THE SECRET OF THE HAPPIEST MAN IN THE WORLD
I feel like a lucky man. I recently spent time with the happiest man in the world. His name is Freddy Sutra and he lives in the French Pyrenees, in a place called Luchon. I didn’t know before we met that he is the happiest man in the world. It was only after he had shared his passion of paragliding with me, that he revealed his secret. After the experience, I spent time reflecting on happiness and had three interesting realisations, about my own pursuit of this highly desirable and sometimes illusive feeling state. You can watch the movie of me paragliding here.
1. Do purposeful work and your happiness flows
I believe that everyone’s pursuit of happiness takes different forms. I highly encourage you to follow your own. Viktor Frankl wrote a profound book called Man’s Search for Meaning, which offers some rich wisdom on the subject of purpose. It’s a worthy read, if you can spare the time. Frankl propses that when we do something which gives our life meaning or purpose, the mind and body are pursuing things which naturally result in more joy. A lot of people land in uninspiring jobs, and then stay in them for years simply to pay the bills. This is a life of necessity and can easily eat away at your wellspring of innate happiness. 1 in 5 Australians suffer some kind of mental health issue, and whereas dull work is not the only cause of that, given we spend 40+ hours at work each week, it is something we need to be mindful of. Seeing how happy Freddy was, acted as a great reminder that following your heart is perhaps the central premise of finding your purpose.
If you’re reading this, and have yet to sign up for DO 1 THING, my free 5 day program designed to help busy people make positive progress in their work and life, you can do so here. This will give you access to the Get Purpose tool, which will take you through a process to define and start living your purpose.
On page 10 of the tool, you’ll find a section which asks you to reflect on your skills and career highlights. Now would be a good time to complete this section if you haven’t already done so. When doing so, really tune into your heart and aim to get clarity about the things you have done in the past which brought you the most joy. In these activities, there will be clues as to what your purpose might be. When we find our purpose, it’s always something which is going to increase our happiness and joy.
2. Happiness can’t be controlled
We live in a world were time influences our movements, but sadly our feelings don’t always align with the desired timing of our plans. I had booked the flight for my 2nd day in Luchon. I got a text from Freddy saying we could not fly that day because the cloud cover was too thick. The same text came on the 3rd day, and the 4th day. It seemed like perhaps my desire to fly with the eagles was not going to happen. When we try to control when, where or how we experience happiness, it can push the feeling of it away. Instead, if we can learn to cultivate a sense of awe and wonder with the world around us, we’ll feel more gratitude about the abundance in our lives. And this approach, rather than trying to force happiness to happen, seems to have a more natural flow to it.
3. Everything changes
I was overjoyed on the 5th day because the sun returned and up the mountain we went. The experience of waiting patiently for something I’d wanted to do for years, reminded me of the Buddhist concept called impermanence. This simple profound wisdom teaches us that our feeling states are never permanent. They change frequently. We and the world around us are in a constant state of change. Day turns to night. Hot things become cold. Hunger turns into fullness. Sadness turns into joy, and heavy cloud, will eventually turn into glorious blue skies (if we wait long enough).
I know a lot of people who are deeply unhappy in their work, feeling trapped in a career which stifles their creativity and autonomy. For over ten years I have been mentoring people to find their purpose and then build a business around it. If your career is limiting your growth in life and you want to explore alternative ways to work, then check out my new solopreneur skills start up program here.
Thanks for reading and watching. I hope you have a wonderful day.