2020 4 Dimensional Wellness Happiness Happy People Don't Do Live Happy Inspiration

The Approval Trap

How to stop caring what other people think

Delightful client I’ll call “Evie”. A gentle sweet soul, making her way through life in a quiet and unassuming way. It turns out Evie is NOT doing a whole heap of things that would make her happy. Joining a choir. Making her own clothes. Taking a trip to Asia. Going for a promotion.

Why? Because she is so, so, very afraid that each choice will not meet with universal approval. What if she misses a note and people laugh? What if people don’t like that quirkily fashioned skirt? What if no one from the tour wants to talk to her in the temples of Thailand? What if she can’t do the new job perfectly and everyone knows it and thinks she shouldn’t have got it?

It paralyses her. And so. And so. She does none of these things.

And life stays small. Her fear of not receiving approval stops her from creating opportunities to make her own heart sing.

She has handed all her power away.

She is not alone.

Before you judge Evie take a look inside. There are way more of us who are closet approval seekers than you might think. The rise of social media and the selfie have fueled a culture of approval seeking. Ever had a little lift in mood as you got more “likes” than you anticipated; ever wondered what was wrong with that status update that it got so few (doesn’t anyone care?)?  Approval seeking comes in many forms, and when we base a piece of our self-worth on it we are in trouble. It means we have handed the power of how we feel about our own self directly into the hands of others. That we are dependent on receiving a certain response from outside ourselves in order to feel good on the inside. That, my friend, is a very dangerous way to live.

Look – we all want to be liked. OF COURSE, WE DO! It’s nice when people say nice things, compliment us, agree with us, support us. It feels awesome.

But it should never take the place of us being our own cheerleader.

The approval of others can add to and enhance our own validation of our choices, but it should never replace it.

The more your choice resonates for you at a deep level, that you approve of it heart and soul you’ll find the less you need someone else to approve.

You cannot, simply cannot put your self-esteem in the hands of other people dependent on whether they approve of your life choices, or their opinion on how funny/pretty/smart/hardworking you are or are not.

Some of these people you want approval from you don’t even like.

Hell, some of these people you don’t even know.

Listen. It’s a big ole world out there. There are a few, if any, choices that are going to meet with universal approval. For anyone. Even if you are…say, Beyonce. Even if you are a multitalented, gorgeous multimillionaire and philanthropist – there will always be someone who doesn’t like Beyonce! But that doesn’t mean Beyonce should stop being Beyonce and doing Beyonce type stuff.

It is not just unrealistic, but actually impossible, to expect “everyone” to approve of you all the time. It’s also something you simply CANNOT control. It’s time to call time on trying. Here’s your magic formula:

If you approve of your choices: that’s an essential ingredient for a happy, fulfilled life.

If other people approve of you / your choices: that’s a nice optional extra.

Other people’s approval is the cherry on top of the cake.

Your approval is the cake itself.


2020 4 Dimensional Wellness Happy People Don't Do Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Reduce Stress Resilience

Your Bedtime Story

What goes on between our ears has the biggest determination over what goes on in our hearts and in our lives.

One of the biggest areas where we can trip up is when we get facts confused with stories, or “the truth” confused with fairytales.

Have a think about a time when you had yourself absolutely convinced something utterly catastrophic was about to happen.

Lying awake turning over the prospect of imminent doom played out in excruciating and panic-inducing detail.  We have all done it. And then…and then…well, nothing happening. NOTHING! The sky totally did not fall in. The fan did not get hit with anything. All that worry, stress, drama and excess cortisol production for nothing.

It can be weirdly tempting to play out a worst-case scenario story as a bizarre sort of double-think mental insurance to ward off against disappointment or rejection. If we have already considered the worst then maybe…maybe… it won’t happen.

However, it’s a far easier way to live to know that whatever comes up –  if it comes up –  you are smart and capable and you will react and handle it. And so, therefore, you choose to wait until such time that might be necessary and divert your attention to happier thoughts in the meantime.

The stories we tell ourselves in our heads have the very real capacity to destroy our peace of mind with far more regularity than any outside event.

