The key to happiness

Harvard psychologist Shawn Achor unveils the key to being and staying happy, we can re-programme our brains, trust him he’s a psychologist!

I know the third and fifth are pretty crucial for my happiness and I’d like to work on practising gratitude and meditation. Which have helped you?

1. 3 gratitudes
2. Journaling
3. Exercise
4. Meditation
5. Random acts of kindness

Robin Williams – Mork’s lesson

Mork And Mindy
“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Anchoring – the power of our senses

From a very early age anchoring becomes part of our hard wiring, locked deep into our neurology. Those little neurons go crazy programming certain situations and how they make us feel. I remember being given a mixed CD from a family friend when I was about 10, Toto’s Africa always makes me feel a certain way.

Anchoring can be used to create responses, both good and bad. We can all find anchors and fire them to change the mood of ourselves and others, hopefully for the better. The more senses are engaged in an anchor (sound, smell, visual, taste, touch) the stronger the emotion. So pretty useful to be able to fire certain anchors before a presentation.

NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) can be used for personal development as a model for learning, tapping into our behavioural patterns and self-awareness, to create those positive anchors. It gets a lot of criticism and here’s a pretty good blog post about the pros and cons.

“Neuro-Linguistic Programming n. a model of interpersonal communication chiefly concerned with the relationship between successful patterns of behaviour and the subjective experiences (esp. patterns of thought) underlying them; a system of alternative therapy based on this which seeks to educate people in self-awareness and effective communication, and to change their patterns of mental and emotional behaviour.” – [Oxford English Dictionary]

Surely having some positive anchors can’t be a bad thing – being aware of what some of our triggers are and being mindful of them? I know certain tracks are a positive anchor for me, what are some of yours?

3 months into On Purpose…

I’ve been freelancing for 5 years or so now, so I’m very used to working to contract lengths and deadlines. In fact I love working to contracts. So why is On Purpose any different?

We do two six month placements, April-Sept 2013 and Oct-April 2014. I have moments when it feels like a ticking time bomb. We’re encouraged to do feedback sessions with our placement, to check how we’re doing and help build the relationship. Have you ever done a feedback session? I don’t think I ever had before and in my head it felt a bit uncomfortable but it was actually an amazing experience. Perhaps I’m lucky with my placement.

So back to the ticking time bomb. At the end of September I want to see the impact I’ve made, on projects I’m solely running. I’m very used to working in a team of people as an Account Director with creatives, planners, other account handlers to support. Now it’s just me. This is the most accountable I’ve ever been. Oh shit. I hope I do a good job. They’ve said I am, so it’s pressure I’m putting on myself. And that’s the point, challenging yourself outside your comfort zone and taking a leap.

So instead of a ticking time bomb, I’ll think of it as a leap off a cliff, into a lovely sea with a few waves. But I’ll be fine because I love swimming.


Starting a career in social enterprise – the On Purpose leadership programme

I love the advice in this film, I’ve watched it 5 times (so far):
What makes you really itch?
What if money was no object?
How would you really like to spend your life?

For the last few years I’d been asking myself  ‘what do I desire’, really desire.
I’d been lucky to work in some great agencies and meet so many amazing people but I didn’t see it being my career forever.

I’d always, right from the start of my career, felt that business should have social value and give something back. It’s not just for stakeholders to profit from. Suddenly 10 years later everything is starting to piece together.

I started this blog as an exploration and went to a talk Escape the City were running with On Purpose:

‘We believe there is a better way of doing business that can help solve many of society’s most intractable problems. We find and work with the best professionals to develop the next generation of social enterprise leaders who have the commitment to tackle these problems by harnessing the power of business for social and environmental good.’

A few months later, after 4 stages of the rigorous interviews, I got offered a place on the On Purpose leadership programme. I start the placements in April.

I’d been considering doing a Masters but wanted to do something practical still. On Purpose is the perfect blend. You do two placements, at two different companies, for six months each (full time). They’re all leading organisations like Social Enterprise UK, Big Issue Invest, Deloitte CR and you’re given specific projects to run.

Every Friday you have training out of the office, with leading experts. You don’t get a certificate at the end or take exams (thank god) but it has a strong business focus, so it’s like an MBA.

Probably one of the biggest pro’s of the programme is the networking opportunities, meeting people doing so many inspiring things. I can’t wait.

As he advises in the video ‘forget the money…better to have a life full of doing what you want to be doing’.

On Purpose are recruiting for their October cohort at the moment. So if you believe business can be done a different way, maybe the programme’s for you

José Mujica donates 90% of his salary: the world’s poorest or richest president?

José Alberto Mujica Cordano was elected the Uruguayan president in 2010. He’s not only a vegetarian but he’s a very kind man. He’s known as the ‘world’s poorest president’ quite an accolade, as he donates 90%, yes 90% of his salary to charity and small entrepreneurs. He takes home around £485 and donates £7,500.

He’s described as an ‘anti-politician’ and a man ‘who speaks the language of the people’, no surprise then that he created the Movement of Popular Participation and is a lefty. Some may think he’s an eccentric man but his actions make a lot of sense:

This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself” the BBC reported.

The Uruguayan leader made a similar point when he addressed the Rio+20 summit in June this year “We’ve been talking all afternoon about sustainable development. To get the masses out of poverty. But what are we thinking? Do we want the model of development and consumption of the rich countries? I ask you now: what would happen to this planet if Indians would have the same proportion of cars per household than Germans? How much oxygen would we have left? It is this level of hyper-consumption that is harming our planet” – hear hear

Some think he’s mad, I say he’s a hero and understands life. Surely this makes him the richest president.

The Kindness Cab

Last year Leon Logothetis gave free rides to strangers in his kindness cab, raising over £10,000 to fund books for This year he did the Mongol Rally with his team mates, nicknamed the Flying Dutchman, and 10,000 books were donated to

He swapped his life as a city broker to pursue his dreams to travel the world and spread kindness: “If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.” –Frank A. Clark

Sunday Sermon Challenge: #Treasure Chest

Life can sometimes be shitty. Yesterday I woke up wondering if the last few weeks had been a dream, I hoped they had. I’ve had the saddest news of my life but also the best, all within the space of a week.

I’ve been trying to be positive about the sad news but am just not even close yet. Everyone else seems to be doing ok, so why aren’t I? Does this make me selfish?

Rich Sullivan kindly sent me the below. He teases me about my blog so I’ll get him back by mentioning him! I’m not religious and although my blog title has religious connotations, it’s the sentiment that’s important.

The School of Life do a Sunday Sermon and if anyone has been, they’re pretty inspirational. So today’s post is a little Sunday Sermon, a challenge in fact, after watching Anthony Robbins in the below. It’s not for everyone but do stick with it until the end, it’s 30 minutes. The Foundation he set up and background on him is here – the stats and accolades are very impressive and can’t be dismissed.

What the hell is a Treasure Chest?

We all may have times when we overreact, when things have layered up and up, so it can create an overwhelming reaction that seems disproportionate. Anthony refers to this as emotional flooding. The remedy? Build a treasure chest of your happiest memories, so you’re flooding your nervous system with positive emotions.

When I got the awful news 2 weeks ago, I went home to see my dad (my mum was over in the US sorting a few things out). Seeing my dad and brother, sitting in the garden, looking through family photo albums, helped fill my treasure chest.

We can all create a positive impact for others and getting out of our ‘self’ is something we can all train at. What’s in your treasure chest?