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This week I want to share with you some words of wisdom from my friend Timothy Carroll of Timothy Carroll Consultancy.  I believe they will make you think a little deeper about your life goals.  In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining a “work-life balance” seems to be a constant struggle for many of us.

Mother and I happy in Puerto Rico

Mother and I in Puerto Rico-must be something in the air that makes us smile.

I am very passionate about what I do, but even more, I love to travel and learn about the traditions of other countries.  I am especially fascinated by how different cultures find joy everyday and how happiness manifests itself in circumstances very different and unique from ours here in the United States.  While on my travels, I often find the greatest joy in the simplest of things: a sweet smelling flower the maids left on my bed, a colorful alley way, a freshly sqeezed sugar cane stand, singing coming from someone’s home even if I don’t understand the language, or the lovely smiles on people’s faces.  Below are some photos from my travels to Mexico and Puerto Rico and you will see why I like going there often once you finish reading Timothy’s advice.

I hope these thoughts help you to pause in your hectic work day and take a few moments to appreciate what you have, as well as think about those who have less but live more fulfilling lives than we do.  It is never too late to change our thinking and live the life we want to live!  Here’s to happiness in your life, today and every day.

Are you shooting yourself in the foot?

To say that times are tough is an understatement! The price of oil and petrol sky rockets, companies are going bust, bailouts are common place as they pay big bonuses to their leaders. The economy is unstable, oil slicks threaten wild life and because of global warming the delicate fabric of nature herself is on the tipping point.

Piñata Market, Mexico

Piñata Market, Mexico

It’s all about success at all costs, shareholder profits, a good job, goal achievement, bottom line, big money, the right clothes, the best car and the biggest house to live in. Its a culture of consumption, greed and the attainment of things that we think will make us happy and fulfilled. But does this way of thinking and behaving REALLY make us happy?

Where would you say that the happiest people in the world are? In the richest countries, say Europe, Australia, the United States, Canada? …Wrong! A 2003 World Value Survey of people in 65 nations was published in the British magazine ”New Scientist”. The survey found that the world’s happiest countries with the most satisfied people are Puerto Rico and Mexico, and those with the most optimistic people are Nigeria and Mexico.

My favorite afternoon snack in Mexico

My favorite afternoon snack in Mexico

If we consider material prosperity as measured by each nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita: 2003 estimates showed the US with a GDP per person of $37,800. How does this compare with the world’s happiest nations? GDP per person in Puerto Rico is $16,800; in Mexico it is $9,000; in Nigeria it is a pitiful $800. Obviously money has very little to do with happiness. What does then? Is there a magic ingredient that makes these countries the happiest in the world?

What these countries have in common is their cultures. They have 1.) A strong sense of culture and community 2.) A high level of trust between each other and 3.) Frequent and enthusiastic community celebration. Research within western culture suggests that once our basic needs for security and safety are met, our happiness and quality of life are impacted most significantly by the quality of our personal relationships and sense of belonging – with ourselves, our partner, family, friends and community.

Are we too busy chasing money to give our relationships the attention and importance they demand? Unfortunately yes – and we are working longer hours than ever before to earn enough to pay for the stuff that we think we need to live a happy and fulfilling life.

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

So the challenge is to STOP looking for happiness in the endless circle of materialisim and consumerisim. To STOP the stinking thinking that you don’t have enough or your not as good as others because you don’t have___________ (fill in the blank) or that you haven’t made it in the world yet! The challenge is to START to nurture the relationships in your life, in your career and at home. To prioritize them and create a sense of community, trust and celebration within them that will fuel your enjoyment of life for years to come.

When we turn away from materialism as the way we express and define our existence, towards true and authentic sources of human joy, we naturally become better planetary citizens. We work less, consume less and free up our time and energy to focus on the good things in life. Our relationships, our personal convictions, our personal development, and our feeling of being connected with nature and indeed with life itself. This type of culture be it at home or in the work place, significantly reduces the impact of our ”carbon footprint” on the world around us and dramatically increases our quality of life.

The above is excerpted from ”Happiness of wealthy people is no greater!” by Timothy Carroll.  You can connect with Timothy on LinkedIn or send me an email and I will be happy to put you in touch with him!


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