Posts Tagged ‘Home life’

Desperately seeking happiness!

May 16, 2011

“The pursuit of happiness is a most ridiculous phrase; if you pursue happiness you’ll never find it.”
– C. P. Snow (1905 – 1980)

I’m fascinated by the idea of happiness. I have been since I read that the south Pacific island of Vanuatu as the happiest nation on the planet and the UK is ranked 108th by the Happy Planet Index. The UK Government is now even trying to get us happier!

My question is: what is happiness and how do you make it..? There are many recommended books out there on analysing and finding happiness, including:

  1. The Art of Happiness, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Handbook for Living by 14th Dalai Lama
  2. The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom
  3. And Stumbling on Happiness

However, I’ve not read any of them because I don’t think the answer is in a book. It is in us and our relationships..

Of course pondering on happiness is nothing new. Philosophers have been thinking about it for centuries! Aristotle, 384 BC – 322 BC,  said “Happiness depends upon ourselves” and  Thucydides, 471 BC – 400 BC, “The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage”.

Money Love

It seems more and more money does not make you happy. I remember my mother wisely saying “Money does not make you happy, but it does help”. And I think she was right to an extent. A survey of 1,000 Americans found that “happiness rose in line with salary, but only until people earned $75,000 a year, the equivalent of around £50,000”.

So perhaps Benjamin Franklin is correct, when he said in the 17th century, “Money never made a man happy yet, nor will it. There is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more a man has, the more he wants. Instead of its filling a vacuum, it makes one. If it satisfies one want, it doubles and trebles that want another way…” 


True Love

As a company founder I love to think this as the answer: “Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort”. – Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945), which comes from the courage and freedom to make your own company. However I think and feel it’s a little more than that. Afterall, Franklin’s wife Eleanor Roosevelt did say, “Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.”

I believe Aristotle when he said almost two and a half thousand years ago, “Happiness depends upon ourselves” and Bronnie Ware quotes today in her wonderful REGRETS OF THE DYING  post, “I think I wish that I had let myself be happier:

5. This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content. When deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.

When you are on your deathbed, what others think of you is a long way from your mind. How wonderful to be able to let go and smile again, long before you are dying.

Life is a choice. It is YOUR life. Choose consciously, choose wisely, choose honestly. Choose happiness”.

I think the answer to being happy lies in Bronnie’s first four points:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me. – Fulfill your dreams while you can!
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard. – Simplifying your lifestyle and work to spend time with children and partner.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings. – Become who you are truly capable of.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends. – Give time to and enjoy your golden friendships.
  5. I think I wish that I had let myself be happier. – You can, so start now!

“It all comes down to love and relationships in the end”. – Bronnie Ware

P.S. Thank you to @tewy ( via @trepca @paulg) for sharing Bronnie’s post many months ago through Twitter 🙂 And to Bronnie for her post!

Startup vs Home Life

September 9, 2010

I Love my home life (family, friends and adventure). I also love my startup. Like my children it embodies the future! With all this love to spread around, there’s not enough time for everything. I’m not alone in this startup vs home life situation. One of my good startup friends is in the extremely intense phase of finishing his app, Annot8, before launch. He’s working all hours!! His kids now think his office is ‘Daddy’s house’. From all I’ve read startup, home life, and physical/mental well-being needs to be carefully balanced to help make a successful startup.

The trouble starts, as it inevitably does, when a startups becomes an obsession. Driven from a desire to succeed and too much to do, a startup can take over your entire mind. Until you think and talk of little else.  You become so connected to your startup your emotions are driven by the highs and lows of the company. Obsession is not all bad. It pushes and creates. However there is a personal price to pay:

  1. Family life suffers –  My blogger friend Giff recently talked about entrepreneurship and parenthood saying ‘young kids take a huge amount of time, require flexibility, and put a lot of constraints on a founders schedule’. His excellent point is that the only answer is ‘compromise’. Like most things in life its a balancing act. You have make time for both life’s. In Steve Blanks great post, ‘Lies Entrepreneurs Tell Themselves’ he very honestly talks about the need to be realistic why you’re starting-up. It’s often for selfish reasons and not thinking of others!
  2. Your body suffers – In Mark Suster’s ‘The Yo-Yo life of tech entrepreneurs’ post Mark talks about how your body suffers with weight gain. You more often eat unhealthy food and may consume more alcohol. You have less time for exercise. This isn’t good. We all know exercise is great for stress relief. I’ve certainly found it challenging to keep training whilst growing our startup. Be strict and make time for your body.
  3. And you Mind suffers too – It seems to achieve great things one needs to leave the norm behind. ‘There is a fine line between entrepreneurship & insanity’ – Anita Roddick. To be great you have to concentrate on one thing. You can see this in any great sports person. However total concentration without any relief builds-up both physical and mental exhaustion. You ‘burn out’! The uncertainly of startups can also cause you to constantly worry. Here’s a interesting post on what a founders wife sees in her husbands start-up. Take a break from your startup and recharge your mental batteries.

When you become obsessed by your startup everything else suffers: your body, your personal relationships and ultimately your startup! The startup journey is a marathon. As founders we cannot do it on our own. We need a support mechanism. We must have help from family, friends and help ourselves. By isolating ourselves in our startup obsession we cut off the very support that can help us to succeed. Mike from crowdSPRING has some great tips on managing this difficult balancing act of life and startups.

I’ll leave you with one final thought from a great obsessive man: If A is a success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut”. – Albert Einstein