I was chatting with a friend of mine, Rob, this morning who said that year after year since 2001 he has earned less and less money but had learned more and more each year and had become wiser and wiser. Apart from his lack of increased wealth, he said was happier.
In contrast a friend of Rob’s had just sold his business for several hundred million Rand and was ‘stressed to core about what to do with it all and was worrying about losing it all.’
It’s nice to think that when we make more money, find lasting love or achieve high levels of health and fitness, that life will somehow all ‘click into place.’ But I don’t think life works like that. If it did, all the rich people would be really happy and the poor people would be miserable. Most of the time is seems the other way round.
That said, I remember Rob quoting this all those years ago:”Whilst money cannot buy happiness, the benefits of poverty have been greatly exaggerated.”
I reflected on our conversation and let the following ‘bubble forth’ into my mind, which I have called the Four Principles to Living a Happy Life:
- Get the basics in place. We need to have the basics covered, like sufficient income to live on and save a bit. Not having this causes stress.
- Our greatest resource is our being. Being happy, grateful, joyful. Being here. Now. If we are not this, the circumstances will change but the feeling won’t and we’ll end up chasing our tails. No amount of, “when I get that, then I will be that,” is going to make a difference. How long did the feeling of gratitude and joy last when you got that new job, that new relationship, that financial windfall?
- What we put our attention on grows. What we think about, we get more of. As you sew, so shall you reap. We become what we think about. Sound familiar?
- Happiness is not some out-there ideal. It’s here, now and it doesn’t get any better than this moment, unless you choose to make it something else!
About Simon Ekin – Teacher of Courage
I’m an expert on public speaking. I help leaders in corporations and entrepreneurs in small and medium sized businesses, to deliver knock-out talks and presentations that leave a lasting impact, through interesting, innovative and intriguing programmes.