How to be 'Branson' Happy!
More people in life need to be open and honest. It is only when people are honest, things and people can change. In a previous post, I talked about living in an ‘insta-world’, not living in the present and only presenting what we think people want to see and more importantly what we think we should be in other people’s eyes. This article will help us stay focused, contented and happy Richard Branson style!
In an article, Branson stated that happiness is yours and mine, but we need to take time to let it grow. In his topical message from 2017 ‘How to be Happy’, he tells us that the nation assumed he was happy because he has a successful business and that the wealth in which comes with this successful business has afforded him with a higher level of happiness than us; in reality, he says it is quite the reverse: “I am successful, wealthy and connected because I am happy.”
Richard also urges that happiness is not about doing but being – thinking consciously about it having ‘to-do lists’ as well as ‘to-be lists’. Yes, we need aspirations to keep us on track and having that goal but we need to be grounded, in the moment, appreciating the little things around us such as: going for a coffee and smelling that aroma just before you drink it; lying in bed and listening to the birds before you get out of bed; to allow yourself to meet up with friends and allow laughter to resonate from your vocal chords right down to your belly. You cannot chase happiness, it is there around you now, appreciate it in others, be kind to others and also feel that happiness from others.
I liked his sentence: “there’s a reason we’re called human beings and not human doings,” and how right he is. He advised us to not stress about nominal things and things we cannot change. This was something I had been discussing with my daughter over the past few days when we were awaiting her A Level results. I am glad to say that yes, she is very happy as she achieved her grades and is going off to her first choice University (Bristol) in the next couple of weeks. She had learnt that happiness is not a goal but a habit. Yes, she knew she needed those grades for that University and changed her mind set over the past few years to enjoy the journey, not the destination (a quote by Ralf Waldo Emerson in which we used daily). My daughter (Emily) has suffered enormously with anxiety and depression and is now an advocate in being mindful, staying in the moment, being grateful for what life has given her and also being a living proof (like Branson) that the small things in life do bring you happiness and a life in which you previously may have thought was out of reach. This also links in with an article on Ginger Twist’s Teaching and Learning page entitled Capturing Your Classroom Culture where I quoted: 'We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit'. We need to have a habit of taking time to be still, to be silent – to be in the moment.
Branson asks us to start each day being loving, grateful, helpful, appreciating the moment and to be a spectator of your own thoughts. What are your thoughts about yourself and your life? Are you thinking that you do not deserve good things, that you don’t deserve to be happy or that happiness will never come to you? You are master and creator of your own destiny. Be careful what you say, as your self-fulfilling prophecy might come true! Be kind to yourself with your thoughts, be kind to others with what you say and allow the little chinks of happiness to slowly enter your life. Don’t be in a rush to finish that night-time story with your child so you can get on with something else; don’t rush out of bed and straight into work-mode without feeling the carpet under your toes – be thankful that you have actually woken up to enjoy another day (others haven’t); don’t spend the day hating your job, find the small moments of happiness within it – it might actually allow you to fall in love with your job again (or it will give you the insight of what you should be doing).
Happiness is not ‘out there’ but ‘in there’, within us all, within the small, tiny yet highly significant details.