Look at it this way. What bedtime story do you read your 7-year-old son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter/nephew/niece? Is it a) Charlie And The Chocolate Factory or b) Nightmare On Elm Street?  Right. You wouldn’t dream of divulging the tales of Freddie Kruger’s bloody mayhem whilst you tuck them up as you want that child to sleep soundly, yes? (preferably right through the night uninterrupted, of course). You want to create the best conditions to do that; you know the content you fill their heads with at that pivotal moment is key – so you choose with discernment.

It’s the same at the cinema.  We know the emotional impact of a good story and so there are standard content rating systems for movies. We know how powerful those stories in the screen are so we want to choose age-appropriately and with discernment for the audience. This is obvious in the movie cinema.

We want the right story playing for whoever is watching it.

And yet, and yet. We are nowhere near as careful stewards of our own bedtime story routine. Replaying the tricky conversation with the boss whilst we clean our teeth: bad bedtime story. Thinking about whether that client is going to be furious or not as we turn down the covers: bad bedtime story. Turning over the backhanded compliment our mother in law paid and worrying about how that may play out at the weekend family barbeque: bad bedtime story. Figuring out if that friend deliberately blanked us at the school gate as we have upset them for reasons we know not: bad bedtime story. No wonder we don’t sleep well, or our days are filled with worry.

Our peace of mind is determined by the tone and content of the stories we tell ourselves through our waking hours.

And as for the stories we believe and repeat in the dead of night? They are the most powerful of all.

Make sure you choose appropriate bedtime reading for yourself.

Sweet dreams.


Happy People Don't Do Live Happy Inspiration Positive Thought Strategy Resilience

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2017

Here are the top 5 blog posts of 2017 – as voted by YOU!  Is your favourite on the list?


#1  Key Questions You Need To Ask Yourself To Review 2017

Here are some thought starters for you to ponder (perhaps with a journal and a cold beer in hand) over the summer to bring 2017 to a considered close and set yourself up for the best of all things in 2018.  First on the list to review is Farewell: What would you like to farewell and leave behind in 2017? What have you outgrown?

#2  %^$^%*&ed you over you NEED to read this!

If there is one thought pattern guaranteed to make us feel unhappy, it is victimhood. When we feel persecuted, or deliberately wronged the obvious conclusion to draw is that this other person is against us for whatever reason.  When we take 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens in our life, we drop any victim mindset by default. The tables turn completely – it’s no longer about blame or shame, it’s about learning.

#3  The trick to being happy is in what you don’t do

We spend a lot of time here talking about how to be happy, and what happy people think and do to be happy. The more we know which beliefs, attitudes and behaviours constitute happy, the more we can mirror the mindsets and actions that resonate personally and be happier ourselves. For the next little while I thought it would be fun, and equally useful, to flip that around and look at what happy people don’t do, so we know what to omit from our repertoire.

#4 Resilience #1

Resilience is about being able to cope and adapt to stressful situations. Some people seem inherently adept at “rolling with the punches” while others can struggle in times of stress and change that are thrust upon them. Learning how to boost our resiliency equips us to better ride the inevitable waves of adversity that life throws at us. Here are some characteristics of the resilient…

#5 Congruence & Alignment – why it should matter to you

Congruence: Big Word. Big Impact.  What is it? And why should it matter to you? Well lean in darling, listen closer…I want to talk about Congruence today and why it’s the number one reason why you are not getting what you want in your life.  If you are not enjoying the amount of money you have in your life, you probably have a congruence issue. If your body does not look and feel like you want it to feel, you probably have a congruence issue. If your work-life balance and stress levels are not where you want them to be, you probably have a congruence issue. Congruence. Agreement. Harmony. Corresponding. Alignment. I see a lack of congruence all the time.

Happy People Don't Do

What is your word worth?

Seems like an obvious one but it’s so easily missed in our fast-paced world where a “white” lie sent by text is enticingly easy, and “ghosting” is actually a thing. Our personal integrity and the standard to which we hold ourselves is a measure of our own personal brand value. I believe C. S. Lewis summed it up best with:

“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one would know you did the wrong thing. Making the brave choice even when there is an easier opt-out to be gotten away with. Being in integrity means being in alignment with your core values even when no one but you knows the choice you are about to make.

