Ask the Reader

I want to try something different this week. Instead of writing an article I want to create a discussion and get your thoughts on a topic that can help shape the way that we all interact with the world. It can also shape the future direction of The Start of Happiness. It’s a subject that has the potential to change your life.

Previously on The Start of Happiness we have shared the Happiness Manifesto, outlining the 43 Habits of Absolutely Happy People. We have also shared the Happiness Model, describing the linkage between happiness and success and what really comes first. These two articles are great foundations for understanding happiness and where it sits in relation to performance, success and overall wellbeing.

Today I am throwing the ball into your court and I, as well as the greater Start of Happiness community would love to hear from you! This is part of our new Ask the Reader series where you get to provide your thoughts and ideas on the subject matter and open it up for discussion.

So what is the topic that is open for discussion?

Well, it’s pretty straight-forward… it’s HAPPINESS!

Up until now, each week I have been providing you my insights from the personal and leadership development fields that I work within and show you how simple things can make a big difference in your life. But now I’d love to turn it around. I want to hear what works in your life.

Everyone on this planet has a different genetic makeup, different circumstances and different environment. Therefore what works for some of us may not work for all of us.

Because of this, I’m going to ask each of you a question. Whether you are from the USA, Canada, UK, Europe, South Africa, India, Singapore, Australia, wherever… we want to hear from you!

There’s no right or wrong answers, but the perspectives and thoughts of many will be invaluable for helping you come to your own conclusion.

Ok, so let’s get into it!

Ask the Reader


The question I am throwing out to you is:

‘What do you believe is the number one factor for bringing happiness to your life?’

As simple as that…

What makes you happy?

When you’re answering that question, think about how much time you actually spend doing that particular thing, whatever it may be. How can you bring more of this into your life?

But don’t keep this to yourself. The Start of Happiness is a growing community of like-minded individuals seeking personal excellence all over the world… and we’d love to hear from you!

Scroll down the page and share your answer in the comments below.

If you are reading this in your email, please click here to join the discussion and add your thoughts!

What you say might just make the difference to someone else on the other side of the world. This is seriously powerful.

Remember, you can change the world, one smile at a time 🙂

Let’s discuss!



About the author 

Brendan Baker

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

Brendan Baker is Australia's leading personal development blogger and and helps people build and grow online businesses based on their passions. He has created the Launch Your Life Academy and Your First 1000 Subscribers. Connect with Brendan: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

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  1. While it’s hard to pick one thing (duh??) I’d say not taking ourselves too seriously might be the thing.

    There’s so much we have no control over, starting from before we’re born – our parents, ethnicity, sex etc…and deluding ourselves into thinking we’re [complete]masters of our lives is certainly a recipe for unhappiness.

    Lousy things happen, and our happiness depends more on how fast we recover from these setbacks than anything else, so not taking ourselves too seriously can help us roll with these punches.

  2. I love what Jennifer wrote about her baby. Children and animals are such great teachers of happiness! They’re fully present with the moment. They’re totally open to love and pleasure. They couldn’t care less about what other people think and last but not least, they love themselves unconditionally. Whenever I follow their example, I’m happy too.

  3. Great question and discussion Brendan!

    To me, happiness is the overall satisfaction with your life, the sum of the fleeting and fluctuating feelings we experience every day. So I think many factors contribute to being happy, like an optimistic attitude, gratitude, having positive and supportive people in your life… Even lifestyle factors, such as nutrition and sleep, that contribute to a healthy brain chemistry have an impact on your happiness.

    But what makes me happy, even when dealing with life’s challenges, is living mindfully. Being aware of what’s going on around you and inside you, without judgement, helps you to take notice of the small pleasures of life. From my husbands little gestures of attentiveness, to the flowers growing in the neighbourhood, to savouring my morning cappuccino instead of drinking without tasting – appreciating the little things in life and being grateful for the big things always puts a smile on my face!

    1. Jen! So good to see you here 🙂

      The BEST part about life are the small little things 🙂 I completely agree. Some of my favourite moments are just being out in nature, or reading a book while it’s raining, or enjoying a warm coffee in winter. It’s the simple, small things that can make a huge difference 🙂

      My question to others is, how can you create these ‘mini-moments’ in your everyday life?

      1. Good point Brendan. I think it isn’t necessary about *creating* those mini – moments, but more about being aware of the positive things already happening right in front of you. For example, when years ago I walked home from preschool with my then 3 year old babysit girl, I was just trying to get from A to B as quickly as possible with a toddler. But she stopped everywhere, to pick flowers, point out a spider web and ask me hundreds of questions about what she saw around her. It was the perfect example of being joyfully in the moment 🙂

        But, when I’m going through a tough or busy time, I actually write those small pleasures on my to-do list. Cause when you’re stressed or sad, you sometimes forget to do the things that make you happy 🙂 So I put ‘tasks’ like singing, reading for 10 minutes in the sun, going for a short walk, etc. into my schedule. Silly but it works! 🙂

  4. How does one geared towards his/her direction of Happiness without being judged or shortchanged during the journey?

    Goal-oriented & positive people may have the right/appropriate approach & mindset in making plans to achieve happiness in whatever they do. So then, how does people who may not be that confident of what he/she is capable of doing do? How to become not afraid of what may come for those not-as-adventurous people who would like to change their lives? What if they don’t get the encouragements from anyone at all?

    1. Hi En En,

      Interesting perspective. I wouldn’t have thought that being less confident or adventurous would have any affect on happiness levels. I would say that as long as you have a sense of purpose, having a loving support network and experience the other key pillars of happiness (creating a follow-up post as we speak!), then you can simply and easily increase your happiness.


