When Sydney Harris said, “Happiness is a direction”, he was directing bibliophiles to Israel Shilongo’s ‘A journey with happiness’ book. Life is a journey, and we seek to voyage through it with an approach to happiness and fulfillment – to either find or maintain it. The non-fiction addresses the concept of happiness, a term that is often vaguely and broadly defined, making it an infinite subject.
Shilongo defines happiness as a feeling of excitement; contentment – not necessarily from material things, saying it is an aspect of life that voyagers of life must constantly renew “so that we are equipped with the right emotional tools to avoid emotional breakdowns”.
Coming from the electrical engineering background, the novice writer compared happiness to energy: “you can’t store energy; it can only be converted to other useful forms.” Happiness is therefore not something with which we must settle. The target audience of the book is initially readers between 18-30 years of age, a stage where most people are still finding themselves and battling many life obstacles such as unemployment. But generally, the book targets anyone who wants to find their role/place in the world because – according to Shilongo, life is about finding one’s role in the world and creating the deserved happiness or path into fulfillment.
Shilongo is a degree holder of Electrical Engineering with a postgraduate qualification in Business Administration. He is also an entrepreneur and a chess head coach, comparing life to a chessboard and “it’s up to us to manoeuvre through life – choose a role in life as chess players do: be a king, pawn or queen. The game only ends when the king is checkmated – make the most out of situations you are faced with in life”.
The book is a perfect one for readers to keep on their side of the bed and read a page or ten to fuel oneself up with motivation in the morning, or at night during introspection. The quotes about life and aspects of emotional intelligence makes the piece of non-fiction a good source of mantras for readers who want to release negative emotions and increase self-awareness. Shilongo says he plans to continue contributing to Namibian literature to solve societal problems – not necessarily restricting himself to any genre because “entrepreneurs don’t limit themselves”. His inspiration comes from self-development author, Richard Templar.
‘A journey with happiness’ will be launched on 2 December at Xwama restaurant; there will be book sales, and the audience will enjoy performances by Ann Singer.