How to be Happy and Successful: Part I

On Saturday I was rushing around the house, trying to get lots of things done.  My three-year-old son was doing his utmost to slow me down with constant questions and demands, and I began to get frustrated.

The more I fobbed him off, the more desperately he wanted my attention and I realised I was handling the situation badly.

Trying to get out of my negative mindset, I found myself thinking about the me from five years ago, the me who had no idea whether she’d be lucky enough to have children.

Fast forward to the present day and I’m snapping at my beautiful boy because he’s stopping me cleaning the house.  How crazy is that?

Five minutes later we’ve downed dusters and we’re in our sun-drenched back garden playing golf, interspersed with tag, running races and occasional bouts of tickling.  The atmosphere created by whining and grumpiness is gone and the air is filled with shrieks and laughter.

My day had shifted from focusing on what I could achieve to focusing on having fun.  That’s a success in my book.

But how do you define success?  Is it owning a sleek, spotless show home or raising happy, healthy children?  Or is it about building your business as fast as you can, earning pots of money, sending your children to the best schools and enjoying lavish foreign holidays?

Can you have it all?

Well, maybe you can’t have it all, but have you stopped to think about whether you want it all?

Maybe success is about what you want out of life, not what other people think you should have.  Maybe it’s less about money and more about having time to enjoy yourself.

Whatever your definition of success, how do you get on the road to achieving it and will it make you happy?

Here’s my current favourite fact from the Action for Happiness website:

Most people think that if they become successful, then they’ll be happy. But recent discoveries in psychology and neuroscience show that this formula is backward: happiness fuels success, not the other way around. When we’re positive, our brains are more motivated, engaged, creative, energetic, resilient, and productive.

So your first step towards success is to work on your happiness levels.  Why not join me in pledging your support to the Action for Happiness movement and promising to create more happiness and less unhappiness in the world around you?  What have you got to lose?

Photograph by Paul Painter