How to live a happy life by Sam Berns.

Sam Berns passed away on Friday.

Sam was 17 and his death was a result of complications from Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome, commonly known as progeria.

It’s a condition that affects only around 350 children in the world.

He had amazing philosophy on life.

When asked in an interview, “What’s the most important thing people should know about you?”

Sam replied, “That I have a very happy life”

Another great quote from Sam, in the video is, “Be ok with ultimately what you can’t do because there’s so much you CAN do”.

Sam’s life, in years, may have been limited but his inspiration is limitless.

 

 

How to live a happy life by Sam Berns

 

 

mr-happy-man

Below is a short film about a remarkable 88 year old man called Johnny Barnes.

Johnny gets up at 2am everyday, then makes his way to a busy roundabout junction where he wishes all the passing motorists a happy day.

 

mr-happy-man

 

He does this for 6 hours!

It’s not easy being happy but it’s worth it.

It’s a valuable life lesson from an 88 year old… Mr Happy Man.

 

Mr. Happy Man from Matt Morris Films on Vimeo.

 

mr-happy-man

I’d like to apologise to Meagan.

I lost my temper, really badly, recently and we argued.

Looking back on it now, I realise the source of this outburst was anxiety, about an upcoming event, amplified by tiredness.

This is why I’m going to start three morning affirmations and this is going to be one of them:

Treat life as an experiment.

 

ghandi-what-you-think-you-become-life-as-an-experiment

If I can burn this into my subconscious mind, then I believe I will have the ability to observe and analyse my emotions, rather react to them, which stresses me out.

I know this to be true.

Take this example.

When a scientist goes into the laboratory to carry out an experiment, they are not offended or upset by unexpected outcomes.

It’s no reflection on their ability as a scientist.

They’re just results, they’re not right or wrong, good or bad, they’re just results.

Objectively analysing these results allows them to adjust their experiment accordingly, in order to get closer to their desired output.

life-as-an-experiment

What would happen if you treated life like this?

For example, let’s take two different people’s reaction, to the same scenario.

Gary and Charlotte, go for a job interview.

Gary is desperate for the job and has no idea what he’ll do, if he doesn’t get it.

Charlotte, treats the interview as an experiment, to see if her method will be successful or not.

Neither of them get the job.

Gary goes home, feeling personally rejected, with low self esteem blaming himself (and or the interviewers) for the failure. He’ll almost certainly, not feel motivated or confident about tackling another job interview.

Charlotte, is intrigued why her experiment didn’t work and so seeks to analyse her results by questioning the interviewer.

The interviewer gives her valuable feedback, which she’s confident she’ll be able to incorporate, into her experiment, for her next interview.

 

life-as-an-experiment

At the next interview Gary does exactly the same as he did in the first interview and fails to get the job again.

Charlotte doesn’t go for a second interview. The interviewer was so impressed with her willingness to learn, they changed their mind and offered her the job.

Ok I made that bit up (to suit my experiment) BUT if you shoot for a target and miss then don’t adjust your angle, the next time you shoot, you’ll miss again.

If we rewire our brains to think of “failures” or “setbacks” as opportunities to learn, then we keep moving forward.

By treating life as an experiment we objectify it, removing our emotional attachment to it therefore making it easier to change or influence.

Life will always present all of us with unexpected outcomes. It’s how we react to them determines how successful we become.

Every+Adversity+Has+the+Seed+of+Opportunity+001a1

If we allow ourselves to become upset or personally offended, then we’re missing an opportunity to improve.

It’s less demanding, emotionally, to make, “adjustments”, rather than, “changes”.

In future, whenever I’m faced with challenging situation, I’m going to try my best not to say, “What if this goes wrong?” but to say, “Let’s see how this turn out”.

This is otherwise known as emotional intelligence.

After all, there is no right or wrong, just interesting results and a life experience to learn from.

life-as-an-experiment

 

In January 2012 I changed just one habit, in my daily routine, that caused me to lose over 2 stone in weight in 3 months.

Which means I went from this:

change-your-life

To this:

change-your-life

The habit I decided to change was not even that big a deal.

Being overweight and getting no regular exercise, I decided to stop taking the lift (elevator) and start taking the stairs, at work.

Our office is only 4 floors up.

It’s seem a ridiculous claim doesn’t it?

It turns out that taking the lift is a keystone habit.

Some habits are more important than others and changing a keystone habit will have a ripple affect on lots of other habits you undertake.

About two months after I started taking the stairs, I decided to start riding my bike into work.

This has lead to me cycling into work everyday, without missing a day, for over a year. I’ve since taken part in 3 half marathons.

change-your-life

In Charles Duhigg’s brilliant book, The Power of Habit, it’s stated that the most influential factor in the making or breaking of any habit is that of belief.

