We all have those ah-ha moments in life, moments of enlightenment where something or someone wakes us up to a whole new perspective.
The statement in the title is something that a mentor of mine said to me when I was 18 years old, it’s a profound statement and easily misinterpreted for someone who is young and naive.
15 years later and although I still believe it’s true, my perspective has dramatically changed.
What do most people want?
At the age of 18, I was working for a direct sales and marketing company and like many moldable 18-year-olds, I was lead to believe that having a big house, fast cars, and expensive accessories were the keys to success and happiness. A majority of what I was busting my guts, working 100 hours a week for was completely materialistic.
By the time I was 24, I’d become a master of sales, opened a fast-paced direct sales and marketing company, made my first $10k in a day, had my dream car, and made almost $250k that year alone, but I was also extremely confused, because that very same year, whilst in many people’s eyes, I’d “made it”, I was having a massive identity crisis. I was spending money almost as fast as I made it just to cover up the fact that even with all the things that I thought I wanted, the things that so many people think that they want, deep down I wasn’t fulfilled, I wasn’t happy.
I have a very fond memory in primary school when my teacher was asking all the students in class what they wanted to be when they grow up.
Kids who were asked before me spouted off stereotypical answers like “a fireman, police officer, astronaut” and so forth, I found myself profoundly answering
“I want to be happy”
As I write this, I admit it does sounds like the answer of a sad or depressed young kid, the truth is, I was a very happy kid, and I thought the answer was quite clever, other kids seemed to agree, laughing as they started to copy my answer,
“Yes! I want to be happy too!”
“That’s very nice Tom, but I’m referring to the type of job you would like to have” said My teacher.
It’s funny how we are trained from a very young age to decide what it is that we will dedicate the rest of our lives to, when we have almost no experience of life and what’s out there that might actually make us feel happy and fulfilled.
We create verbal prisons for ourselves based on experiences that we have not even had and then in many cases force ourselves or our children to follow through, or else they are “giving up on their dream”, a dream that was probably misleadingly created whilst watching a Hollywood film star glorify the roll.
Considering my primary school story, it makes me smile that 24 years later, I can confidently say that I have lived a very happy life, sure I’ve had my moments, close friends have died, I caught my now ex-fiance cheating on me whilst we were on holidays together in Thailand with a complete stranger, my mother was diagnosed with cancer, and I’ve personally escaped death more than once by the skin of my teeth, yet if you ask anyone who knows me well, these events as painful or scary as they may have been, have also put things into perspective and catapulted me to higher levels of gratitude, personal growth and strangely enough, happiness.
So What is The Secret to Happiness?
Well I’m not saying I have all the answers, and I still have my off days but as I said above and if you ask anyone who knows me well, they would tell you that I have an uncanny ability to see the positive in every situation, and even when I’m having a rough day, I’ve been through enough to know that, tough times never last, tough people do and simply knowing that gives me a little bit of light even when all seems dark.
That said, I have investigated as to why I have this ability and the good news is, I honestly believe it is something that can be learned and applied, so here are a few tips as to how I’m such a happy fella.
Fulfilling your heart’s desire
When a very close friend died in her sleep in a tragic house fire, it made me realize that we could wake up in heaven tomorrow, so if you are not fulfilling your heart’s desire and living a life that you love then something needs to change, no money in the world is worth ignoring that. Her passing gave me the courage to resign from a role that most people think would fix all of there problems because of how much I was getting paid.
My heart’s desire was to travel the world, try new things, experience new cultures, learn a new language and fall in love, not be chained to a desk 50 plus hours a week in a city that bored the hell out of me just to fill my bank account, only to spend half of it on the weekends to try put some colour back into my life.
That said, I’m acutely aware that although money doesn’t buy you happiness, being broke doesn’t buy you anything and having a certain level of financial stability is important for your general wellbeing, but if you follow me, on any of my social media platforms, or through my website one of my goals in life, which also brings me a ton of fulfillment is showing people that you don’t have to choose one over the other and that it is possible to make a great income doing something you love.
When I caught my partner of more than 4 years, and fiance to be, in bed with a complete stranger on a holiday that I was paying for, sure I drunk myself stupid for a few days but eventually came to the realization that I had, in fact, dodged a bullet and was better off without her, this taught me so much about myself and the power of forgiveness, an absolute key to true happiness! It took a number of years and personal growth but has now lead to me finding a partner that I have a much deeper level of communication and love with.
How many people hold onto the pain of infidelity, betrayal, and let it prevent them from moving on to something bigger and better?
How many times have you heard the following
- “All men want is sex”
- “All women want is your money”
- “All men/women are the same”
Yes, like Donald Trump and Mahatma Gandhi are soooooo similar right?
When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, although our family was already very close, the news shook us all to the core but reconnected us in a way that made us even more grateful for every passing moment that we get to spend with each other. We now even have a family messenger group because of it where we share and communicate on a daily basis.
This incident also sparked the flame that was responsible for another life course correction and a massive reminder to pursue a fulfilling lifestyle career over a good job and income, which lead me to the geographical freedom lifestyle, philosophy and business model that I now live and love, as it has given me the freedom to spend more time with who I want, where I want, and when I want.
PS I’m thrilled to say that mum is a cancer survivor and is inspiring me more than ever with her passion for life, massive heart, and wonderful words of wisdom.
Daily Physical and Mental Stimulation
Another thing that I would attribute to my generally happy disposition is something that Tony Robbins refers to as feeding your body and mind daily.
He is the king of one-liners so I’m going to steal one more of the quotes I’ve heard him say, “readers are leaders“, even if it’s just half an hour a day, I’m not talking about an article in Dolly or Thrasher Magazine, read something that will challenge your beliefs, or teach you something new. The mind is a muscle and your mental growth and strength depend on how often you exercise it.
PS for those of you who don’t skate, “Thrasher” isn’t a type of porn magazine, but porn mags don’t count either, sorry guys 😉
If you think the body and mind aren’t tightly connected than you are kidding yourself, and even though I can name the time and location of the 3 gym visits I’ve had in my life, I do however like to do something active on a daily basis.
Be it running, swimming, riding, any sports activity, or even just smashing out 50 pushups, making sure you do something that challenges your body EVERY DAY can have massive effects on your energy and happiness.
It’s very well documented that the endorphins released during exercise improve mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood, and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function, exercise has also been found to alleviate symptoms such as low self-esteem and social withdrawal.
which brings me to my final point for this particular article.
Here is a question for you, Do you know what the opposite of addiction is?
Studies have shown that it’s not sobriety but in fact connection. And don’t be fooled, I’m not just talking about drug addiction. So then, with more ways to connect than ever before, why is it that we are so disconnected?
A massive skill that we must learn on social media is to connect, not compare.
Constantly comparing yourself to celebrities and all the “happy” faces on social media, has fuelled a fear of not being enough, leading to mass consumption and the idea that the more we have the happier we’ll be, wasting time and energy on things that do not serve us.
On that note, it’s getting a little late so I’m going to use that as a great bridge to say, if you got value out of what I have written, and want to learn how to live a more fulfilling, forgiving, grateful, stimulated and connected life then hit me up! let’s connect!
Peace out hippies!!