5 Things Great People Have Taught Me About Happiness

Mick toddSeptember 25th, 2023

Happiness often seems to be an elusive state but throughout my long executive coaching career the things that I see really perpetuate are;

  1. Meaningful relationships
  2. Meaningful work
  3. Meaningful contribution beyond self
  4. Putting yourself in positions where you are stretched and challenged
  5. A sense of gratitude for the opportunities that you have (no matter what they look like to begin with)

What are the things that you need to do consistently to build ‘genuine happiness’.

These observations are not extraordinary, they align with a substantial body of research and expert opinion on the subject of ‘happiness and well-being’. Genuine happiness results from a combination of external and internal factors. To build and maintain genuine happiness, consider how you turn the following practices into rituals :

(Rituals – Strengths-Based Behaviours, Practiced on Purpose and Positioned to Enhance Engagement, Performance and Happiness.)

1. Self-awareness and Mindfulness: Being aware of your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors helps you make choices that align with your true self. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, can enhance this awareness.

(Jonno Pittock is the person who has taught me the most about this and is ability to create space is something I love.)

‘Do not look for sanctuary in anyone except yourself.’ – Buddha

2. Physical Health: Regular exercise, a balanced diet, adequate sleep, and avoiding harmful substances contribute to both physical and mental well-being. (Victoria Tipper has taught me the most about physical health and well being and the best ways to manage them.)

‘Take care of your body. It is the only place you have to live.’ – Jim Rohn

3. Setting and Achieving Goals: Pursue goals that align with your values and passions. Achieving small milestones can boost self-esteem and provide a sense of purpose.

(Billy Harkin is the most phenomenal goal-setter and goal getter that I know.)

‘What you get from achieving your goals is not as important as who you become by achieving them.’ – Zig Ziglar

4. Continuous Learning: Acquiring new skills or knowledge not only stretches and challenges you but can also provide a sense of accomplishment.

Peter Charles Turner is prolific when it comes to learning… I cannot wait for his book in 2024. The 2b Limitless 2bAPC is a product of his curiosity to know more.)

‘The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.’ – B.B. King

5. Positive Social Connections & Community : Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Building and maintaining healthy relationships is vital for emotional well-being.

Kirstin Daly (Chartered MCIPD, CPHR) embodies a focus on the behaviours that make people feel like they belong. Her warmth and support is something I cherish.)

‘Connection creates commitment.’ – Valentina Vescovi

6. Resilience: Develop coping strategies to handle setbacks. This includes reframing negative thoughts, seeking support, and focusing on solutions.

Ben Corrigan one day we will write a book about this I am so proud of what I have learnt from you about this topic.)

‘I can be changed by what happens to me but I refuse to be reduced by it.’ – Maya Angelou

7. Practice Gratitude: As you mentioned, recognizing and appreciating what you have, rather than focusing on what you lack, can shift your perspective and elevate your mood.

Paul White and Guido De Wilde best capture this for me… No matter what life throws at them they see it as an opportunity and to embrace it regardless of the circumstances.)

‘The more you practice gratitude the more you see just how much that you have to be grateful for!’ – Don Miguel Ruiz

8. Acts of KindnessAltruistic acts, no matter how small, can boost happiness levels. Helping others can create a sense of purpose and connection.

This is my mum, Madonna Todd – Her whole mentality is ‘First look to serve and support others!’

‘Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.’ – Henry James

9. Limiting Comparisons: Avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone has their own journey, and such comparisons often lead to unnecessary stress.

Sarah Locke has this amazing sense of humility that enables her to stay focused on the best version of herself.)

‘Comparison is the thief of joy!’ – Theodore Roosevelt 

10. Manage Stress: Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as through relaxation techniques, hobbies, or spending time in nature.

Melda Yasar Cebe is a person that I really admire around this space her ability to recognise a pattern and change it is something that sets her apart for me.)

‘The best time to relax is when you do not have time for it.’ – Sydney J. Harris

11. Limiting Technology: While technology is beneficial, excessive screen time, especially on social media, can lead to feelings of isolation and inadequacy. Set boundaries for your tech use.

(David Labouchere is relentless around his disconnection rituals and this discipline enables him to maintain such extraordinary results.)

‘Carefree time, outside and offline is essential for high performance and happiness.’ – David Labouchere MBE

12. Spiritual or Existential Exploration: For many, exploring their spirituality or seeking existential meaning can be a profound source of happiness and contentment.

(Valentina Vescovi is such a deep thinker and I value how she uses her human experiences to grow in a profound way.)

‘We are not human beings having a spiritual experience we are spiritual beings having a human experience.’ – Pierre Tellihard de Chardin

13. Seek Professional Help When Needed: If you feel overwhelmed, it’s essential to seek help, whether it’s talking to a trusted person or seeking professional coaching and support.

(I have so many great examples of this from clients all over the world but the one tat stands out to me is Scott Thiel on the back of this he has grown in so many dynamic ways.)

‘The greatest show of strength and humility is the wisdom to ask for help when you need it.’ – Unknown

14. Regular Reflection: Regularly reflect on your life, happiness levels, and goals. This can help you make necessary adjustments and stay on the path to genuine happiness.

(Sam InstoneGraham Borthwick and Martin Dewhurst are phenomenal at their consistency and rigour around their reflections and reviews and how they use the information to grow and develop is inspiring to me.)

‘It is the space between the notes that makes the music!’ – Wayne Dyer

*15. Focus on Your Strengths: 2b Limitless is ‘Overtly Strengths-Based (we use the Gallup CliftonStrengths® StrengthsFinder Assessment to identify individual, team and organisational strengths) – I love the insight that ‘People who focus on their strengths are three times more likely to report a higher quality of life.’ It is amazing how a focus on strengths so positively shifts perspective. The ability to spend more time doing the things that you do best and that bring out the best in you and those who matter most to you.

(There are so many people that I work with that have used their strengths as the platform to grow themselves and their teams but the person that stands out to me is Dan Brown – His focus on strengths has had a profound impact on his personal and professional story.)

‘What will happen when we focus on what is right with people rather than fixating on what is wrong with them?’ – Donald O. Clifton

Remember, happiness is a quest, not a destination. It requires consistent effort, but by incorporating these practices into your ‘Great Week’, you’ll be better equipped to cultivate and sustain genuine happiness.

I am so proud to lead the 2b Limitless team of ‘Elite Performance Coaches’ with my Partner Peter Charles Turner – Our team of Victoria TipperDavid LabouchereTony MartinGarreth EwingMelda Yasar CebeGuido de Wilde and Ian Ward – These brilliant coaches are committed to helping people, teams and organisations build success and happiness.

‘Because… Your world, needs you at your best!’ – 2b Limitless

Mick todd

Blog Contributor

Mick todd

Snr Partner, Founder and CEO