Today I thought I would share some thoughts on Happiness. If you have heard me speak from stage you will know I am from Yorkshire where we drop our “H” and so it can sound like I am saying ‘a penis’ and of course that could sound like a completely different subject! Anyway, as you are reading and not listening that’s just a little bit of extra info about me and the way I talk. So let’s get back to Happiness…
There has been much said by many people on the subject of happiness – here are some of my favourite quotes, and maybe these will resonate with you too:
2000 years ago some chap called Aristotle (who was quite clever it turns out) said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim, and end of human existence”. Well, I think old Aristotle had something there. Many people wait for something big to happen before they will feel happy. For you, it might be a promotion, your wedding day, the day you plan to retire or maybe winning the lottery. Now I’m sure you would agree those things don’t happen very often and so, if that’s what you are waiting for, you’re possibly going to be miserable for a heck of a lot of your life.
Another clever bloke – who didn’t live quite so long ago – Dale Carnegie – said “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about”. Think about that for a moment. Yes, I know pun intended J
It’s true though, isn’t it? There are some very rich people – who you and I might think have everything and therefore they should be happy – but they are not. And equally, there are people with nothing materialistic at all, who are very happy.
WHY? Well I believe it’s because “Happiness is a Choice”
Something backed up by Abraham Lincoln who said: “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be”. Well said, Abe! To be fair he had a horrible life in his earlier years and so he was proof that it is, really, all about mind over matter.
So Why Not Just Change How You Think, So You Can Live Life Happy?
Well here’s the thing – it is that simple, however, it is not easy to implement.
A very clever spiritual leader – who was also an Indian Jesuit Priest – Anthony de Mello, said: “There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them”.
And that is so true, isn’t it? Things that you learn as a child that are inherent in your subconscious – that you never question – THOSE are things that cause unhappiness and that are so hard to get rid of.
Have you ever heard someone quote the Bible as saying “Money is the root of all evil”? Perhaps you heard that as a child? If you were brought up in a family that attended church you may have heard it. And maybe it created a picture of ‘flashy rich gits’, or perhaps you feel that all business owners are gangmasters or out to rip off their employees. No – I know that’s not you – but I bet you know someone who it applies to.
Well, they are WRONG. WHY? because the quote is actually “The LOVE of money is the route of all evil”. Money itself is neutral. It will go to where it is directed. It will go to the person who believes they deserve it. It will NOT go to the person who thinks money is the route of all evil. When you get rid of your negative associations with money and lack, you might just find you have more money! Anyway – I digress. Back to happiness. (Money, by the way, won’t buy you happiness, but it certainly buys you choices!).
Herman Hess, a Swiss poet, novelist, and painter said “Happiness is a how not a what. It’s a talent, not an object”. So how do we make happiness a how? How do you feel happy when shit is happening around and to you? Well, Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, who is 90 and lives in France says, “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile is the source of your joy”
I love that – and it is so true. Most people wait for something good to happen to make them feel good and smile, and then they are happy. Well, you can start that cycle anywhere. If you smile first, you can change how you feel about something and choose to be happy.
And remember what The Buddha said “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. “ Got to love that man! It reminds me of another quote – “The love in your heart wasn’t put there to stay, love isn’t love till you give it away” and what do these 2 quotes have in common? That’s right …sharing. When you share a smile it’s usually returned – try it and see how many people smile back at you when you smile at them. (Caveat- it’s got to be a natural smile, not a psycho smile!)
Finally – let’s end with a couple of quotes that always make me smile.
Firstly, that great philosopher – Winne the Pooh who said, “Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon”. Yes, I know – a balloon might not do it for you, but I like to think what he was actually saying here is that some things just make you happy – you can’t help it. Such as the laugh of a child, a beautiful sunset, the waggy tail of your dog, listening to the birds singing, your favourite dinner with your favourite people. So, if you feel like you need something to help with your happiness – go somewhere that makes you smile.
And lastly – the fabulous Oscar Wilde who said: “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they are gone” (ok so I adapted it a bit)
Either way, make sure you are always the former and never the latter!
Me and my good friend Marion Bevington created The Find Your WHY Foundation to help others with “The A.I.M for Happiness Programme” And if you would like to find out more about this please click here to organise to have a chat because “You don’t have to figure it out on your own and you don’t have to do it alone”
I’d love to connect with you to help you To Find Your WHY! To become (even more) Frickin’ Awesome! And remember to live, love and laugh every day and continue to be you in your own unique way!