When we are acting from integrity, it means it’s much easier to accept the consequences of our decisions. When we do “the right thing” with honour, even if others do not approve or understand, we sleep well knowing we did what was in alignment with our own sense of rightness.

Don Miguel Ruiz, the author of the great classic “The Four Agreements,” details the trait of integrity as the number one agreement with self for personal freedom: “Be Impeccable With Your Word
. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love”.

Because here’s the thing. You cannot buy true integrity with money (reputation possibly, but not true integrity). And you cannot exchange it for money. And you can’t buy it back when it’s gone, however much you want to. (There are some notable falls from grace who would love that option I am sure. Think Lance Armstrong, Bill Cosby and Tiger Woods.) Our integrity is of supreme value to us, but it costs nothing. It is very hard to recover it once it has been lost, so it’s important that we treasure and tend to it.

The good news is you don’t need money or power or status to develop, cultivate and cherish your integrity. A life of integrity is a path open to everyone regardless of life situation. In fact, I think we are all pretty much naturally programmed to choose the path of integrity by default, which is why when we go against that it feels so off. I believe that integrity is our natural inclination; it’s more about choosing to deliberately veer off the path into dishonesty, or not.

I also like the alternate definition of integrity. As well as “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles” it is also “the state of being whole and undivided”. Which can be used to describe the state of, say, a building post-earthquake “retaining its integrity” meaning it has come though structurally sound. That definition of being “whole and undivided” also speaks to our soul, in that if there is a decision that is making us feel divided and at odds with ourselves, that it’s likely we are considering compromising our integrity in some way. That feeling of internal division is a great spot check on our personal Integrity-o-meter.

When we live in integrity, we are naturally happier. We don’t have to think which version of the story we are relating to which person. We don’t have that mild cloud of anxiety about “being found out” dogging our days. We sleep better. We don’t have a heart attack when the phone rings, or we bump into THAT person. Knowing what our word is worth is an altogether happier way to be in the world.

We live more lightly when we are in integrity with ourselves.

Doing the right thing even if no one is watching is integrity. Because someone IS watching. Someone whose opinion is of paramount importance and will last a lifetime. You.

Happy People Don't Do

The transformational power of pain

There is a bit of a myth that happy people are naturally lucky and stuff just magically goes their way, that they are treading an easier or shinier path than most. Whilst sometimes there is a grain of truth in this, I have to say I generally observe the opposite.

Happier people, or the deliberately happy, tend to be those who have been through some tremendous suffering or trauma of some sort. Or indeed multiple traumas. The kind of circumstances that change their lives forever.

I have worked with some deliberately happy people who have been through unimaginable horrors. Loss of a child. Father killed in a car accident. Son addicted to P and a course of self-destruction. Bankruptcy. The most vile custody battle imaginable. Falsely imprisoned. Horrendous marital, emotional abuse. Loss of a limb. Rape. Victimised at work to the point of a court case. The list goes on.

Bad stuff happens to good people. All. The. Time.

Yet, after time and support for deep grief and processing, many of these people go on to be the most deliberately happy people I know. They gain a new perspective on happiness from the depths of their suffering. Their happiness becomes the veritable phoenix from the ashes.

When life or God or Fate or The Universe or just other people messing with your life deals you a bad hand, an interesting thing can happen. Either it can be the circumstance that goes on to define your whole life. Or it can be an experience that will always mark you, still be part of you, but that you take that pain and use it as the raw material to craft a more present and happy life.

When there has been significant suffering from monumental life events, there comes a natural release of grip on trying to control the small things in life. We will tend to lighten up and not sweat the small stuff so much. We will realise that happiness is but fleeting, and it can only be felt now, now, now. In this moment right here, here, here. We will get better at appreciating whatever is good in this moment, this moment right now, actively seeking it out and giving silent thanks for it. Knowing that the days may be long but the years are short, so sucking up the joy present in the little things, the small, seemingly insignificant moments that make up each day. Knowing that the small things – the smile shared, the bedtime story, the hand held, really are the big things.

