Happiness lessons from last night

Happiness lessons from last night

Not wanting to sound self-indulgent, I don’t often write about my own personal experiences but today, I’m going to make a minor exception. Last night I had one of the most incredible nights of my life and I think there are some happiness lessons to be learned for us all.

At 6.30 pm last night I began a presentation on the topic, not surprisingly, of using positive psychology to live a happier life and to work with more happiness and positivity. This, in itself, is not all that surprising but what was slightly different last night was the venue and my fellow collaborator.

First things first, the venue for my keynote address was the Sydney Opera House; my collaborator was the incredible Mr. Percival; and the audience was 70 or 80 of Sydney’s most influential business people, entrepreneurs, designers and creative people brought together by the amazing team behind UTS Business School’s Business 21C.

Now to put this all in perspective, not that long ago I was an academic and clinical psychologist who experienced quite extreme social anxiety in the context of public speaking of any form. I spent most of my time sitting in a room, with one other person, discussing the deepest and most personal of issues OR behind a computer screen conducting research and analysis. And now, I spend much of my time presenting to audiences of hundreds (sometimes thousands of people) and I love the fact that I’m getting what I believe to be an important message out there to so many more people than I could ever see one-on-one in my consulting room.

So how did a shy psychologist become a presenter who many last night seemed to think did a great job of holding the audience’s attention and entertaining them as well as informing…?

Well, to borrow a famous phrase, I had a dream…

And this is where, I believe, some happiness lessons come in. I believe what’s helped me achieve what I achieved last night, performing on a great stage with a great co-presenter in front of a great audience, might help you too so if you’re interested, then keep reading…

  • dream big; don’t settle for okayness but imagine a great life and strive for it every day
  • dream long; don’t expect things to happen over night but be prepared for happiness and success to take time
  • enjoy the journey along the way, not just when you “arrive”
  • work hard; I’ve not met a happy or successful person yet who in one way or other hasn’t worked hard to achieve their goals
  • surround yourself with people who are just as happy and successful as you’d like to be (including, for me, the incredible Mr. Percival and the Business 21C team AND, OF COURSE, my wonderful team at The Happiness Institute)
  • expect road-blocks; and be prepared to negotiate them as needed
  • go with your strengths; don’t try to be what you’re not; but find a way to be the best you can be and shape this for your happiness and success (whatever that means for and to you)
  • stick at it; practice and persevere

So that’s about it for now; if I can get to the Opera House and present on the same stage as one of Australia’s leading singer/performers then what can you do?

I hope you can find happiness!