The Secret to Happiness

secret to happiness

Years ago, I went on my first trip to a destination spa in Arizona. It wasn’t very luxurious (more like a spa boot camp than a resort), but it was very beautiful and relaxing. You could be as active or as passive as you chose to be. So, I moved from massage, to Yoga, to hiking early in the morning before the sun took a bite out of us, to resting, to lots of raw, green foods. And I felt like a million bucks at the end of the week. But, alas, a week is only 7 days long. And I had to leave.

When I got home, to New York City, just before I lost all the benefits of having pampered myself for a week, I decided that it made no sense to feel good for one week of the year. So I made a conscious choice to get a massage once a week – no matter what! – and to join a Yoga class at least 3 times a week. What a concept: Taking care of myself regularly, and not waiting for a vacation!!!

15 Minutes of pleasure a day

After a few short years of that, I decided (or more accurately, I just became aware) that I needed something every single day that would make me glow & smile. So, I implemented the idea that at least for 15 minutes every single day, I would do something that brought me joy.

  • It could be as small as savoring ONE piece of delicious, expensive chocolate;
  • relaxing with a friend over a glass of wine or tea;
  • taking extra time for myself in a hot tub;
  • reading for pleasure – not just for work.
  • Going to a movie when I “should” be doing other things.

Then, as age and time permitted, that 15 minutes per day grew. I didn’t see why so many hours of the day should be devoted to work and not to joy. These small increments began building up to a life of pure joy, including the time spent at work. Moreover, I brought this insight into working with clients and taught them how to be happy as well.

Secret to happiness at the podium

For 35 years, I’ve been a Keynote Coach, helping key people with public speaking and intimate conversations. And if you’re wondering what any of this has to do with Public Speaking, let me share the intimate link as I see it:  It became abundantly obvious to me that if  a speaker is not bringing joy to the podium, then no one in the audience will be finding any joy in being there, either.

And then I learned nothing less than the secret to happiness.

It is, quite simply, being aligned … in the flow … in the moment … with WHATEVER you CHOOSE to do, as you are doing it!

There you have it. I’ve cracked the code. And it really is that simple.

Now, not a day goes by that the bulk of it is not spent in an activity that I choose to do … that I enjoy doing as I’m doing it. No delayed gratification. No chasing rainbows. No future goals. Not for me!

I want my accomplishments to be ongoing and ever-flowing. I want to live each moment, whether I’m working at my computer, cleaning veggies for a green smoothie, speaking on the phone with a friend, or coaching a client in communicating as if it’s just right … exactly what I choose to be doing for the sake of the doing and of the being.

  • I cannot tell a lie: of course,
  • I want my actions to achieve certain things.
  • I want to leave this world a better place for my having been here.
  • I want to leave my friends in a better mood when they’ve spent time with me.
  • I want to see my body thrive; my house be clean and inviting;
  • I want to know that my time on this planet has been a contribution to well-being and authentic communication.

Inspiration vs Goals

But these things are my inspiration, they are not my goal. I have learned to let go of results.

  • If my friends are not in a better mood from talking with me, I don’t lose sleep over that. Their mood will lift when they are ready.
  • If my body is not as slender as it was 15 years ago, I decide that perhaps the extra cushioning is protecting my bones.
  • If my house is not as orderly as I’d like it to be, I decide that my guests will be so engrossed in our genuine conversation that they won’t ever bother to look around.

Being present is the secret to happiness. I know, I know, you’ve heard this all before. But until you try it, you can’t believe how true it is. Attitude is everything. You may not be free to change the circumstances around you.

  • Your family has its own agenda.
  • Your boss has another.
  • Your dog has its own.

The only thing you can change is your attitude. And when you do, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll find that the secret to happiness and true freedom is not in having “nothing to do”; it is in choosing what you want to do. Just as important, when I rehearse my clients or watch them perform, I guarantee you that their attitude is even more critical than their words.

When they stop wrestling with their topic; when they relax into a joyous state; when they speak from a place of inner knowing, not of outer thinking, they always shine. And who doesn’t want to go up to the podium and shine?

For what a man has, he may be dependent on others; what he is rests with him alone. Happiness is the soul’s joy in the possession of the intangible. It is the warm glow of a heart at peace with itself. ~ Anonymous (Tweet this)


About the Author

Saskia, known as The Keynote Coach, has been working for over 30 years with Keynote speakers in all professions, from the Arts to Corporate America. She is the Author of "More Than Words Can Say: The Making of Inspired Speakers". More at

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