It is not that happy people have not known pain and suffering, it is that they eventually recognise its tremendous perspective shifting power. That they don’t get forever stuck in their grief; they gradually start to transcend it. They know how dark the darkness can be and so they actively seek the light in whatever is presented to them. They see the alternative, and they face forward not back.

Being happy on purpose can be our greatest act of defiance in the face of tremendous pain suffered.

Choosing to be happy despite what’s happened can be our greatest act of resistance against those who would bring us low. Deliberate happiness can be the greatest show of strength there is.

Happy People Don't Do

If someone has %^$^%*&ed you over you NEED to read this!

If there is one thought pattern guaranteed to make us feel unhappy, it is victimhood. When we feel persecuted, or deliberately wronged the obvious conclusion to draw is that this other person is against us for whatever reason.

It’s painful, and it’s uncomfortable. And it is very easy to stay trapped in our story of being the victim. Feeling that the other person should behave better. Do or say or demonstrate a different thing. Be more generous, or honest, or honourable or patient or compassionate or responsible or whatever it is we lack. All our focus is on what the other person should stop doing to us so that we can feel okay. We want an end to our pain, and for that to happen the other person needs to stop being against us. When we feel someone is against us, it feels very real and very hurtful. That feeling of being attacked is sadly something that very few get through life without experiencing at some point on some level.

I read an interesting concept recently in one of Jack Canfield’s books (the Chicken Soup For The Soul guy) that:

We should take 100% responsibility for everything that happens to us.

Not 56% responsibility. Not 93 % responsibility, but 100%. For everything. “That’s a bit harsh Jack,” I thought, “there are always circumstances beyond our control”. Taking 100% responsibility for some things feels like placing the blame on myself for something bad that I 100% didn’t do and 100% didn’t want. How is THAT helpful?!” I pondered some more… and I think I get it.

When we take 100% responsibility for EVERYTHING that happens in our life, we drop any victim mindset by default. The tables turn completely – it’s no longer about blame or shame, it’s about learning. So that business partner who ripped you off in an unsavoury manner. You can’t take responsibility for their unethical actions, but you can take 100% responsibility for not having tied the contracts up more tightly at the outset. That’s a valuable lesson that’s empowering and puts you in a stronger position never to repeat the experience. You can’t take responsibility for your rapacious ex-husband mercilessly exploiting the law to feather his own nest at your expense. But you can take 100% responsibility for your expectation that he would behave better or more honourably. You can own that the pain you feel is the gap between your elevated expectations of his character, and reality. You can learn from that to expect much less of the man. Therefore the pain is lowered as he is merely doing exactly what you would expect. You can’t take responsibility for your bosses continual expectation that meetings can be set at 5 pm on late notice. But you can take 100% responsibility for speaking up and pushing back with consistent boundaries around your time and availability. You can’t take responsibility for an organisation’s decision to give you a pay freeze for the second year running. But you can take 100% responsibility as to whether or not you continue to work for them.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a *&^&*$ hard question to ask yourself! How can I take responsibility for this thing that is present in my life that I absolutely do not want/absent from my life that I really feel I deserve to have? It’s not a happiness step for the faint-hearted, but it does carry with it a measure of gold.

When we shift our mindset from victim to 100% responsibility, a miraculous thing happens. The original problem does not disappear (sadly! Sorry!) but our ability to deal with it and move past it increases exponentially. I would not say this is happiness per se, but it is definitely empowerment, and that is a far happier state than victimhood. When we take 100% responsibility, we also absorb the lessons that are inherent in the experience for us, and when we learn lessons, we ease our path ahead. We also tap into the liberating truism that releases us from the grip of feeling someone is against us. As the saying goes, people are never really against us – they are actually just for themselves. The business partner thinks she is just doing what needs to be done to save the business. The ex-husband really believes he is morally entitled. The boss believes that testing staff’s commitment and making spontaneous plans is a good strategy when the pressure is on to get the most out of people. The corporation believes it’s salary budget is already at max given the reinvestment in infrastructure it wants to roll out.

They are not against you – they are just for themselves.

A tough but powerful step on the road to happiness. Taking more responsibility, not less. Looking at where 100% responsibility is on offer. By taking the lessons and absorbing some discomfort now, we pave the way for a happier and more comfortable ride ahead.

