Archive for August, 2013

Success and happiness

August 26, 2013
Success and happiness

Success and happiness

Success and happiness – these are common theme in this blog because so many people are searching for these elusive states. For many the two are linked – ‘When I’m successful I’ll be happy’ – but I‘ve written before about the opposite being true: ‘When I’m happy, I’ll find success.’

Generally people don’t like to hear that because it messes with their preconceived idea of how to be happy. So what do you want? Think about this exchange …

‘Success and happiness is something to work hard for and one day I will get there and then I’ll be free.’

‘Is that what you really want; success and happiness?’


‘That sounds good, but you added a third variable: freedom.’

‘Of course, if you’re happy and successful you also need to be free. I want to be happy, successful and free, with enough money to really experience life.’

‘You just added another one: wealth. So now you want to be successful, happy, free and wealthy so you can have a great life.’

‘Hang on, I also need to be fit, stress free and relaxed to enjoy my life. And I want to be surrounded by people who love me.’

‘This is getting complicated. So you want to be successful, happy, free, wealthy, healthy and loved? And then you’ll have made it. Anything else?’

‘Well, I’d like to be inspired and have a grand purpose that motivates me, excites me and gets me out of bed in the morning.’

‘That sounds reasonable. You want to be successful, happy, free, wealthy, healthy, loved, inspired and motivated. When do you think that you’ll achieve all that?’

‘I can’t see it ever happening.’

‘And how does that make you feel?’

‘Like a failure, unhappy, trapped, stressed, distant, angry and despondent.’

‘Perhaps you need to redefine your goals so you can enjoy your life now and still work towards an ideal life. You may then find a level of happiness that doesn’t require such an audacious checklist for success. You might even find success unexpectedly along the way. And even if you don’t think you have, you’ll still enjoy the journey, which might be a form of success unlooked for but equally positive.’


What if pt 2

August 20, 2013
What if ...

What if …

What if I didn’t have to define by success by the corporate title I hold?

What if I decided to embrace happiness now and not defer it until some unspecified future date?

What if I decided to follow my heart, take a risk and do what I wanted to do?

What if I realised that enough is actually enough?

What if I liquidated my investments and lived off the interest?

What if I realised that I could actually do that now?

What if I decided to do some things for other people not just myself?

What if that made me a better husband and father?

What if I only had a year to live?

What if I achieved life balance rather than just talking about it?

What if …

August 12, 2013


Last week I left the cold of the Australian winter to spend a week in the California sunshine; a business trip with an unaccustomed amount of free time.

With a meeting on Thursday and a conference on Monday we had the rare opportunity of three days off to explore and enjoy ourselves. It’s easy to be captivated by LA, an amazing city, and the diversity, contrast and excitement.

We marvelled in the hurricane colour of Venice beach, Hollywood’s glamour and the excitement of Huntington Pier and the final heats of a world pro surfing tour event. As a child I’d seen footage of surfers navigating the pylons of this pier, surfing through and around in a seemingly death defying display of skill and control.

And now I was right here.

It’s times like these that I wonder why I waste so much of my life locked in an office in an endless busyness that often feels of little value. I want to retire and live the bohemian lifestyle of one who is truly free. A life of fulfilment, financially free, living for the moment and experiencing the joy of life without the constraints of time.

In LA, I walked along the ocean-front apartments daydreaming … picturing myself tanned and lean, relaxed and happy as I returned from a morning surf to breakfast on fresh tropical fruit and roasted coffee before spending a few hours writing … in the early afternoons I’d a stroll down to a cafe for lunch and some banter with the local vendors while enjoying the warm day and the tropical breeze. Time is only defined by light and dark, a beautiful sunset heralding the end of the day …

But then it’s back to reality and the worry that it’s a nice dream but that’s all it ever will be. Then I ask myself: what if … ?

Perception is reality

August 6, 2013
Life is a highway ...

Life is a highway …

We often hear that perception is reality. And perception is based on interpretation. And many times the things we do or say can be interpreted in different ways.

A recent experience made me realise that we interpret words to match what’s already in our heads. Then we respond accordingly. And often what happens backs up our interpretation.

If we’re stressed, we hear everything as an accusation. We think that what’s going on in our heads is actually what’s happening in the world. We don’t realise that there’s a difference.

A few weeks ago week in Europe, some colleagues and I were on the autobahn and the traffic came to an unexpected stop. We were on a road without speed limits, doing zero. We waited for ten minutes and still the traffic didn’t move.

We got out of the bus. I was interested to see what was wrong. Had someone broken down? Had there been an accident? I walked up to the truck ahead of us and asked the driver what the problem was. I thought as a regular commuter he may have some local knowledge.

He started waving his arms angrily and said ‘Where the hell am I’m going to go, you tell me what the hell can I do?’ He pointed ahead and said ‘Can you drive a fu*king truck?’

All he heard was people blowing their horns. He was clearly frustrated and stressed; perhaps he had a deadline to meet. He didn’t hear my question, he heard an accusation: ‘Get on with it, get moving, we’re behind you’, because that reinforced his reality.

We do this every day. We create a reality. Then misinterpret and reinforce it. Perception may not be reality and this can get us into trouble.