Appreciate. This is your life. 

Make room for what is important. In this way, even the most difficult task can become more meaningful and easy to complete. 

 

2. Love needs generosity 

When we were standing at the open market I asked locals to tell me their secret to their Happiness. 

They all gave me the same answer. 

They are happy because they love, care and stay close to each other. They care about others’ happiness the same way they care about their own. Love is there for them to express it. 

 

3. Laugh from your heart! 

All I remember from Fijians was a genuine smile on their face. For years, Psychological research has supported that laughter adds years and happiness to life. Fijians are the proof! 

They find joy and happiness in everything they do. They don’t need to search the meaning or the benefits of laughter. They simply smile and laugh because it makes life worth living. 

 

4. Support each other 

While I was helping a local lady at the market to sell her vegetables, one of the potential customers walked to the next stall. 

The lady came to me and told me ‘We feel like a family here. We are happy when others get customers. So don’t feel bad if he didn’t buy from us, we’ll get more people later.’ 

In western societies we need daily reminders for doing the obvious: To stay supportive and genuine. 

Positive Psychology reports have showed that the happiest nations have a sense of belongingness and support for each other. 

The Fijian culture promotes so well the idea that when one does well everyone benefits. 

 

5. Cook local healthy Food 

All the food we had in Fiji was local, fresh and tasty. Since the very early morning I remember the Fijians cooking, playing music, joking and singing. It wasn’t a duty but a process to be enjoyed & completed with love. I guess that was why the food was so delicious! 

 

6. Become one with Nature

When you visit Fiji you can’t help but become one with nature. 

We used to sleep in small wooden houses with no windows and doors, next to the shore. There was no electricity or water. We were one step from the cliff-topped jungle. We also had daily trips with the locals around the island to explore its hidden treasures. 

When you make time to spend in nature, you get a better sense of yourself and you can feel completely free. At the end, you will not only feel its beauty but you will become it.  

 

7. Choose a Positive attitude 

The people in Fiji started their day with positive energy, happy music and excitement. It didn’t matter if it was a cloudy day or a Monday. When you believe that life is full of possibilities, beauty and abundance, then you will realize that most of the problems in life are solvable. 

Positive attitude is a choice we make first thing in the morning.  

 

 

 

 

The trip to Fiji was a lifetime experience. Not only for the challenges we had to go through during our training, the amazing surroundings, the crew and the fun we were having, but because the people of Fiji made this experience unique and beautiful. 

 

For them every single person mattered. Every single moment of life was precious. 

 

In our pursuit of happiness, it is wise to learn from people and cultures like the Fijian about what happiness truly means. We can then find again the ways to master the art of life and strive towards happiness and prosperity in an effortless way. 

 

 

Thanks to all the amazing Fijian people of VoroVoro!  

 

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