Happy People Don't Do

Why wine and cake shouldn’t be guilty pleasures…

Let’s talk about Guilty Pleasures. Snatched moments of pleasure tinged with a guilty “I shouldn’t be doing this“ feeling, but going ahead with the juicy, delicious, feeling thing regardless. We all know what that feels like!

Shoot me now, but I would say that it’s usually the less happy amongst us that believe in indulging in “guilty pleasures”. Why? Because genuinely happy people do it differently. Happy people believe, quite simply, in enjoying their pleasures with no guilt attached.

I do a lot of speaking about wellbeing and happiness, and there is a question I get asked a lot on this exact guilty pleasures topic. At some point, I will inevitably and conspiratorially get asked “Do I have a wine sometimes?” as if it’s a guilty pleasure that I couldn’t possibly admit to indulging in. Here’s the answer I always give: OF COURSE I ENJOY A WINE SOMETIMES!!! Do I regularly get off my face like in my younger days before I was wellbeing pro? No. But do I get pleasure from a beautiful glass of wine over a meal, or with sharing confidences with a great girlfriend over a good ice-cold glass of Sav? Of course, I do. Do I feel guilty about it? No, I most certainly do not. It’s something I enjoy, and for me, it’s in balance with a healthy lifestyle, and it adds richness and enjoyment to my life. Why would I feel guilty about that? It’s all pleasure when I choose to do it, and I enjoy every sip.

We are here on this earth, with this life, to do good and to feel good.

We are MEANT to feel good! Why block that flow of pleasure? If something brings you genuine pleasure and is in alignment with your values – why not just enjoy it; suck every ounce of joy from it, guilt-free? A good life is about DISCERNMENT of what we put in, not DENIAL of all things enjoyable. When we wear the hair shirt of denial and cut ourselves off from stuff that brings joy, that’s when we feel the need to cheat ourselves and sneak in a guilty pleasure. How much better a place to come from, to be honest with ourselves about our sources of genuine joy and connection and to discerningly include them in our lives loud and proud, guilt-free.

Guilt can come in many guises. For example, guilt that comes up because we are acting unethically, or lying, or cheating or whatever – now that’s USEFUL GUILT. That’s guilt that is generated by our inner self to stop us breaching our own values and integrity. It’s a handbrake to give us pause – is this really the right choice for me? Is this choice in alignment with who I am? Now that’s useful guilt, very useful. Guilt is like this big red flashing “stop: think” sign just when we need it most.

Guilty pleasure though? Now that’s not a useful application of guilt. Feeling guilty because we are about to have a desert? Now that’s not useful.

Either 1) choose to have the desert and enjoy and savour the pleasure of every single mouthful.

Or, 2) discerningly choose not to have it and enjoy the feeling of restraint because that choice came from honouring your body’s signal of not being hungry or the commitment you made to yourself about eating less sugar, and enjoy the feeling of pride of honouring your body and your commitment.

But the guilty pleasure option 3) of having the cake AND swallowing it down with a nice big swig of guilt and a sprinkling of self-hate? Now that really is self-defeating. And that’s not really pleasure, is it? The emotional backlash neutralises the momentary pleasure. Eat the cake and love it, or don’t eat it and love that choice too. Just don’t eat it and feel guilty. When you think about it, it’s a ridiculous waste of emotional energy.

A lot of guilt pleasures are guilty because we don’t think other people would approve. Again, that’s a really erroneous application of guilt. If you like dancing round the kitchen to Taylor Swift then “so what” what anyone else thinks of your secret teen pop addiction! Whether it’s “cool” or age appropriate, or not – so what? If YOU like it and it brings YOU pleasure that’s good enough. You don’t need anyone else to approve or even understand. It’s just your thing. It’s your pleasure. It’s part of what makes you the gloriously quirky, unique individual you are. No need to feel guilty about THAT! Just enjoy whatever it is that’s your pleasure.Just enjoy whatever it is that’s your pleasure.

Ultimately guilt is a poisonous and superfluous attachment to pleasure. Why do that to yourself? Why mar a beautiful or pleasing thing, interaction or experience with the heavy emotion of guilt. If it pleases you, then make it pleasure, all the way. As the legendary rocker and Foo Fighters, front-man Dave Grohl said,

“I don’t believe in guilty pleasures. If you *$^$#$* like something, like it”.

