You’ve decided that your one and only mission in life is to be happy.
You’ve spent some time getting to know yourself and doing some work on understanding what makes you tick – you’ve been listening to your body and watching your thoughts.
Now, it’s time for Step Three – Understanding Happiness
To get your head around the concept, who better to turn to than somebody often referred to as the happiest man in the world.
Mathieu Ricard was born into a world of philosophy and beaux-arts in Paris in 1946.
During a trip to India at the age of twenty one, he crossed paths some of the greatest Tibetan Buddhist teachers and a few years later decided to leave behind his life of scientific studies and rubbing shoulders with Paris’ elite to go in search of true happiness.
For over forty-five years he’s lived in a small hermitage in Himalayas as a monk where he’s turned himself into an international best-selling author and a prominent speaker on the world stage.
Ricard is celebrated at the World Economic Forum at Davos, forums at the United Nations, and at TED where his talks on happiness and altruism have been viewed by over seven million people.
He’s a man who, by bringing together science and spirituality, has captured the minds and hearts of people all over the world.
Ricard says there are myriad definitions of happiness, yet our greatest collective misunderstanding is our tendency to believe that happiness finds its origin in things that are external to us.
We see it as the people and possessions that make up our existence and spend so much time, money and effort on curating our own little museum of momentary joys.
We buy big houses we don’t need on mortgages we fear we’ll never pay off. We max out our credit cards on fancy clothes and flashy cars and luxury holidays.
We put our self worth in the reciprocated love, lust and attraction of others and we rate our likeability in the number of followers we have on Instagram.
We seek happiness in dopamine highs. We want more and more and bigger and better; it’s a never-ending pursuit and the goal posts are forever moving.
Ricard advocates that happiness comes from inner fulfilment rather than the gratification of inexhaustible desires for outward things.
He says that happiness is a state of mind; a purified way of thinking that is best achieved through meditation and taking control of your emotions.
It’s cultivated by being mindful of the present moment – by accepting it and embracing it without any desire to change it.
The true source happiness is inner peace.
Studying happiness is a way of keeping it at the forefront of your mind; a way of edging closer and closer towards your ambition.
And so, Step Three in Laurie’s Deadboss Guide to Being Happy is all about turning to what I like to call Happiness Heroes.
Ted Talks and YouTube are awash with them; everybody from Les Brown to Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey to Shaun Acre and Eckhart Toll to Malcom Gladwell. And bookshops are full of them too.
Go feed your brain with happiness. Pair together what you now know yourself with what others claim to know and from that you’ll form a conclusion.
Happiness is a skill, emotional balance is a skill, compassion and altruism are skills, and like any skill they need to be developed. That’s what education is about.
~ Matthieu Ricard