Once you have the belief all you need to do is identify 3 elements of a habit in order to change it. These 3 elements are the cue, the routine and the reward.

change-your-life

Based on this framework, I set up Happy Habits on HappyMap.

The premise is to create a Happy Habit within 21 days, which will help you think more positively.

The question is, do you have the belief that you can Hit the Happy Button 21 days in a row without a break?

If you do, then you have the belief to change the rest of your life.

If you’d like to take my 21 day happiness challenge you can do it by clicking HERE

dont-expect-to-see-a-change-if-you-dont-makeone-change-your-life

How I created happy habits in 21 days click> HERE

The other night, the local news was vying to get some attention, in the background, as Fred and I took part in our daily evening wrestle.

The object of the game, is for me to try to get Fred into his pyjamas, whilst he tries his best to wriggle away from me.

As Fred giggled and wriggled, I caught a sentence that made me stop wrestling and listen to the report.

happiness-anna-wardley-swimming

They were covering the story of a woman, who’d swam 60 miles non-stop around the Isle of Wight in a time of 26 hours, 33 minutes and 28 seconds.

The lady was Anna Wardley.

Quite a feat in itself but what really got me was how Anna ate. She would be handed a zip lock bag of rice pudding (from her support team) which she’d suck through a pipe, as she swam.

This is not the first time Anna has attempted such a gruelling swim.

This swim is part of a five-island challenge and follows completed swims around the island of Dragonera off Mallorca, Portsea and Jersey, last year.

Anna abandoned her attempt to swim around the Isle of Tiree in the Inner Hebrides in August after she began hallucinating from the effects of the cold water, and was unable to breathe properly.

Money raised during the five-island challenge will go to the Samaritans, Ellen MacArthur Cancer Trust and Sail Africa, which offers sailing courses for young people in South Africa.

As I watched this report, with Fred jumping on my neck, I was truly awestruck.

Anna Wardley had just demonstrated what the human body and mind are capable of, when they’re pushed to their absolute limit.

Here are some of things that make Anna happy….

 

What’s one personal habit, you do everyday, that makes you happy?

happiness-anna-wardley-stokes-bay

The thing I do everyday that makes me happier is walking my dog, Deefa, who I adopted from the RSPCA’s Stubbington Ark five years ago.

We walk down at Stokes Bay, every day come rain or shine, and it’s great to get the fresh air and exercise, and spend some time away from the stresses of everyday life.

 

What’s your favourite book?

anna-wardely-happiness-Hesse

It’s a close call between Herman Hesse’s Narcissus and Goldmund and Pets with Tourette’s.

The first option is all about seeking meaning in life and the conflict between the thinker and the artist, a favourite book of one of my best friends, Anne-Sofie, who we lost a few years ago to an aggressive brain tumour.

The latter is just extremely funny.

anna-wardley-happiness-Pet's-with-Tourette's.

 

What are you grateful for today?

My health, my friends, my mum, my dog Deefa and for everyone who has given up so much time to help me achieve my goals over the last few years.

 

What’s you favourite little pleasure?

LogFire-happiness-anna-wardley

My open log fire & my goose down duvet.


Which person do you think is inspiring and why?

happiness-anna-wardley-colin-de-mowbray

My dear friend Colin de Mowbray, who we lost a few years ago, who lived with such passion, joy and humour, and supported so many people in achieving their dreams.

 

What one event has been the most memorable in your life and why?

anna-wardley-swim-happiness

Swimming round the Isle of Wight in September 2013.

I’d spent two years with my team preparing for it, and my whole support team gave up so much time and invested so much energy in the project, so getting round on my first attempt felt like such a huge accomplishment.

The high you get when all the hard work pays off beats any high you’d get from winning the lottery.

 

Is there something that’s happened to you, which at the time was seemingly negative but eventually turned out to be positive?

anna-wardley-happiness

Not making it across the Channel on my first attempt in 2007.

I was swimming for 14.5 hours, and was pulled out of the water a couple of miles from the French coast suffering from exhaustion, shock and hypothermia.

I was slipping in and out of consciousness on the way back to Folkestone, and was hospitalised overnight.

At the time it crushed me as it shook my life philosophy that if you don’t give up, you’ll eventually get there.

But what I didn’t realise was that the journey was a bit longer than I thought at the time.

After a year without getting in the water, I decided to have another crack at it, spent a year training intensively and made it across on 28 September 2009 in 21 hours and 20 minutes.

The success tasted all the sweeter having not made it the first time.

_______

Anna-Wardley-Isle-of-Wight-happiness

Anna Wardley, 38, is an endurance swimmer based in Gosport, Hampshire.

She took up swimming in 2007 after reading an article about someone swimming across the Channel and decided she wanted to take on the same challenge.