So, be unapologetic about what brings you pleasure, and include it with cunning regularity in your life. Guilt-free. ALLOW yourself pleasure – don’t try and try and SNEAK it into your own life through the back door like a stolen ciggie behind the bikesheds. Claim your pleasure in full.

Happy People Don't Do

The answer to this question determines whether you will succeed

I’m gonna bust out two quotes that are going to blow your mind today. One from a multi-millionaire businessman, and one from one of my whip-smart girlfriends who suffers no fools. Ready? Okay.

“If you are interested you’ll do what’s convenient.
If you are committed, you’ll do whatever it takes”.
~ John Assaraff.

Read it again. Really take it in. This is one of the most powerful concepts I know in terms of creating and owning your own health and happiness. Happy people are committed to being happy and successful, and less happy people are generally only interested in being happy. The difference is massive.

What it means is this: When we are truly committed to an outcome – whatever it may be – getting in shape, buying an investment property, qualifying as a vet, owning our own business, whatever it may be – we will do whatever it takes to make it happen. There will be obstacles – with any milestone that’s big or consequential – a few (or a lot!) of obstacles along the way are an inevitable part of that journey.

A happy and successful person knows that, and moves over or around that obstacle in whatever way they can to keep their eyes focused on the outcome they want. They will try and try and try in however many ways they need to, to make it happen. They are not just interested in their success they are incontrovertibly committed to it. They don’t get thrown off at the first sign of struggle.

For example, someone who has decided they will be happier 15kgs lighter and commits to that goal will find a way to leave the office on time for a workout, when the person who is just interested in being 15kgs lighter will not. They will get up at whatever time they have to, to prep healthy meals, or to make the bootcamp. They will say no to the wine or the dessert at the social family dinner because they are not just interested in being at their best weight, they are committed to making that happen. They are more committed to their goal than they are interested in another 45 minutes in bed or the social acceptance of joining in with a slice of cake.

When we are interested rather than committed we fool ourselves into thinking we are going to make that thing we want happen. But really, we are only going to achieve it if we don’t have to extend ourselves too much or make too many difficult, uncomfortable calls. We are not going to do what it takes, we are going to do what’s convenient. If everyone else is eating healthy round the dinner table, we will too. If everyone else orders the pizza, well then we will join in. We do what is convenient. It’s very different and it’s characterised by a feeling of slight aimlessness, like we aren’t really achieving or that we are drifting a bit. It doesn’t feel terrible, but it doesn’t feel like happiness on purpose either. It feels like the path of least resistance.

When we are interested rather than committed, the main thing you will hear coming out of our mouths is excuses. “Oh I was going to save that money, but something unexpected came up”; “I am getting back on that eating plan as soon as, but it has just been really busy at the moment” – that sort of thing. Excuses. Excuses.

This is where my second quote comes in, where my smart and beautiful friend who kicks ass in business and at home fondly says:

“Everything before the but is BS”.

Snappy, right? It sums it all up for me – everything before the “but” is what we are interested in, rather than committed to. If we were committed, there would be no “but”. It would be an “and“ instead.

For example: “I wanted to save that money, something unexpected came up, and so I had to work three extra shifts/sell some stuff to make it happen”;

“I am back on that eating plan, it’s been really busy at the moment, and so I have had to say no to quite a few things to make it happen, but I’ve done it”.

Happy people don’t make excuses. They get committed. They know there will be curveballs – and they meet them with an “and” not a “but”. At the end of the day they think: do I want to make it happen? Or do I want to make excuses? Am I interested or am I committed? Will I do what it takes, or will I just do what’s convenient? It’s a recipe for success – let me know how you get on.


Happy People Don't Do

The simple equation that makes you feel happier RIGHT NOW!

Here’s a thing that happy people know, whether they consciously know they know it or not: they know that happiness is an entirely subjective reality. That happiness is quite literally in the eye of the beholder.

They know that there can always be something found to complain about, even in the best of times.

They know there can always be something found to appreciate, even in the worst of times.

