Motivational speakers amongst other things, try and get people to be happy or at least make their own happiness.
Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Hutton, Alfried Krupp, Marilyn Monroe, John D. Rockerfeller, Aristotle Onassis and Imelda Marcos. If they couldn’t find happiness, can we?
What makes people really happy? Why is it that some of us who have very little to show for the fruits of our labour are ecstatic with life and some of us, who have the means to be happy, are miserable?
In her book, The World’s Wealthiest Losers (ISBN 1-85152-866-0), Margaret Nicholas chronicles the lives of people who ostensibly “have it all”. They end up miserable, friendless or just plain mean. She’s included the following in her list: Gloria Vanderbilt, Barbara Hutton, Alfried Krupp, Marilyn Monroe, John D. Rockerfeller, Aristotle Onassis and Imelda Marcos.
Here’s what she says about J. Paul Getty: The world’s richest man was impoverished in almost every way, apart from his money. Married five times, every marriage ended in divorce. His four older sons feared him. His youngest, Timmy, died when he was only 12.
According to Nicholas, Howard Hughes led a tragic last 15 years of his life: In a penthouse bedroom in Las Vegas, a solitary man sits in a darkened room. He is eating chicken soup. His naked body is emaciated and both hair and beard hang in lank strands as far down as his waist. His nails are like talons. Howard Hughes spent the last 15 years of his life in darkened rooms, moving from one to another at the dead of night. His diet was so appalling that he suffered from acute malnutrition. For his funeral his relatives had to buy a decent dark suit for him to be buried in.
People like Anthony Robbins, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Deepak Chopra, Dale Carnegie and Norman Vincent Peale have wrestled with the “happiness” question and have some great insights into the topic.
Let’s take another look through the eyes of authors that aren’t as exposed as our usual suspects. Martin Seligman and Don Miguel Ruiz explore some new ways that we can find a path to happiness.
Martin Seligman in his book Learned Optimism (ISBN 0-671-01911-2) makes a case for being optimistic. He says that life inflicts the same setbacks and tragedies on optimists as on pessimists, but optimists weather them better. The optimist bounces back from defeat, and, with his life somewhat poorer, he picks up and starts again. The pessimist gives up and falls into depression. Because of his resilience, the optimist achieves more at work, at school, and on the playing field. The optimist has better physical health and may live longer.
In The Four Agreements (ISBN 1-878424-31-9), Don Miguel Ruiz has another take on how to be happy: – Be impeccable with your word. Your words have real power. Use them wisely and always talk yourself up; never down. – Don’t take anything personally. Nothing other people do to you is because of you. It is because of them. – Don’t make assumptions. By making assumptions we’re asking for problems. We misunderstand, we take it personally and we end up creating a drama out of nothing. – Always do your best. No more and no less.
With 60 000 thoughts going through our minds every day (most of them negative, unhappy thoughts), finding happiness will be a true, never-ending journey of discovery. Challenge yourself to find out what really makes you happy and then take massive action to achieve it.
Live on Purpose! Jacques de Villiers – motivational speakers