Last week I attended a great session hosted by NABS, the employee support organisation for the advertising and media industry. As a charity, NABS do a lot a wonderful work offering training and support to those in the industry, as well as putting on lots of events focussing on wellbeing. This event was a talk from the human ball of energy that is Danny Bent, who shared his experiences and provided some practical tips to taking control of our own happiness.
Danny’s life has been eventful to say the least. A former city-worker who had a near-death experience with a bike crash, he has completely revaluated what he should be doing with his life. Danny has since become a best-selling author (in-spite of dyslexia), motivational speaker, adventurer, builder of communities and serious charity fundraiser.
Voted one of Britain’s happiest people and one of the 50 most inspirational people in London, Danny has organised lots of amazing events including One Run for Boston – a LA-Boston relay race in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing and founded a free fitness community Project Awesome. These examples show why it’s not hard to be inspired by his positivity and enthusiasm for life.
If the energy that Danny brings to the room isn’t enough itself, he gets the whole room in a knockout Rock, Paper, Scissors game, with everyone cheering on whoever has beaten them – climaxing with the final two people on stage being roared on by the whole room!
Danny identifies happiness facilitated through:
- Things e.g. new phone, car etc. – bringing short-term happiness which comes and goes
- Ego e.g. a promotion, win a race – increased happiness, however, is still vulnerable
- Connectivity – experiences with other people leading to lasting and meaningful happiness
- Transcendence – okay you may need to be a monk to fully achieve this!
With that in mind, particularly focusing on the last two elements here are Danny’s five rules for happiness:
- Live your fears – Push yourself to do it! Don’t let fear hold you back
- Find a positive slant on everything – Be a journalist on the lookout for a good anecdote
- Help other people – The feeling of making other people feel good will be with you forever
- Be in the now – One of the hardest things to do, but even 10 minutes of meditation can help
- Find Your Tribe – Do what you really want to do, it gives you belonging. If it doesn’t exist now, then start it up. Chances are that there are other people who will want to do the same thing!
The key learning from the session is Danny’s overarching principle taught me that you need to first stop worrying about what anyone else is doing and just be the best possible version of you!