This is the jounery of relationships, growth,
and Eventually Happiness!

Reading back some of the life hacks below, I felt a little bit embarrassed, it sounds like I have everything figured out and living the perfect life. Obviously, this is not the case, though if anyone has figured it all out, please let me know as I’m still learning and growing as human being, and any pointers would be greatly appreciated!

The big question I have asked myself is, what is happiness? Feeling happy? What does this even mean? Is it an emotional state of contentment? I’m not sure I like the idea of that, being content almost feels like it is giving up, I’m done! Theres nothing left to do here, I’ve found utopia! What I like the sound of more is having positive emotions, improving myself and feeling satisfied in the direction I’m going, maybe having an aim to achieve more and see more in this short space of time I have in this world.

Statements like this do raise a lot more questions, how am I going to feel positive emotions?... What directions should I go in?... What would l like to achieve? I’m sure you are now thinking, like me, these questions raise even more questions. I’m not sure we can answer any of these questions as part of Happinet, mainly, I think because we are all different, what I would like to do is share some of my continuing journey and what I think has brought me longer-term satisfaction, happiness, dare I now say contentment 😊.

While growing up as a child and as an adult, there have been some major events in my life where I have felt different levels of happiness or sadness, what I have done is reflected on these and looked at what I think have been the main causes of these levels and things I have realised as a result, hindsight that I wish I had done differently, but also looking at things as the opportunity they turned out to be. I genuinely believe I would of been a different person if I hadn’t of experienced the things I did or made the mistakes I made. I also may start stealing lines from other people as well!


living a lie

Life Hack - Don’t be living a lie

It’s strange looking back at my childhood; I wasn’t from a poor or rich background; my family had varying levels of success. We didn’t go without the essentials, we had clothes, food, a place to live, I had toys and trips out to places. I suppose I should say I was lucky, but as a child growing up, I wasn’t the happiest, I struggled with my relationships and didn’t want to interact so much with my parents, I felt as a child I couldn’t do right from wrong in their eyes, it was don’t do this, don’t do that, go to your room. Some may say oh this is nothing, and I suppose that is fair. But as a child, always feeling like I was doing wrong, made me feel like there was something wrong with me.

Reflecting on my behaviour at the time, I would constantly be away from home, playing at my friends houses and most of the time not wanting to go home. I liked the independence of being away, without that authority hanging over my head, watching every move I made. When I would go home again, it was back to the same, so I would hide myself away in my room until I was able to go out again. It’s interesting how this affected me with my other relationships, I would express a fantasy to my peers that I was this amazing, good at everything, know it all. I suppose really trying to hide the real opinion of myself. I wasn’t a bad kid, but I thought I was just wrong somehow, and I wanted to prove to the people I met this was not the case, looking back, this was my first experience of living a lie and the harder part, it continued in some form into my adult life.

As an adult now, I can spot this a mile off, and I do realise it’s something as a child people were spotting in me. I remember one of my friends telling me his mum thought I was “smarmy”, I suppose that was how I was coming across, but really this wasn’t my intension at all, I wanted people to see me as something that I imagined they would like, funnily enough I tried harder to turn this opinion around with my friend’s mum, and of course it didn’t work, it actually made her dislike me even more I think.

The thing with living this way, expressing lies and false facts about myself, I was constantly catching myself out, but as this had become a habitual behaviour, it turned into a more of a gut reaction where I would lie and lie to cover up the lie. Living this way was draining and miserable, and maintaining relations into my teenage years was difficult, I didn’t understand the consequences of my actions, or even realise the cause, all I knew is I wasn’t happy and the people around me didn’t warm to me very much. I presume because of trust, and as my friend’s mother thought of me, fake. At the end of the day this was a result of my behaviours and so the sadness I was feeling was caused through my own actions

It was hard to kick this habit, even now this habitual behaviour still exists, and I have to catch myself and I force myself to say out loud, that was a lie. As much as I sit with a regret in my mind about this, and some of the friendships that have been distanced as a result, it has also taught me a lot about people, there motivations and the effects of our behaviour. We want so much to be liked, loved, we put this false image out there thinking it will make people like us, or be impressed by the falsities, especially if we think they can’t see our real, of more so, self-perceived selves, which we try to hide away. What I have found is if we behave in a negative way, it tends to bring a negative result.

Life Hack - Learn to accept ourselves, warts and all

warts & all

One of my close friends at university was a huge influence on me, he was a little bit like marmite though, you either loved him or hated him. I really admired this, he was who he was and he didn’t change for anyone, people wanted to be around him, he was very open and always spoke his mind, but also very popular, at least with the people that liked him. I didn’t really understand how he did it, what was he doing I wasn’t to get this reaction from people. He did once say, “I don’t care what people think about me, it’s down to them, not me”. But still, it didn’t really compute in my mind what it was. There was one particular time, that I have told to some of my graduates I mentor at work, which I use to demonstrate consequences and reactions.

A friend of mine who had accidently peed on his formal trousers at a wedding, posted a picture of a large wet patch to our WhatsApp group with a comment, “whoops, what do I do now? ☹”

When we read the message, we all fell around laughing, but it wasn’t done in malice, it was more that something similar had happened to us all at some point, and it was funny because it happened to him (this time).

