Posts Tagged ‘Positive attiude’

Desperately seeking happiness!

May 16, 2011

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”
– C. P. Snow (1905 – 1980)

I’m fascinated by the idea of happiness. I have been since I read that the south Pacific island of Vanuatu as the happiest nation on the planet and the UK is ranked 108th by the Happy Planet Index. The UK Government is now even trying to get us happier!

My question is: what is happiness and how do you make it..? There are many recommended books out there on analysing and finding happiness, including:

  1. The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by 14th Dalai Lama
  2. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
  3. And Stumbling on Happiness

However, I’ve not read any of them because I don’t think the answer is in a book. It is in us and our relationships..

Of course pondering on happiness is nothing new. Philosophers have been thinking about it for centuries! Aristotle, 384 BC – 322 BC,  said “Happiness depends upon ourselves” and  Thucydides, 471 BC – 400 BC, “The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage”.

Money Love

It seems more and more money does not make you happy. I remember my mother wisely saying “Money does not make you happy, but it does help”. And I think she was right to an extent. A survey of 1,000 Americans found that “happiness rose in line with salary, but only until people earned $75,000 a year, the equivalent of around £50,000″.

So perhaps Benjamin Franklin is correct, when he said in the 17th century, “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way…” 


True Love

As a company founder I love to think this as the answer: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945), which comes from the courage and freedom to make your own company. However I think and feel it’s a little more than that. Afterall, Franklin’s wife Eleanor Roosevelt did say, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

I believe Aristotle when he said almost two and a half thousand years ago, “Happiness depends upon ourselves” and Bronnie Ware quotes today in her wonderful REGRETS OF THE DYING  post, “I think I wish that I had let myself be happier:

5. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness”.

I think the answer to being happy lies in Bronnie’s first four points:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. – Fulfill your dreams while you can!
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. – Simplifying your lifestyle and work to spend time with children and partner.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. – Become who you are truly capable of.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. – Give time to and enjoy your golden friendships.
  5. I think I wish that I had let myself be happier. – You can, so start now!

“It all comes down to love and relationships in the end”. – Bronnie Ware

P.S. Thank you to @tewy ( via @trepca @paulg) for sharing Bronnie’s post many months ago through Twitter :) And to Bronnie for her post!

So-long Cancer Dude

September 4, 2009

It saddens me to bring the news that Jeffrey Walker aka Cancer Dude has lost his final battle against cancer. Jeffrey was my blogging inspiration and mentor. His RadioWalker blog images, humor and personal approach has greatly inspired my blog writing. In many ways he was my blogging Godfather.

Jeffrey Walker
Jeffrey jamming

Simon, my co-founder, and I met Jeffrey in June 2008 at The Enterprise 2.0 conference in Boston, USA. Even before then Jeffrey commented on my blog. Jeffrey warmly welcomed Simon and I to the Enterprise 2.0 community. In January 2009 when I started to loose the blogging faith and reflected on my first years blogging Jeffrey responded. He said “Be yourself. Let your personality through. Oh, and keep the images. And keep the faith, dude.”

Earlier this year when I heard Jeffrey’s cancer was back for the third time I wrote one of my favorite posts on fear, uncertainty and doubt. Within this post I refer to Jeffrey’s latest battle against cancer. Again, Jeffrey commented so nicely saying “Thanks for the kind thoughts. I really appreciate it. I am doing well.”

I did not know Jeffrey particularly well, however I consider him a friend. I found him a very kind, fun loving and passionate man. Jeffrey had a thirst for life and living. When I interviewed Jeffrey last year I saw a man who enjoyed every little experience and everything he saw. Life is so short. Jeffrey’s death is a reminder to us all on how brief our lives are and how we can live our lives. We can choose to live like Jeffrey with “zest and  passion” as his family said.

Jeffrey’s last words to me were “Live Strong”. It seems to me that Jeffrey burned so very brightly and its always better to burn brightly than fade away.

So-long Cancer Dude!!

The Lucky Entrepreneur: How to make your own luck

February 24, 2009

Last week I gave a half day briefing to 30 Entrepreneurship MBA students on identifying entrepreneurial opportunities (see my Slideshare presentation and blog post). Feedback on my presentation was positive and two of the students even put comments on this blog. One of them referred to the need for ‘Lady luck’. Since then I’ve been thinking about the meaning of being lucky and how one becomes lucky.

luckyleprecon1

The Lucky Irish Leprecon & his pot of Gold

Until now I’ve not thought much about luck in life.  I have had a lucky life so far but things can always change. I now need all the luck I can get with a new a startup (50% of startups fail within 5 years) and we are now in a deep recession (depression..!).

What is luck? When asked about the secret of their successes I’ve heard of founder’s or senior managers saying they were lucky. However some people seem to have all the bad luck with many things in life going against them. What’s the difference between these two types of people:

  1. Hard work? A focused and committed effort on achieving a goal reduces the risk of failure and increases the likelihood of success
  2. Random chance? I don’t believe in chance – There is no such thing as chance; and what seem to us merest accident springs from the deepest source of destiny.Johann Friedrich Von Schi
  3. Being in the right time in the right place? Fait, coincidence or destiny you may call it. If you are determined and locate yourself often enough in the right place where thing can happen, they eventually will.
  4. Seeing the positive and making the most of the negative? Those people with the streaks of bad luck in life seem to struggle to find the difficult times, which we all encounter, as ultimately beneficial. It seems unlucky people often wallow in self pity and reflect on the past. Whereas positive (lucky) people see a brighter future.
  5. Being modest about your own achievements and efforts? This is an interesting one.. Lucky people seem often to be modest about their success. They attract other lucky (positive) people around them which results in more luck (success)! But its not luck, it’s a deep understanding of other people . Lucky people don’t seem to have bloated ego’s. Their interested  in others and not in being self obsessed.

At my talk I referred to the need to reduce risk in business. However risk and taking chances can’t be eliminated altogether. You can become paralyzed if  you don’t go for it at some point. ‘Screw it, lets do it’ as Richard Branson likes to say. Luck is about reaching a positive outcome. It’s based upon probability and probability is the assessment of a measured risks. Louis Pasteur said “Chance favours the prepared mind.” and Ernest Hemingway, “You make your own luck”.

I believe there is much truth in these two statements and becoming a lucky person is combination of the five points listed above. Richard Wiseman, head of a University psychology research department, studied lucky people for 8 years and found very similar attitudes in lucky people. I hope luck shines on us all and shines brightly when we really need it, including my little startup :)


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