Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Happiness and Choice

Some recent evidence suggests that people may be happier when they have fewer choices. Barry Schwartz ( in a recent TED Talk discusses the “paradox” of choice in the Western culture. While we tout our personal freedoms as a trait to be emulated in the world, it is something that, according to Schwartz, actually “paralyzes” us. We often end up regretting our choices and always looking for ways to maximize our happiness without ever being satisfied with the choices we do make. Additionally, he argues that often we are not well equipped to be making complex decisions at all. Dan Gilbert (, in his TED Talk, discusses a similar topic and presents research that supports his theories. In his talk, he states that, after one year, research shows that a paraplegic and a lottery winner are about the same level of happiness. He expounds on this point and concludes that human beings can be truly happy in extraordinary circumstances as an adaptive measure.

My parents often reminisce about their childhood and how they were happy with just one toy when they were kids and could not believe the overabundance of “stuff” that children have in modern day America. They also look at me incredulously when I ask them if they were “happy” with some of the conditions in which they grew up and respond: “We did not have a choice” implying, of course, that they were happy because they had no other option.

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11 2011

Two Doors to Paradise

Two Doors to Paradise: Your Mother and Father

I remember in high school one of my close teachers, whose father had passed away, would always say: “Your parents are your two speedy doors towards heaven. One of my doors has been closed and I only have one door left open. Be sure to serve them properly while they are alive.”

Every time I would hear him say that phrase, I would pause for a moment to think about how ungrateful I was. Two gates towards heaven so accessible at my service, I would think. Later on, I realized that his saying was taken from this hadith:

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his family) said:

“One, who follows the orders of Allah with regards to obeying parents, shall have two doors of Paradise opened up for him.  And if there happens to be only one parent, one door of Paradise shall open up for him.” [1]

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08 2010