Went to a workshop yesterday that I was reluctant to attend as it was about HAPPINESS. 
After 10 minutes I still doubted myself whether or not this was wasting my time.
Being Chinese, we rarely talk about happiness or love – just like the way we don’t ever mention sex, either. Is that because 1.3 billion people simply take it for granted, one may ask? 
But, of course it is not – it is because we are all well trained in our behaviour by our families and society. 
Since childhood, I have been told that if you stand out from a crowd and you will be crushed one day. 
A good child must always listen to their parents and, particularly, grandparents.
When I started school, I was told how to become a good pupil and especially never to irritate your teacher by asking too many questions! 
Finding a job is just the first step of success and I needed to be smart to ensure that I secured a proper long term career which meant holding back feelings and trying always to please your colleagues and bosses by smiling and nodding your head. 
And when you get married one day, your child and husband will naturally come on the top of your priority list. 
Now you can tell that ‘being yourself’ and ‘being happy’ has never been the priority of Chinese life. 
Before yesterday, I held a very dogmatic view about happiness: I thought that talking about happiness was a bit naïve and weak because as long as I worked hard at what I love (being a designer) then happiness would automatically follow. 
Now, I am huffing and puffing at myself for being so naïve…
It has suddenly occurred to me that over the last 30 years I have blocked myself from being really genuinely happy. Luckily, this workshop has helped me to unplug that blockage!  
So make a choice to be happy, then you will be more positive, flexible and imaginative which will lead you to form better 
relationship with people around you. 
I know you don’t have to be popular to be successful but being happier will tend to make your existence a greater success. 
Regarding holding back the feelings, I can tell you from my personal and professional experience, that the Japanese are the worst which may explain why they have such a high suicide rate. 
They tend to have a very narrow and severe view of living – which also results in their entrenched workaholic-ism.
So, at the very least, be very happy that you are neither Japanese nor Chinese!
Note: happiness is elusive and there is a huge variety of individual perspectives; don’t try to impose a universal prescription to your own happiness. Get the concept right, and the benefits will follow.

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