“I work with successful and determined people who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives to help them find happiness and purpose.”
After which, he gave me a smile and said that that he could do with someone like me, as he could do with some happiness. We exchanged business cards and left the matter there.
Did this exchange surprise me? No, not really. I was more surprised at myself for being so presumptuous (never a good trait in a coach). But what it did show me, once again, was that though he may be ‘successful’ in the eyes of most including himself, that success does not necessarily equate to happiness. There is a need to discover your purpose in life to live a life of fulfilment, but for many, it’s just about finding happiness. I do believe that long-term happiness can only come from following your purpose, but that does not mean whilst you are still on that path of self-discovery that you should not be happy.
“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” — Ashley Montagu
Happiness is subjective and varies from people to people. Below I’ve highlighted what I believe are just some simples things you can do to ensure that you have moments filled with happiness:
1. Gratitude - be thankful for things that you have rather than being upset about the things that you don’t have. Simple things; like a sunny day, like a meal to eat, a roof over your head, a pet or someone to go home to every night. For me, just the thought of making someone happy enough brings me joy.
2. Music - songs have been shown to uplift moods. So instead of just listening to songs, belt out your favourite track, and you will no doubt feel happier. With me, listening to the Chicken Kuk-Doo-Koo song brings an immense smile to my face and makes me happy.
3. Laughter - be around people that are happy and full of cheer. Laughter is infectious, well so is happiness. Find moments in the day to ‘have a laugh’ with colleagues at work, or reminisce over funny times with friends or family.
4. Food - I mention food here, as certain types of food have been chemically shown to alter moods for the better. But what better way is there to be happy where food is involved, than to cook a meal, especially with friends or family. In fact, being around family and friends also has its own happiness.
5. Play - playing sports or video games can bring about happiness, but what I’m talking about here is the kind of play you may have done as a child. Kicking through a pile of autumn leaves, painting & drawing, time on your bike or even just play-wrestling. There’s an immense pleasure in becoming a kid again.
6. Holiday - it’s great getting away from the daily grind to be on a sunny beach, or exploring new cities, etc. But why not just take a moment to meditate and focus on the process of ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. So use mindfulness to take a break (holiday) from you constantly ‘doing’ something.
At the start, I mentioned that I’d met a successful-looking gentleman, but by his own admission may not have been entirely happy. These tips I’m sure could have helped him, but life always has its ups and downs and it’s about recognising the moments that you need to try to find a way to be happy. In one of my favourite movies, Forrest Gump, there’s a famous line; My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Life is a mystery, you never know what will come next, but you can definitely try to make sure that your life is a happy one.