In the best of times, the sun is shining, the water is clear, the kids are happily entertaining themselves, the Pimms is chilled, and the stomach is looking pleasingly flat. But, if we try hard we can see that there are endless flies, there is going to be so much cleaning up to do, and why the hell can’t people put stuff away once in a while?

In the worst of times, she has gone. The mortgage is stretched. Each day is a marathon of endurance of putting on a smile to give the semblance of coping. But if we try hard, hard, hard we can recognise the smile from the barista making our coffee just so, the lucky parking space that appeared just like magic, and be grateful for the friend who gave us a call just because.

Happy people look for things, actively seek out things to be happy about and to enthuse about. And then they dwell on those things. They behold the positive even if it’s trifling.

Unhappier people unconsciously look for problems to extrapolate. And do you know what? They will always find them! Perfection does not exist outside the movies. If you look for problems and focus on what’s not right in any given situation, then that is what you will see. And your subjective reality will consequently feel less happy. If you habitually look for problems, you will find them. Period.

A happier person can be in the exact same situation and choose to accentuate what they find there that is positive and be far happier.

Even though nothing about the circumstance is different. Two people can stay in the same hotel, and one has an enjoyable stay and enjoy good times. The other can give a scathing two-star Trip Advisor review for the exact same experience.

As Dickens opened A Tale of Two Cities:

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…”

You can through choice of thought take life either way. Happiness is subjective. It is determined nowhere near as much by the circumstance of our lives being perfect as we think it is.

It is less about being happy because everything we want is going our way and much more about being happy because that is the way we want to go.

It is a tale of two mindsets. And the good news is you get to choose.



Happy People Don't Do

If you are struggling to get your ducks in a row, you need this!

Here’s a thing I hear a lot.

Smart people. Pushing hard to make their life a success. Make stuff happen so they can be happy.

Get the bigger house. The baby. The cute spouse. The bach. The overseas trip. The promotion. The passion-fueled soul-business. The qualification. The body. The reno. Get mortgage free. The investment property. Another child. The white picket fence.

Once those things are in place, well then we’ll have “made it”. Arrived. Got there. And that is a thing worth striving for, no? To arrive. That’s what it’s all about.

Or is it?

Here’s the thing.

There. Is. No.“ARRIVED”.


Perpetually seeking “arrived” is CODE for deferring your happiness. It’s making your happiness dependent on a future possible external consequence.

We keep striving for arriving, and all it’s doing is keeping people stressed out.

We never “make it”. Get all the ducks in a row. Doesn’t happen.

Why? Because “making it” – that END POINT is not a real outcome in life. Life is not built to have that definitive “made it” point. Life is meant to be an ENDLESS PROCESS OF EXPANSION. Fulfilling one desire is the route to another desire being born within us. Fulfilled desire breeds new desire. We are never “done”. It’s about continual expansion, not completion. We never truly “arrive”.

How different would it feel to put our focus instead on THRIVING, rather than the false promise of arriving?

Thriving is something you do NOW, not at some indeterminate point in the future.

THRIVE is active, it’s now. It’s “what can I do NOW to feel good TODAY, in my work/life/health/relationship/home?

Thriving means SEIZE THE DAY. What feels better in this moment? How can I demonstrate more love/kindness/strength/wisdom in THIS moment?

Thriving means enhance the experience RIGHT NOW. How can I bring more fun/love/companionship/joy to this thing I am doing right now?

Thriving means relishing each task ahead as a gift in some way. Thriving means relishing each interaction as a universe-sent message or lesson of value. Thriving means giving all our best energy no matter what. Thriving means appreciating the SMALL stuff, the little details in which the joys of life are held. The kiddies’ smile. The shared smile at the café. The email saying well done. The flat pack set that clicked into place. The paw on the lap.

Thriving means relishing the best each moment brings, not waiting for the BIG moments of pivotal change to deliver it all.

Thriving is a mindset for contented and joyful living, no matter the circumstance. Arriving may inspire us to greatness and achievement (and goals are definitely a good thing), but thriving ensures we enjoy the journey along the way.

THRIVING IS THE NEW ARRIVING. You heard it here first. Spread the word.

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