What is a happy life?

Sagrada Familia
Sagrada Familia Cathedral: credit J Salmoral

I watched a TEDx video of Ted Leonsis, internet millionaire and author of the Business of Happiness. He spoke of the research into what leads to people living happy lives.

  1. Quality of relationships: Are you connected? Do you feel connected? Do you feel significant?
  2. Productivity of units of work: Do you get stuff done in a disciplined and habitual fashion? Are you creating a steadily growing Body of Work? (body of work; Noun. the total output of a writer or artist)
  3. Self-actualization: high levels of personal expression. Blog. Tell the world what you think. Be heard (I think the important aspect is feel heard. Do you feel heard? Who cares when you speak? Is that because you speak rubbish or because you haven’t earnt permission to be heard?)
  4. Impact on communities we serve: Get out of “I” and into “We”.
  5. Pursue a higher calling: Make money, but make it to build something important. What would you build if you had unlimited funds? How can you start building it with the limited funds you have now?

Ted offers a couple of actions that can help enrich life:

  1. Embrace reckonings:  Learn from the crap that happens to you. 
  2. Envision via life lists: Dream and make lists. If you don’t ask you don’t get. Same with Santa, same with life.  Law of attraction stuff.
  3. Human file server: Share opportunities with the people you care about. Look for ways to help them succeed.
  4. High levels of personal expression: Blog every day. Be heard. Do art. Sing. 
  5. Empathy: Learn to listen. 
  6. Get out of “I” and into “we”: Stop asking “what is in it for me?” and at least move to “what is in it for us?”…  even better might be “what does [important person in my life] need most from me right now?”
  7. Pursue a higher calling: Make money. Use it to build cathedrals, not bank accounts.
I am lucky to be in Dublin with my family for Christmas this year.  A lot of people have been affected by the severe weather in northern Europe and have not been able to be where they planned to be today.  I hope you enjoy your Christmas wherever you happen to be.  All the best from a well fed, couple of wine glasses and sitting by the fire Conor with my macbook while the kids play games for kids.