It is said that, to adequately express one’s feelings or opinion for any given subject, one must posses an elaborate vocabulary and what do you know. With anywhere between close to 450,000 and even up to a staggering 980,000 words, the English language has one of the richest, if not the vocabulary of all languages.
All those words, however meaningful or meaningless, hurting or caring, sweet or sour, apparently do not make for good company: Recent studies conducted across many Western Nations, including both English speakers and natives of other tongues, came to the conclusion that, based on the input the researchers received, people with a native background in English are less happy than people that were raised to speak another language.
Funnily enough, most of these studies showed that French native speakers always came out as one of the happiest groups and one might wonder how that can be, after all, French is said to contain a mere 100,000 words.
It would seem that the more basic a language gets, the happier its speakers become and this is certainly true for those people that truly embrace a language called Toki Pona. With only some 118 words at your disposal, many things simply stop mattering.
Toki Pona however, is not the only language that can have a soothing and calming effect on one’s psyche. There are a great many artificial languages out there that were made to let you talk, listen and live in a more simplistic way and in fact, many parts of concept of Taoism are built around these very beliefs.
In today’s world, many people, particularly those living in Western nations believe that (inner) bliss can only be achieved by having the latest gadgets, an expensive car, going on numerous butt-kicking vacations (with or without your family) and we can’t really forget jewelry, lots of it oh - and expensive clothes, shoes, maybe throw in a few plastic / corrective surgeries for good measure?
Do not get me wrong; I do not dislike stylish clothes or shoes and out-of-the-ordinary vacations or expensive gadgets, in fact, many people can at least attest to the last one, but still, at the end of the day, those things are not what make me really happy, they are means to an end; simply getting there … a place called bliss.
Everyone’s definition of that place is probably different and one person might find it harder to get there than others, but do not let yourself be put off by some problems along the road - because when you are running out of game, nothing is more satisfying than being able to look back on a satisfying life.
In fact, many current printed publications, especially the ones aimed at women looking for “an easy way to tune out and relax with some trivial stories about stars no one really cares about anymore” talk about the power of positive thinking and while the larger part of them eschews the actual essence of that theory, they are at least managing to get people excited about the concept.
In the end, it all comes down to your mindset, success can not only be bred and inherited, but also be thought up. It is as simple as believing in yourself. It does wonders for your self esteem and that can, and actually does, make all the difference.
People with a high confidence rating are more likely to go out and do something crazy and ever so often, one of those crazy things pays off. After all, those that try, succeed, eventually. Yes, some manage to hit it big sooner rather than later, but in the end, success is inevitable.
Luck does not only favor the prepared, but also the bold - go out and rid yourself of the chains that are mass-consumption and you will be rewarded.
But I digress, back to Toki Pona, I realize that the language is, not at all, suitable for widespread, business use, but it is certainly very well suited for recreational and spiritual use and may offer you guidance in a way you thought impossible before.
The next time you feel sad or spent, pause for a minute and think about the situation you are in. Is it really as bad as you are imagining it or are you panicking and blowing things out of proportion? Bad things happen all the time, it is the way you deal with it that defines who and what you are.
Well, the only thing that is left to say now is: mi wile sina jo pona tenpo.
This article was first posted on NachoTalk in September 2007 and has been republished here for posterity’s sake