Since then she has successfully swam the English Channel, the Gibraltar Straits, a 21-mile Double Windermere and the Hellespont Straits from Europe to Asia.

In 2012 she launched her Five Island Swim Challenge to cover 150 miles around the islands of Dragonera, Portsea, Jersey, Tiree and the Isle of Wight.

To date she has raised over £50,000 for charity through her swimming challenges.

Anna’s website: www.annawardley.com

Facebook: fiveislandswimchallenge

Twitter: @annawardley

Anna’s Linkedin profile.

Proof that Karma exists

 

Proof that Karma exists

 

All week on the radio show we’ve been giving away tickets to Disney’s new film, Planes.

We’d play a well known film clip, which happens to feature a plane and listeners text in with the name of the film.

We’d then randomly select a winner who would not only win 4 tickets to see, an advance screening of, the film but be put into a draw to win, a 2 day kitesurfing course.

So today, Friday, we had to select one more winner and do the draw for the overall winner of the week.

 

Proof that Karma exists

 

To get an overall winner, we wrote all the weeks winners on separate sheets of A4 paper, made them into paper air planes and the one that flew the furthest wins.

Anyway, we called the winner of the day, who correctly texted in, “Top Gun” as the answer of the film clip we played. Just as we’re about to reveal to her, on air, that she’s won 4 tickets and will also be going into the draw, her phone goes quiet.

For a good minute, we are saying, “Jane? …..hello? Are you there? Where’s she gone?”

We call her back… her phone just rings and rings.

 

Proof that Karma exists

 

So we hang up and try again but she doesn’t pick up. I spoke to her before she went to air, so I know she’d pulled her car over but it just keeps ringing.

At this point we start to worry for Jane but the show has to go on so we do the paper air plane based draw and out of five possible winners, guess who wins?

Yes Jane!

So we call her again and yet again her phone just rings and rings. In the end we have to go to the ad break.

A few minutes into the ad break, our phone goes and I recognise the number.

“Jane! What happened?”

“I’m so sorry I really am. I just saw a lady get knocked down by a car so being a first aider and first on the scene and had to help her, really sorry”

“Hey don’t be sorry, you did the right thing, that’s completely the right priority – is the lady alright?”

“Unfortunately she’s not in a good way but the police and ambulance turned up so I’ve handed over to them”.

I say, “Do you mind coming on the air now because some people might wonder what happened to you”

“No of course not”.

So Jane who did a good turn for someone else was not only randomly selected to win the cinema tickets out of lots and lots of people but she won the overall weeks prize.

You may think this is not so odd but here’s the twist….SHE DIDN’T ENTER THE COMPETITION!

 

Proof that Karma exists

 

What?! I here you say?

Just as I was about to put her to air she said, “What is this competition?”

“It’s the Disney Planes competition”

“I didn’t enter that”

“What?”

“I texted in earlier for a different competition but I’d prefer this one as my son loves Disney’s Cars and would love to see Planes and I’d love to try kitesurfing!”

So against all odds, she won a competition she didn’t even enter!

One good turn deserves another.

 

Proof that Karma exists

How big is your ROL?

I like to watch the stock market. It’s a hobby of mine.

 

How big is your ROL?

 

In fact it’s more than a hobby as I’m invested in several different companies.

I used to be obsessed with it. I’d spend several hours a day analysing different companies plugging all their financial details into a huge, formula laden, spreadsheet I’d diligently created.

After I’d filled out 15 columns of data, for each company, my spreadsheet would give me a score, out of a maximum of 35 upon which I’d base my decision to invest.

People often regard obsessions as unhealthy but in respects to learning this focused unswerving attention to detail is hard to beat.

 

How big is your ROL?

 

There’s a lot of financial jargon out there but one of the more well known abbreviations is ROI. It stands for return on investment and is basically a measure of how efficient, in money, an investment is.

This week I came across a different take on this concept called ROL, standing for return on life.

I read an article really worth reading by John Greathouse, who interviewed Tige Young, Founder and CEO of Tui Tai Expeditions.

Tige decided to give up his well paid job in silicon valley and start his expedition company motivated by what he calls ROL.

 

How big is your ROL?

 

He says, “You have one life, one chance to do things. And as you get older and look back, what are the things you’re gonna remember that were like, ‘Boy, that was a great decision, I’m really glad I did that.”

It’s a great way to look at life and when you think of it, probably the only way to look at life because, hopefully, we will all get to a ripe old age and wouldn’t it be nice to look back and know we had a massive ROL.

A great quote Tige recalled a local said to him once was, “May your memories live up to your dreams”.

 

How big is your ROL?

 

 

 

I recently read an amazing book.

 

This company really succeeds in Delivering Happiness...

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.

It’s the story of online shoe company, Zappos –  I know it doesn’t sound inspiring but believe me it is.

