The happiness boosting habit to celebrate every day

The happiness boosting habit to celebrate every day

Focus goes where energy flows, Tony Robbins


Don’t you just love other countries’ cultural celebrations?

People. I’m fascinated by them.

Not just as individuals, but as cultures as well. Around the world we celebrate in such extraordinarily different ways, and yet at the root are the same ideas.

We are all so different and yet we are the same in so many ways: it’s a beautiful paradox.

When I was travelling through Peru I found myself, through a misunderstanding, alone in Cuzco.

I wasn’t planning on going that way, but there I was, exploring its winding streets in dazzling mountain light and discovering a festival was coming. For the winter solstice. I had no expectation, no knowledge of this festival and perhaps that’s partly why I was so astonished.

Because there are no words to describe the spectacle that is Inti Raymi. Thousands arrive in the Inca capital for nine days of celebrations, marking the date in a riot of colour, music and traditional dance that has been handed down from one generation to another for thousands of years.

As our American friends celebrate Thanksgiving, there’s a familiarity and yet a strangeness to their festival of thanking nature too. Most countries mark harvest time. In the US, the festivities are rooted in the Pilgrim Fathers’ first crop success, back in 1621. And yet it seems to be represented by a turkey… Poor turkey.

Today, across the US, as turkeys run for the hills everywhere, families are gathering and celebrating and giving thanks for what they have.

Gratitude is at the root of all celebrations and it’s a well known practice in many therapeutic approaches.

Seeing what we have and noticing it, every day, can literally, change our minds.

As Tony Robbins says, ‘Focus goes where energy flows,’ and so being grateful for what we have can only bring us happiness.

When I recall this memory from my travels I don’t dwell on the misunderstanding that led to me finding myself alone in an unfamiliar South American country. I’m glad the people I was supposed to meet up with changed their plans. Because otherwise my memories would have been very different.

Not only do I have the precious memory of Inti Raymi, but I recall my strength and independence, my ability to handle change effectively and enjoy my own company.

And I am grateful.

What qualities do you have that make you grateful?

Let me know. let’s celebrate our power together – every day.

What’s a billionaire’s definition of happiness?

What’s a billionaire’s definition of happiness?

‘I love money. I love everything about it. I bought some pretty good stuff. Got me a $300 pair of socks. Got a fur sink. An electric dog polisher. A gasoline powered turtleneck sweater. And, of course, I bought some dumb stuff, too.’ Steve Martin

The other day, head down in a pile of admin I’ve been furiously ignoring for weeks, I distracted myself from the horror of spreadsheets with an improving podcast – from the ever-busy über entrepreneur, Tim Ferriss.

Tim Ferriss’ podcasts are excellent value if you’re interested in the habits of success. And who isn’t? Quite.

This episode featured Ray Dalio, founder and now Chairman of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates. He’s a billionaire investor, hedge fund manager and philanthropist.

That’s a lot of experience of money.

I found this fascinating. Because Ray’s world is an alien world to me.

I barely know what this guy does. It’s never been my thing. I’m a hypnotherapist and yoga teacher who has spent her whole career working with words. But I do know this. Money is a massive part of our culture.

When asked about what made him happy, what do you think he recalled?

Was it about making his first billion? Was it about buying his first million dollar house/car/island? Was it about waking up one morning this January to find himself named as being in the world’s top 100 wealthiest people?

No. No. And a big noooooooo.

What lights up Ray Dalio’s happiness heart?

It’s a memory from the early days of Bridgewater, when the team were pitched against the might of competitors like JP Morgans, to win their first big client, Kodak.

So was the happiness moment closing the deal? Scoring the big win over the competitors, in a David v Goliath moment? Partially. He acknowledges that.

But what he loved was the all-nighter with his colleagues where they ploughed through the research for their presentation and the team worked together, fuelled by beer and pizza, to make their own miracle happen.

And his conclusion? His happiness equation?

Meaningful work + meaningful relationships = happiness.

Yes. That’s it.

But it makes sense. 

Throughout history, humanity – even as pre-humanity – needed community to survive. Working together made the difference between surviving and not surviving. All the people who wandered off and got lost, or who hung about at the back of the hunting party, got eaten or didn’t get fed. 

Communities get stuff done. Communities keep each other going through the tough times. Yes, meaningful work helps you earn money too and that’s useful (unless you’re out there with your tribe hunting your own food) but go it alone and you miss a crucial happiness ingredient, according to Ray.

So what’s your definition of happiness? What’s your happiness equation? I’d love to know.