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Richard Branson: happiness equals success

by Sellick Partnership | 15 February 2018

I have recently read Richard Branson’s “My tips for happiness in 2018” which has inspired me to write about something I am really passionate about… personal happiness. The reason I have become so passionate about this topic is not only because of my own personal happiness, but because I have many candidates coming to me when they have realised they are unhappy in their current place of work. 

If you haven’t already, I would highly recommend reading the article. The article is about him putting his success, wealth and connections down to his personal happiness. Many people would argue that his success is a result of his hard work and determination, however he is pretty adamant he would never have had as much success if he hadn’t have found happiness, and he goes on to explain why…

He outlines that people get caught up in doing what they think will make them happy, but in his opinion this is where they fail. He believes that happiness is not about doing, it’s about being. I think it’s fair to say we all get caught up in our ‘plans’ and don’t actually just appreciate the moment. We are forever planning holidays, day trips and adventures and once it’s all over the holiday blues set in again. Richard makes a valid point that alongside the ‘to-do’ lists we should have ‘to-be’ lists, and give ourselves the end objective of being content and happy with our lives. 

He goes on to say there are social expectations on us as human beings to go to school, go to college, get good grades, get a job, get married, have a child and then you’ll be happy. But that is all doing, rather than being. “Stop and breathe. Be healthy. Be around your friends and family. Be there for someone, and let someone be there for you. Be bold. Just be for a minute.” is the advice Richard gives and it connects very closely with the practice of mindfulness  –  just be present, be in the moment, think about all the things you are happy for and count your blessings… Even just doing that now as I am writing this has already changed my outlook and mood for today.

As human beings we have a strong cognitive ability. We are able to think, communicate, understand, love, reconcile and move, which does set us apart from other species. These abilities do however cause us to overthink and compare ourselves to others (it’s not hard to in this day and age) but this can cause negative thoughts and lead to a life of unhappiness. Richard stresses that "we shouldn’t waste our human talents by worrying about nominal things, or that which you cannot change..." instead we should be focusing our energy on the present, things we are grateful for, things we have achieved and things that make us content with life. 

The final point Richard makes is that “happiness shouldn’t be a goal, it should be a habit”. I for one think it should be a daily habit and even on the worst of days, we should take some time to re-focus our minds and be a spectator of our own thoughts.  Once you are there and have happiness, success will naturally follow and people will want to be around you, learn from you, and eventually, be you. 

I am a strong believer that all of Richard’s advice can be put into practice at our work places too. You need to enjoy your job and the people you work with, it needs to be a place you feel not only safe, but challenged and motivated. However, if you believe you have tried everything to get happiness from your job but are still not happy, then perhaps it is time to make a career change or look for an environment that will support the growth of your inner happiness. 

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