How to be both happy and successful

1:  It’s not the world around you that determines your happiness; it is how you see the world around you.

Two people sit next to each other on a bench in a shopping centre. Neither has much money to their name. Neither has an appointment to keep or anything else to do. One is extremely happy, the other extremely miserable.

Of course, there can be many reasons why each feels this way, but imagine this: one is miserable because he/she has just been made redundant, is bored, and has nothing to do. The other has just been made redundant, but has always wanted to write a book and now has all the time necessary and is observing the people walking by and considering them as characters for the novel.

The moral is, the world is what you make it.

2:  Sometimes do nothing

In a society like ours it can be difficult to do nothing. We rush from place to place, get the meal in a hurry, check the clock, and generally keep going. It is not a recipe for happiness. When we do stop we suddenly find we need to fill up the time so we turn on TV or start working our way through Facebook.

But there is a huge amount to be said for spending some time just sitting, looking, listening, considering. Even if it is very difficult for you to do it, find just five minutes a day to sit, or lie down, and stop.

Then when you have got that sorted, try ten minutes. Then 15. No one ever became successful without actually putting some thought into it. No worry, just free flowing thought.

3:  Get to know yourself better

Most of us have only a hazy idea of who we are simply because we never bother to think about it. We have automatic answers to questions of our identity, expressed in terms of our job or our family. etc. But we are all so much more than that.

Consider yourself, your personality, how others see you, your good bits, you bad bits. And then, very gently, think what is in your power to change.

And if you find a bit within you that isn’t so good, think about how to make it better. Tackle something very small, and then feel good about that change. Then move up to something bigger.

4:  Do something good

Much of the time we do what we have to do – what life pushes us into. We work, we feed the family, we sort out problems, we plan.

But just finding something good to do can give you a very positive feeling. It could be just ten minutes work on clearing out a room that is in a mess. You know that will not finish the job, but it’s a start. You can do another ten minutes another day. It could be visiting a friend who is not well. It could be getting in touch with someone whom you have lost touch with…

5:  Take control

It is your life after all. So why not make it YOUR life, rather than a life controlled by others?

OK, the children need feeding, the bills need paying, there’s always something to do, but, as with all change, start small. Today, take control of your life for five minutes. Five minutes in which you simply do something just for you.

Tomorrow, up that to seven minutes. And don’t worry if on the third day you just don’t get around to it. Don’t give up. Try again the next day.


These are indeed just five simple steps. So simple they seem trivial. But they can indeed change your life and make you happier and more successful – if you give them a chance. Sometimes it just needs that step back, so you have a little more time to find out what you really want to be and what you really want to do.

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