A word about self-belief and the pursuit of happiness
A lot of people ask me how I got so lucky with Luscious and get to do what I love for a living…
Well, it’s a long story but there’s one crucial element: I decided years ago to devote myself to taking on things that I really loved in the hope that the money would follow.
I’ve had many hideous jobs along the way, met lots of people I wished I hadn’t, and lived off $20 a week and out of my car. Not so glam. But I’ve had enough self-belief to say “if you pursue something you’re passionate about, it will all work out for the best.”
Idealistic? Yes. Impractical? Perhaps at first. But I can see the rewards flowing in every day now, emotionally, physically and financially.
Perhaps my self-belief has been delusional, but I guess I’m here to say it can work and I think it’s because of this: If you really believe in and are passionate about something, you’ll enjoy yourself even during the hard times, and the idea of creating a fabulous future will keep you motivated.
When the pursuit of money gets in the way of the pursuit of happiness
People ask me for career advice quite a lot these days and I always ask them, “What would you do if money was no object?”
They always laugh at me and roll their eyes, looking at me like I’m a lunatic, but once they think it through, it’s amazing how their perspective changes, and I’m proud to hear stories from them later about taking new paths and pursuing their dreams.
I’m not saying it’s easy – clearly you don’t become an astronaut just by wishing it to be true – but why waste your life doing something you hate or barely tolerate, because you’re scared about the consequences? Take a risk and accept that there will be struggle along the way, and that you will make mistakes. But remember that with bad comes good, and it’s up to you to extract that goodness.
Don’t get me wrong, you still need to responsible (sadly, I wasn’t always in my early years, which taught me the hard way) – you can’t stop paying the mortgage and leave your dependants to search for food out of a public rubbish bin, but there are small ways to start moving towards your dream.
Take baby steps to work towards a career in Happiness
- Put more energy into developing your idea as a hobby – you might find that it expands organically to become a business anyway.
- Find half an hour a day to write up a “personal business plan” – treat it seriously with a risk analysis to work out where the holes are, eg. maybe you need to do more study in order to make a career transition.
- Consider people to network with who might be able to help you develop into your chosen area of interest.
- Talk your plan over with family and friends (the ones who’ll encourage you and take your ideas seriously) to see whether they think your idea is viable and how you could improve upon it.
- Search online forums for people have pursued similar interests.
- Start saving a few dollars to enable a safety net or to invest in resources – it doesn’t have to be much, and often it’s the pyschological act of saving which can be motivating. Remember the goal is not about money, it’s about the way you think.
Find a mentor
One of the smartest things I ever did was to find a mentor. In my case, it’s Sally Browne, a former fashion designer who was particularly big in Australia in the 70s and 80s, who now travels the world doing adventurous things and mentoring young women. Sally is a dynamo!
One of the reasons I approached Sally to become my mentor was that she talked about how she’d failed along the way but always picked herself up again. And look at her now! She admitted that men were her weakness and had lost her business at least once to a former husband and had to raise her multiple children along the way as well as startover.
She put her vulnerability out for show and I liked that she was honest and fallible – and still standing in front of me with a massive smile on her face – clearly she was a winner! It certainly resonated with me (having made many business mistakes along the way, often through gullibility and “trying to be nice” – d’oh!) and I loved her get-up-and-go-spirit.
BTW, many business organisations offer mentor programs these days, but you could also search online communities such as LinkedIn or write up a list of people you admire in your field of interest.
I wasn’t interested in fashion design (Sally’s original career) but I was interested in finding a strong businesswoman who had mixed her creative abilities with a professional industry.
Approach several people not just one, as most of the ones who are worth their salt are probably super busy pursuing their dreams that it will be tricky to find time to mentor, but you might also find that they’re so happy with their place in the world that they’re also happy to step back and share it with others.
Read about interesting people
One way to find motivation is to listen to the stories of those who’ve achieved personal success. Naturally, it would be hard to track them down individually and ask them to have a coffee with you, but some of the more famous ones have usually written a book about their experiences, and others have had it documented through film.
Obviously, a lot of them are associated with financial success, but I see this as bonus rather than the core to being happy. It’s hard to name people who have been personally successful in their own wonderful way but in their own backyards, but you and I know both know they are out there. You may know some of them already, and you should definitely ask them to relate their story if possible. I guess “rags to riches” stories get much more coverage than “unsung heroes” such as local heroes who might be just as deserving of our praise.
You can Google terms such as “inspiring” , “motivational” and “self-made” but here are a few names to get you started…
(Note: you don’t need to necessarily adore these people to appreciate that they worked hard to achieved success in their chosen field, and also note that I have assumed these people have found happiness, but only they can confirm it!)
- Benjamin Franklin, inventor and politician
- JK Rowling, writer
- Dorothy Hodgkin, scientist
- Florence Nightingale, social reformer
- I M Pei, architect
- Henry Ford, industrialist
- Ralph Lauren, designer
- Audrey Hepburn, actress and humanitarian
- Ray Kroc, McDonalds
- Oprah Winfrey, media guru
- Andrew Carnegie, industrialist
- Emmeline Pankhurst, suffragette
- Chris Gardner, financier
- Heston Blumenthal, chef
- John D. Rockefeller, industrialist
- Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States
- Louise Hay, health and happiness expert
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon
- Rosa Parks, social reformer
- Elizabeth I, Queen of England
- Thomas Edison, inventor
- Yo-Yo Ma, musician
- Estee Lauder, businesswoman
- Helena Rubinstein, businesswoman
- Maya Angelou, writer
- George Lucas, film producer
- Joan of Arc, freedom fighter
- Jane Austen, writer
- Bill Gates, Microsoft
- Larry Ellison, Oracle
- George Takei, actor
- Harriet Beecher Stowe, anti-slavery advocate
- Norman Vincent Peale, writer
- Indira Gandhi, politician
- Marie Curie, scientist
- Billie Holiday, performer
- Mahatma Gandhi, social reformer
- John Lennon, musician
- Tom Hanks, actor and gay rights activist
- Barack Obama, politician
- Mother Theresa, nun
- Dr Ruth Westheimer, relationships expert
- Ellen DeGeneres, entertainer
- Galileo Galilei, scientist
- Helen Keller, writer and activist
- Richard Branson, entrepreneur
- Coco Chanel, designer
- Ang Lee, film director
- Thomas Jefferson, politician
- Marilyn Monroe, actress
- Walt Disney, animator
- Mary Wollstonecraft, early advocate for women’s rights
- Shunpei Yamazaki, inventor
- Edward R. Murrow, journalist
- Nelson Mandela, politician
- Vera Wang, designer
- Winston Churchill, politician
- Howard Hughes, entrepreneur
- Katharine Hepburn, actress
- Steve Jobs, entrepreneur
- Martin Luther King Jr, civil rights activist
- Amelia Earhart, aviatrix
More inspiration to help you do what you love for a living
My idea about pursuing your dreams clearly isn’t original, but does it matter? Here’s a quick video which reinforces the idea:
What are your thoughts on pursuing happiness for a living? Are you working on it? How’s it going? What tips can you share with others trying to change their path? Who do you find inspiring? Leave a comment below.