The CEO of the company is Tony Hsieh, who sold his first company, LinkExchange, to Microsoft for $265 million when he was just 25.

 

This company really succeeds in Delivering Happiness...

 

He then became instrumental in the set up of Zappos and when onto run it, which sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion in 2009.

What’s special about Zappos is that it’s succes is largely down to it’s unswerving devotion to, “Delivering Happiness” in the form of superb customer service.

It’s belief is that if you make the customer happy, everything will fall into line, including profits and so far it’s working.

As an example, in the book, Tony describes an occasion when he attended a shoe convention, in Las Vegas and ended up going on a bar crawl with friend, who worked for a rival company.

They ended up at their hotel, in the early hours of the morning, ordering room service only to be told that the hotel had stopped serving.

As a joke Tony suggested his friend call their companies 24 hour customer service line.

Don’t forget, this is a online shoe company we’re talking about.

Within minutes, without questioning the caller’s motivation, the customer service representative for Zappos was informing Tony’s friend of all the pizza restaurants, still open, within a 3 mile radius of their hotel.

 

This company really succeeds in Delivering Happiness...

 

Another example of their customer service practice would be alien to other companies.

If Zappos have a sold out of a shoe, a customer requires, they will direct them to a competitors website, who stock that particular shoe.

This customer satisfaction doesn’t come at a cost to the employees happiness either.

Zappos have an interesting but obvious recruitment policy. They don’t hire people just because their qualifications fit.

The potential employee has to fit their companies culture. They have to be the kind of person who would bring the right qualities to the company ie fun, quirkiness, positivity etc

If you have ambitions in the business world or just like reading inspiring stories then you’ll love this book.

I listened to it on audiobook whilst cycling into work and it took my mind off many strenuous hill climbs.

 

This company really succeeds in Delivering Happiness...

It’s been six weeks since our second son, Monty, was born and I don’t mind saying, we’re struggling.

difficult-times

The thing is, Monty is a monster, as far as eating concerned.

In the month and half he’s been in existence, his weight has gone from 7 pounds to 13 pounds.

That’s an 86% increase in body weight!

I’m 12 stone (168 pounds) so that’s the equivalent of me putting on 10 stone in less than two months (140 pounds).

difficult-times

I’d not only have to change my entire wardrobe, I’d probably have to wear it.

In order to achieve that amount of weight gain, I’d have to consume around 500,000 calories, over the 6 weeks, which averages out to around 12,000 calories a day, above my daily allowance.

This means I’d have to eat 14 meals a day and to do this I’d really have to put in some serious eating hours and to be fair to Monty he does.

If he goes more than an hour without eating he’ll scream the house down in the belief that he’s about to starve.

It wouldn’t be so bad if he could roll his chunky little frame out of his cot, pound downstairs and fill his own face from the fridge but he insists we (I say “we” loosely, as it’s mainly Meagan) do it.

This obsession with his weight gain is relentless, day and night it knows no bounds.

I normally fill his face last thing at night then hand over to Meagan who does the same, every other hour, throughout the night.

Due to this, round the clock feeding frenzy, Meagan and I are averaging around 5 hours sleep a day and it’s taking it toll.

Before I had children I often heard couples talk to each other about how their respective babies were sleeping and thought, “Big deal”. Now I know how big a deal it is.

There’s are not many bigger deals for impacting on your quality of life than sleep deprivation.

 

difficult-times

A while back I made a commitment to write a new blog post everyday for a year.

There’ve been times, mainly late at night, when with stinging, blood shot eyes and a pounding head, I’ve stared at a blank computer screen, with only one thought on my mind, “Sleeeeeeep”.

This happened the other night.

It was 11.10pm, I’d just handed Monty over to Meagan, my alarm clock was set for 4:20am and I’d not written a word.

I shut my computer down and headed off to bed.

On my way up the stairs I checked my emails on the phone.

I’d received an email from Peter.

I don’t know Peter but this is what he’s written:

Justin

At the risk of blowing smoke up your *rse, I just had to say how amazing I think your blog is.

We clearly live in difficult times, and life can sometimes feel like it’s got it in for you. It is therefore so welcome to see something positive and uplifting, something that gives you a rather better perspective on whether things are quite as bad as you might think.

Your blog does all that and more. Thank you.

I really look forward to reading it and have recommended it to others.

Keep well

Peter

difficult-times

Motivated by Peter I turned around, walked back down stairs, fired up my computer and started to write a new blog post.

Inspired by Monty, before I started writing the post, I visited the fridge for a quick snack / meal.

difficult-times

There’s two reasons why difficult times are good for us:

1. They make us stronger when we finally come out the other side.

2. There is another side and you can’t truly appreciate the highs if you haven’t experienced the lows.

 

 

 

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