Reflecting on this my friend had a choice, he could either hide it or admit it, and typical to this particular friend he put it straight out there. Now if he had tried to hide it, I’m sure we would have found out anyway, and if we had, we would have teased him about it, but because he admitted it and showed it to us all, and as much as it made us chuckle, there was no room for judgement, it actually humanised him. To see the reaction first hand really made me think differently about this wrapped up anxiety I have about being judged, or trying to masking how people see me. All it was, was him being honest, warts and all. It was then that I realised how he had become such a big figure in our social circles, he was just being himself.

This situation I will always remember, it had a remarkable effect on me, I experimented doing the same, I started admitting my mistakes openly to the people around me, being more open and honest on my thoughts and feelings and I quite quickly realised I wasn’t actually being judged, or ridiculed for them. I actually found it opened up new interactions, people started to be more open with me, sharing similar faults and anxieties that they experienced, maybe as it was in the safety of someone who was also making mistakes. Eventually I expanded on this, now if someone comes to me with a what they viewed as a mistake, I try and share a similar mistake I have made too, not just to make them feel better, but to build repour with people.

I have to say this small change was profoundly influential, I’m now not so afraid of people’s opinions… I don’t share EVERYTHING with people I first meet of course, I don’t want random strangers to think I’m weird! But this was the start of me learning to accept myself for who I am, and consequentially, it has also opened up lots of new opportunities for me in my personal and professional life.

Thank you to my friend if you read this, you know who you are.

Life Hack - Understand people’s motivations

the power of why

I’m sure we all have been in a situation where we have disagreed with the reaction or outcome from someone involving ourselves or others where we have built a view from an event, later to find out why the situation had happened and then thought differently about it.

People are not very direct in their communication most of the time, if you reflect on yourself and think of a situation where you have complained about something to someone else, I’m sure if you are honest, I would wager that you didn’t actually express the real reason for you complaining, but more “what” you have taken exception to. This can cause confusion or even a defensive reaction from the receiver as they will focus on the what and not the why you have an issue.

Looking for an example to this, I read few articles about ridiculous customer complaints, there’s an example about a man putting a formal complaint in at shopping centre customer service employee who asked him to leave during a fire alarm, the comments that followed were all accusing this chap of being moronic, and off the statement I can see why people would think that. But this doesn’t make any sense, If I put myself in the shoes of this man and why I would complain about being asked to leave somewhere, it simple comes down to I don’t want to leave, and why would I not want to leave somewhere, because I want/need to be there. Looking at things this way makes the circumstance different, why did this man need to be at the shopping centre, had he forgotten to get a gift for his partners birthday? Did he have work in 10mins and would be fired if he turned up without a white shirt? There are rafts of reasons we just don’t know from the complaint, but understanding the motivations of ourselves can help us understand the motivations of others, and if any of the reason above are true, would we be calling this man moronic? Well maybe, but we would not be laughing if he was fired from his job and his partner left him.

Thinking this way has really helped me in a world of conflict, I am a natural problem solver, and when I have broken down problems at work or at home by looking at the motivations of people, it has aided me to ask the right questions to get to the bottom of the cause, it also has helped me explain my concerns to others through the “why”. Life without conflict I think we can all agree is a happier one, and in the words of Ted Lasso, “Be curious, not judgemental.” I love that!

Life Hack - Extremism only brings sadness.


Some people’s ideals would be classed as extreme, being a Benedictine nun?... Being a hardcore criminal? I think if you interviewed 100 of each you would find pros and cons for both and maybe they would argue that their choices are the right ones, and some people may agree one side is right, some could argue they are wrong. This is kind of the point; how can we find happiness in the world with such conflicting views. My personal view is any extreme view cannot bring us happiness as it will have cause and effect on another person with the opposing view, which then breeds conflict.

While at school I studied economics and if you have read my about page you will know I was not exactly an A grade student. But if I took anything away from that subject in my everyday life was when we reviewed the 2 core political systems, the approach of the left and right-wing stances, during this module we would debate which system worked the best, these exercises offered strong views that were always opposed by strong views, to the point of tears on one occasion.

One of my classmates was so strongly viewed on the left that they could not accept why the opposition was saying they disagreed, and as a result and even though this was an exercise, it had a permanent effect on their friendship. Our next economics class, the teacher announced we were not continuing with the debates, and we would be one person down from our group, which came as a surprise to all of us. I caught up with the class mate that had left and asked why, I tried to explain that all my other classmate was doing was debating their subject, and it was not necessarily their full view, but they just could not accept it. Later on, I did find out some insight into the reason their reaction was so extreme, which was down to their family situation, they had been subjected to some far-right nationalistic aggression and while following the correct channels to resolve it they had been treated quite badly by the political system. I don’t really want to get into the actuals of the situation, but it did open my eyes to the consequences of such differentiating views, and how one had actually caused the other, manifesting a repetitive cycle that only seemed to promote further misery and distancing. I find this strange, especially as both extremes have their merits and deficiencies, which to me only made sense to take the best of both systems or at least a balance of the 2… which in economic terms would be referred to as “equilibrium”. (See I was listening Mr Howard!)


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Money! & Money!

Lets be realistic about things here, yes yes money is the route of all evil, money doesn't buy happiness, no amount of money bought a second of time... But I want some of it all the same.



When I was young I was athletic and fit. When I went to Uni it fell off a cliff, when I turned 30 the aches and pains started, when I turned 40 oh my god my eye sight!... Simple things I do better.



I chuckled with this section as there are so many factors, the 2 over there are possible contributors and disruptors! Life is about balance..I hope i can share something of interest.

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