  5. Mark Heading says:

    Hi Brenden. Love your website! I aspire to have a similar blog to yours one day. I agree what you said that all of us have different circumstances in our lives. Different genetic makeup etc. But I just want to say that there are 2 key fundamental things that make us “happy” in our lives. One is achievement and the other is fulfillment. The principles of “the science of achievement” & ” the art of fullfillment” are the same worldwide, wherever you live, from Australia, United states or Alaska. If you have only one or the other your going to be miserable. We, as human beings must have both.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for the awesome feedback! I’m glad you like the site… let me know when you get yours up and running as I’d be keen to check it out.

      Great points on achievement and fulfillment… they both link in with having a sense of purpose and direction and working towards them.

      I’m loving these comments… it’s helping me get my thoughts around some of the key principles of happiness that can be put forward into a simplified model.

  6. Happiness is THE thing that we all are constantly in search of .It is a deep soul urge,because at the deepest essence this is what constitutes our existence.All spiritual discovery,all spiritual pursuit, only points to this fact.
    Having said that ,i think is is crucial for all of us to generate happiness within ourselves.Rather we only need to connect with the innate happiness already bubbling within our deepest selves.Possibly this is the juncture where w e normally deviate;we keep looking outside for happiness,whereas it is perpetually residing within ourselves only.However much we may think something outside of us is the cause for our prevailing state ,it is just a bit of objective comprehension that will make that great difference.A bit of detachment goes a very long way.
    Thanks for the “trigger”

    1. Thanks for the input. Happiness does indeed start from within and it also ends from within. ANyone has the possibility of being happy, or happier, or experience a state of happiness by making a choice and doing something they love.

  7. I believe that happiness has many elements, but if I had to choose one I would say that happiness is doing work that you find fulfillment in so that almost doesn’t feel like work. You’re excited to get up in the morning and you can wait to get back to work. The average person spends most of his day and most of his life at work so I think that the unhappiness most people feel is related to the activities they’re engaged in for most of their day and by extension most of their lives i.e their job. If you can fix this one issue by getting engaged as soon as possible in work that makes you happy, then I believe you will have gone a long way towards finding happiness.

    1. Hi Chim, great point… and I think this is probably a key area of where people unhappy. When you’re spending 9-5 (or even longer!) everyday in a unhappy state or environment it doesn’t bode well for your wellbeing.

      If only it was so simple to turn your passion into a lifestyle. The good thing is… it can be done.. but it does take commitment, discipline and hard-work! The great thing is though is that you’re working towards a goal that you’re passionate about which will also raise your happiness levels and also provide a greater foundation for success.

  8. I think Happines comes from reaching goals and so becoming a better person. At least that’s what is written on my homepage. A positive mental attitude is needed all the times but for example Happiness is hardly felt or experienced if someone doesn’t have enough food for himself or his family. That’s not being happy, it’s conning himself, so to say.

    As for me I feel perfectly happy relaxing in nature as well as reaching a goal. Probably as always perfection is in the middle of the two. 🙂

    1. Hehe, I think what you’re meaning to say is that it is all about ‘balance’! I can relate to that…. I love working towards goals and making them a reality, but I also love doing nothing at times and sitting in a park reading a book! Balance is key 🙂

  9. It’s true that tons of things might contributes to our happiness level. While circle back to the question of ‘What do you believe is the number one factor for bringing happiness to your life?’, I would say the clarity of my life purpose and my identity. What kind of a person I think I am and what kind of a life mission and purpose I pursue.

    1. Hey Stellar, knowing who you are is so fundamental to everything else in your life. Without this it’s hard to know what your true course or direction is. Having a purpose of some sort is an amazing feeling… even if you don’t have a life purpose, simply having some goals and working towards them is great!

  10. Happiness is the delight a home cooked meal brings to friends and family. It’s the pleasure of good company and good cheer. It’s found in beautiful country and good books.

    Many things bring me happiness. And it’s hard to say what brings the most. It depends on the day, it depends on the mood. Sometimes happiness is the simple joys I can bring to others — from the aroma of a perfectly cooked loaf of bread to the inspiring emails I get from readers.

    Other times, I find it in the beauty around me. My little red barnhouse, the fields and the farms here in Vermont, the birds chirping in the trees all around me.

    Life brings happiness. And we bring it back in turn.


    1. Hey Trev, I absolutely loved this. I think you nailed something. It’s the simple things in life that matter most. Life is about being in the world and appreciating the simple things that have been provided to us from day one… food, family, environment, fun!

  11. For me, the key to happiness is realizing that happiness is a decision – a state of mind. Life-long happiness can’t be found in another person or in our possessions, because those things come and go. Happiness is found in how we approach the world and in how we choose to look at the world. We don’t have to let the words and actions of others bring us down. We are the only ones who get to decide whether or not we are happy. So, decide to be happy 🙂

    1. Hi Amy, I like it!

      There is no doubt that happiness is a choice… sometimes you might need help to work on putting some actions into place to help you get there, but as soon as you choose to be happiness you can make it your reality.

  12. I would definitely say that the number one factor is learning to live through wanting what you already have. Constant desires for more of what we don’t have is the sure way to a life of disappointment as well as insatiability.

    1. Nicely put… I agree and believe living in the moment and being grateful for what we have is key. Sometimes hard to do as it’s human nature to continue wanting more… so how can this be done?

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