My father once told me that ‘money cannot buy happiness,’ and I used to think, “easy for you to say – when you have a heck of a lot of it!” But then, after deeper discussion, he further explained how he believed happiness is in the journey to riches, not the result. It was the drive and discipline it took in seeking goals and rising to challenges, where he was at his happiest.
It’s the journey not the destination!
If you think of some celebrities, who despite their wealth and success, collapse into clinics for detoxing or having mental breakdowns, have you ever asked yourself this question? With the world at their feet and enough money to last a lifetime, what is wrong with them?
Well, it is probably the illusion that they believed for so many years; that when they reached their pinnacle, they would achieve ultimate happiness. Wealth and notoriety would bring the feeling of success and ‘completeness’. But this was just a mirage on the horizon, which never materialised, and they missed the happiness on the way. Their path towards their achievements was where they needed to find happiness, before making it big.
What is Success?
Paradoxically, I will admit that after achieving the many trips I worked for with Tropic, I did, of course, enjoy the actual trip. It was a fabulous experience with a group of amazing women. But people ask me why did I give the business up when it was still growing and highly successful? Why didn’t I continue up the success plan towards the top?
Well, it depends on what your view of success is. I achieved plenty of success during my six years with Tropic, and I wouldn’t say I was ‘unhappy’ at the end, but it just didn’t align with my values anymore. I had changed as a person after my injury, and my purpose slowly changed with it.
Happiness can evolve throughout our lifetime; what made us happy in our younger years can change as we get older. In recent times, I have discovered a new passion with writing which has taken me on a journey of learning and reading. I have always loved learning, so this brings me a lot of happiness, as does reading (which is key to learning how to improve your writing skills). I was no longer seeking the thrills of trips, and glamourous weekends away to meet Lord Sugar with Tropic!
I also discovered that rather than aiming for my own financial gain, my experience in 2019 made me want to give back; to help others. This was a eureka moment where I decided to donate a percentage of my book sales to ‘Back Up’ Charity, at the same time as becoming an advocate for mental health. It makes me happy to make others happy – it gives happiness a whole new meaning for me. Connecting with people is the best way of feeling fulfilled (in my opinion).
I often encourage people in the mental health group I support, to get out and help others. When we are stuck in the depths of emotional/psychological pain, it is amazing what a difference it can make when we step out and give support or help to others. It needn’t be by way of a big gesture, something small works just as well. Twist gaining happiness around; giving happiness to others in a positive way gives a sense of self-worth and purpose.
The thing that makes me happiest of all, is work/life balance, and creating peace in my life. My priority is seeking a lifestyle that encourages peacefulness, and gives time for the smaller things in life eg. my dogs, walking in nature, time to switch off.
It’s not exclusive!
I appreciate that some may say they don’t have this luxurious choice in life, but I believe we can all make things happen if we really want to. Mindset and making small changes are the first step, and a topic for a whole other blog!
When I was unhappy working as school secretary at Norwich School, I took on a part time business with Tropic. It gave me the escape route I needed and I took the bull by the horns and gave in my notice. No regrets there!
Remove toxic people
This is self-explanatory. Don’t get stuck in a cycle of people pleasing or entertaining people who criticise or put you down in some way. You will have the energy for life sucked out of you. Speak out, and say no! Remove people who not belong in your life. You have the right to happiness.
Take action today…
Now, I am not suggesting that everyone needs to change their job to find happiness. It’s more a case of learning to be happy in the one you already have, find small changes to make in your life, or big ones if need be. But be brave and make the changes. Life is too short to wait for tomorrow.
Happiness is always relative, and I don’t believe anybody can have it all. There are ups and downs in life and some difficulties that seem insurmountable. But the world around you manifests from the inner world you that you create. Think of your life as a play on a stage, you can change the costumes everyone is wearing and even kick them off the stage if needs be.
For me, the ecstatic rollercoaster-type happiness is something we have glimpses of, and is not sustainable daily. Happiness is a feeling of joy and peacefulness that I have experienced and am still striving to maintain. It is far more realistic to achieve this type of happiness consistently. It is ‘joy’ as opposed to ‘happiness’.
There will always be life’s problems knocking on the door, trying to disturb your peace. The trick is to bounce right back and don’t let the bad pebble ripple your waters! Keep returning to your ‘happy place’.
If you want to strive for happiness in your life, then something needs to change. Only you can make this happen and the only way is to make change. Eckhart Tolle (whom I have a great affinity for), says: