I’m not a fan of the traditional hidden camera “prank” video as all the laughs seem to be at the expense of an unexpected victim.


At last a positive prank video


We have no idea what is really going on in the world of the victim.

They could be going through a rough patch so the last thing they want is to be humiliated on camera for the pleasure of strangers.

A good (or bad) example of this is the Devil Baby video.

Hidden camera prank videos don’t have to shock, scare or embarrass the participants to be funny. They can actually make them happy.

That’s why I loved the video below because it’s a positive prank video.




At last a positive prank video



The other day I visited a tenant who rents a house we own (by “we” I mean our family).

This person is a new tenant and I’d not met her before.

It was raining quite heavily, so I ran up the garden path, with my head down but as I approached, I noticed the front door slightly open.


How rude!


I knocked it and heard no sign, coming from the inside, of anyone coming to answer the door. So I nudged the exterior door slightly and knocked the inside door, to the living room.

Again no answer.

I looked at my phone, it was 13:05pm, five minutes after our arranged time to meet.

“Hello?” I near enough shouted, as I knocked the inner door again.

No answer.

I got my phone out and called the tenant, they picked up straight away, “Tracey?”


“It’s Justin”


“Hi, I’m outside”

“Oh ok, I’ll come out”


So I stood there.

One minute passed with no sign of the door opening. Fair enough maybe she’s doing a last minute tidy up.

Two minutes passed. If she was tidying up then its about time she realised its not going to get a lot better before I see the place.

Three minutes, then four, then five!

What was this woman doing? How rude!

She is getting on my nerves. She’s renting our house, this is our first meeting and she’s letting me wait outside with no consideration that I’m getting soaked in the rain.

Right that’s it I’ll call her again and sound seriously peeved.



“I’m still outside!”


“Hello?” Was this person mad?


“Hello, it’s Justin! I’m outside!”

“Hellllllooooooooooooooo over here”

I stepped away from the house, looked two doors down only to see a lady stand outside her front door with a phone in her hand waving at me saying, “Helllllllooooooooooo”

I was standing outside the wrong house.


How rude!


At the time I was getting quite heated but if there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s that it’s that Mark Twain was right (if indeed it was Mark Twain, it’s also been attributed to Carol Burnett and Woody Allen).

Tragedy can easily be substituted with stress, irritation or anger and most situations that start out with me experiencing these feelings can invariably be recalled with a smile my face.

The sooner I realise this the happier I’ll be.


How rude!


For the last 2 months I’ve been embroiled in an involuntary sleep deprivation competition with Meagan… and I’m losing.


I'm losing


I don’t know how we got to this stage but I’m pretty sure of the root cause, our three-month-old son, Monty.


I'm losing


Before I had children I used to hear parents talk about lack of sleep and think, “It can’t be too difficult if the biggest hardship is lack of sleep”.

I had no idea.

I should have realised how painful no sleep could be because I have been vaguely aware, for a long time, that the Nazis used sleep deprivation as, an effective instrument of, torture.

Surely this says it all because lets face it, when you think of the Nazi’s, you don’t think compassion.


I'm losing


The thing is, either we forgot how hard it was with Fred (our first son) or Monty is a lot more hard work.

It’s a completely reasonable assumption that we have forgotten given the pain and discomfort associated with birth.

What other reason could there be for any woman to voluntarily endure this experience a second time?

It’s almost like an evolutionary senility kicks in.

If we remembered how hard it was, the human race would die out and if we know one thing, its that, the primary raison d’être of any species, is to procreate and therefore increase its chances of survival.


I'm losing


Anyway back to the sleep competition.

It’s essentially a game of guilt and compassion.

We both want each other to get some sleep but once one of us achieves this, we feel guilty. We’re afraid to admit to it because we know the other is on the edge of exhaustion.

So confirming we’re rested, is not only an admission that we failing to pull our weight with Monty but it’s almost like rubbing the others, weary, face in our newly acquired vigour.


I'm losing


There aren’t any real winners in the game, as the leader is the person who feels the worse, due to lack of sleep.

No hang on, there is a winner, Monty but either he’s very humble in his victory or he’s too young to realise he’s winning.

 I'm losing


Here are some of many the many pictures that I’ve added to my HappyMap today.

1. Been here so many times.



2. I love the caption CNN used to introduce Mr T.




3. Caution…



4. I’ve had some bad haircuts but this is bordering illegal.




5. Just when you thought it was ok to relax.



I was watching the news on TV today and witnessed some truly shocking footage from Syria and asked myself the question: how can humans be so evil to each other and then I saw this story.


Dobri Dobrev is a man who lost his hearing in WWII.

He walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of Sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.




Though a well-recognised fixture around several of the city’s chuches, he’s known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors.

However it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has ever collected.


He has collected over 40,000 euros and donated all of it towards the restoration of decaying Bulgarian monasteries and churches and the utility bills of orphanages.

He lives entirely off his monthly state pension of 80 euros and the kindness of others.


How much money do you need before you smile?


How much money do you need before you smile?


Our second born, Monty, is nearly two months old and he’s started to smile.

Don’t get me wrong he’d started to smile before this but not for the right reasons.

Up until now I’d put my face quite close to his and sing, “Minty, Monty Moooo, Minty, Monty, Moooo” and I’d get a look from him that suggested, “What’s wrong with this guy?”

Then on the odd occasion I’d sing, “Minty, Monty, Moooo, Minty, Monty Moooo” and I’d get a smile.

I’d brighten up, believing it was my superb singing that had made him happy until I’d witness his face changing colour, from a red to a deep purple.

This would then be accompanied by a bit of straining and some gurgling noises, coming from the nappy department.

It’s a bit of a disappointment realising it was his bodily functions forcing a smile, rather than my musical genius.

How much money do you need before you smile?


Fortunately me being an adaptable lyricist I’d just add the words, “Minty, Monty, Mooooo are you having a poooo?” and it would work out ok.

Then last week I sang, the now familiar  “Minty Monty Mooo” and he started smiling again. So I added the extra lyrics and waited for the straining and nappy filling but it didn’t happen.

He was just smiling.

He was smiling at me and my song.

This is the first time this has happened.


How much money do you need before you smile?


Up until now he’s just cried for food and now here we are, 6 weeks on and his brain has developed enough to accommodate a sense of humour.

He’s discovered and expresses happiness, whereas before he only knew unhappiness.

Now he knows his basic need, hunger, will be met, he’s moved onto to a higher developed function, humour.

I thought about this for a bit and realised I could learn something from Monty.

In Monty’s world the only currency that has any worth is milk. It’s essential to his survival. This is a very much like adults with money.

If we don’t have enough money to take care of our basic needs like food and rent then it impacts happiness but once they’re covered, there’s no reason why even the simplest things can’t make us smile.


How much money do you need before you smile?


This conforms perfectly to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

Monty only needs a certain amount of milk to be happy.

If I started piling bottles of milk up next to him, to show him how much milk he has, it wouldn’t make him any happier, he only wants as much as he needs.

So the lesson here is, once you have enough money to take care of your basic needs, all you need to make you laugh is a simple idiot like me, shoving their face in yours, singing, “Minty, Monty, Moooo, Minty, Monty, Mooooo”.


How much money do you need before you smile?

One reason to keep going when the going gets tough.

Everyday I cycle to work.

I set myself the goal of doing it everyday, without fail.

I started doing it 18 months ago and I’m sure it’s getting harder.


One reason to keep going when the going get's tough...


Sure I’m getting older but I’m no less fit than I was when I started. I’ve even changed the tyres and pedals on my bike, to make road riding easier.

I’ve realised why, it’s become harder it’s all down to my mental attitude.

When you have to do something, it takes the spontaneous pleasure out of it.

It becomes routine.

And the trouble with routine is that it becomes a bit of a bind, an effort, like you’re on a never ending treadmill.

So how do I stop it becoming routine?


One reason to keep going when the going get's tough...


Easy, I do nothing, nature takes care of it.

I’ll give you an example.

The hardest days, I experience, biking to work, are the days where there’s extended periods of perfect conditions for riding.


Because if my bike is working properly and the weather is great, all I have to focus on, is myself.

I start to notice my legs tiring or my lungs struggling.

When its raining or my pedal is falling off my focus is directed away from my internal struggle to the external challenges.


One reason to keep going when the going get's tough...


For the last two weeks my seat has started to tilt backwards and oddly the result of this, has been my trousers slipping down.

I’d be aware my waistband gradually sliding down until it felt as if my backside was on display to all passing vehicles.

It slowly dawned on me why I was receiving more honks from overtaking cars, not because I was slowing them down but because I was mooning them.

So every couple of hundred yards, usually at traffic lights, I’d have to yank my trousers back up as high as they’d go to overcompensate for them slipping down.

I’d tried tightening up my seat but nothing seemed to work.

Then on Friday, as I rode in, my saddle went really slack, so I found myself straining to stop sliding, off the back, onto my back tyre.

Riding back home was even worse.

The seat had flipped right back so all I could do to stop myself being impaled on the pointy bit of the seat was stand up.

I never realised how hard it was to cycle standing up until that moment.


One reason to keep going when the going get's tough...


Every now and again, feeling the fatigue in my thighs I’d forget why I was standing up, go to sit down and get a cheeky reminder from behind.

Thankfully I took my seat to a bike shop on the weekend and they replaced a fractured bracket.

So today I rode in with a newly secured seat and it was a breeze (not down the back of my trousers I’d like to point out).

This is one reason to keep going when the going get’s tough because it make me a better rider when the going eases up.

Of course this ride on easy street won’t last for long before it becomes routine again.

So I’ve come to realise that I need to hit the potholes or bumps in the road, as it helps me appreciate the smooth parts, just as the uphill struggles helps me enjoy the downhill freewheeling.


One reason to keep going when the going get's tough...



Are you mentally fit?

A good way to tell is if you’re able to see the positive side of life.


Are you mentally fit?


It’s not impossible but it’s hard if you’re a bit of a negative thinker, which I’ve been for a lot of my life.

It’s like asking someone, who’s physically unfit, to run a marathon without any training.

The mind like the body can be trained, in fact the body can become a lot fitter if the mind is fit also.

I came across an excellent podcast from The Pursuit of Happiness Conference at Emory University, which the Dalai Lama attended.

One speaker that stood out to me was American sociologist and psychologist Corey L.M. Keyes who claims happiness is not just about feeling good but it’s also about, “Flourishing”.

Flourishing is, “to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience.”

Flourishing is the opposite of both pathology and languishing, which are described as living a life that feels both hollow and empty.

That is to say, mental health is not just the absence of mental illness, it’s presence of positivity and challenge.


Are you mentally fit?


This was easier for me to grasp in the physical sense.

Imagine somebody who isn’t particularly fit, as they do no regular exercise, but they also don’t have anything wrong with them ie a cold or flu.

They are not flourishing as they are, physically, not hitting their optimal level of fitness. They could be a lot fitter and so they are languishing.

This explains why a lot of people who quit their jobs, after coming into money, become bored and unhappy.

Why do multi-millionaires still get up early to work hard? Because they’re flourishing.

So how do we flourish?

We challenge ourselves to do the best we can otherwise we’re not functioning as we’re supposed to.

Why buy a Ferrari and never drive it above 30 mph? Isn’t that what life’s about?

As far as we know we’re only here once, shouldn’t we try to do the best we can with what we’ve got?


 Are you mentally fit?



the Happy ?

Enter a name, email address, song, movie, Twitter user, Facebook friend, brand, business or website.

Follow Me