Search results

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Five Strategies on Money and Happiness

Five Strategies on Money and Happiness by Naomi Simson
Six RedBallooners Happy at our Port Douglas retreat

Six RedBallooners Happy at our Port Douglas retreat

Last weekend RedBallooners were invited to our end of financial year celebration and kick off meeting in Port Douglas. When asked by friends “What was it like?” The only answer I had was – ‘joyous’.

The excitement was palpable as soon as we met early on Friday morning. The laughter infectious, the camaraderie obvious – the sense of connection was clear.

This sense of team does not happen by accident – we work hard together, we push the boundaries – set the bar high – and then we celebrate! And on the cycle goes.

It is pretty special to be able to get away. There was plenty of work involved – but that shared sense of experience  – and laughter ensues. It is as they say ‘priceless’.

So I read with interest this week : Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending.   We have heard since we were small that‘Money can’t buy happiness’. However these social scientists suggest that used in the right way money can improve our sense of well being.

Here are the five main points they make:

  1. Time is the only commodity that every person on the planet was given equally… (we have differing life span’s of course – but we each have 24 hours a day at our disposal and how we choose to spend it can greatly determine our experience of happiness). If you were to use money to ‘Buy Time’ ie how is the purchase going to ensure you are using your time to do the things you want to do. “Time Affluence”. Thinking about time- rather than money – which means being mindful about ‘spending’ time on activities that promote well-being , like being with friends / family and volunteering.
  2. Make it a treat: having too much of a good thing (ie when did party food start becoming everyday food)– Abundance is the enemy of appreciation. Have delightful things occasionally to really appreciate them. The relationship between income and happiness is weaker than many people expect, perhaps because affluent people do the things that delight them all the time, ie not too much of a good thing.
  3. Bigger is not always better. Money can by bigger cars houses and toys… but there is not evidence to suggest that these make people happier. What is the point in having a large home if you have no one to share it with you? “Remarkably there is almost no evidence that buying a home – or a newer nicer home – increases happiness. People who spend their money on enhancing their leisure activities report significantly greater satisfaction with their lives.”
  4. Do more have less. “The research shows experiences provide more happiness than material goods in part because experiences are more likely to make us feel connected to others,” … “Understanding why experiences provide more happiness than material goods can also help us to choose the most satisfyingkinds of experiences.”… “Collecting memorable experiences, even at the expense of momentary enjoyment, seems to hold particular appeal for those who care about using their time productively”….  “The length of an experience has little to do with the pleasure people derive from it.” [As the founder of RedBalloon of course I was going to bring this to your attention – and clearly last weekend that is what it was all about for our team... no one will every forget the day we all bundled onto a plane from Sydney to Cairns...]
  5. Invest in others. Volunteer, help, listen, assist, give, donate – there are so many ways to invest in others. What about simply friendship! If people have a friend at work they are far more likely to enjoy their job. I delighted in really getting to know my colleagues warts and all on the weekend… there is nothing like snorkeling the great barrier reef together to get a sense of friendship. (You know that moment when you take off your mask and your face is swollen and as friends you all have a great laugh – as you compare notes on what you have seen under the sea.)

It might be a little effort for the team to put the weekend together but seriously the value of our shared experience is endless and forever.

Shared Experience

Sunday, 30 June 2013

9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier

9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier

These minor changes in your daily routine will make a major difference in your life and career.


Happiness is the only true measure of personal success. Making other people happy is the highest expression of success, but it's almost impossible to make others happy if you're not happy yourself.

With that in mind, here are nine small changes that you can make to your daily routine that, if you're like most people, will immediately increase the amount of happiness in your life:

1. Start each day with expectation.

If there's any big truth about life, it's that it usually lives up to (or down to) your expectations. Therefore, when you rise from bed, make your first thought: "something wonderful is going to happen today." Guess what? You're probably right.

2. Take time to plan and prioritize.

The most common source of stress is the perception that you've got too much work to do.  Rather than obsess about it, pick one thing that, if you get it done today, will move you closer to your highest goal and purpose in life. Then do that first.

3. Give a gift to everyone you meet.

I'm not talking about a formal, wrapped-up present. Your gift can be your smile, a word of thanks or encouragement, a gesture of politeness, even a friendly nod. And never pass beggars without leaving them something. Peace of mind is worth the spare change.

4. Deflect partisan conversations.

Arguments about politics and religion never have a "right" answer but they definitely get people all riled up over things they can't control. When such topics surface, bow out by saying something like: "Thinking about that stuff makes my head hurt."

5. Assume people have good intentions.

Since you can't read minds, you don't really know the "why" behind the "what" that people do. Imputing evil motives to other people's weird behaviors adds extra misery to life, while assuming good intentions leaves you open to reconciliation.

6. Eat high quality food slowly.

Sometimes we can't avoid scarfing something quick to keep us up and running. Even so, at least once a day try to eat something really delicious, like a small chunk of fine cheese or an imported chocolate. Focus on it; taste it; savor it.

7. Let go of your results.

The big enemy of happiness is worry, which comes from focusing on events that are outside your control. Once you've taken action, there's usually nothing more you can do. Focus on the job at hand rather than some weird fantasy of what might happen.

8. Turn off "background" TV.

Many households leave their TVs on as "background noise" while they're doing other things. The entire point of broadcast TV is to make you dissatisfied with your life so that you'll buy more stuff. Why subliminally program yourself to be a mindless consumer?

9. End each day with gratitude.

Just before you go to bed, write down at least one wonderful thing that happened. It might be something as small as a making a child laugh or something as huge as a million dollar deal. Whatever it is, be grateful for that day because it will never come again.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Five Master Steps for Planning an Extraordinary Life

planning photo illustration

Most people are stressed because they’re keeping all the things they need to do in their heads. So they buy planners or download apps to get organized, and it’s a “eureka” experience because the simple action of capturing to-dos relieves stress initially.

But without a true system, a process of turning action items into the results you desire, the stress will ultimately return. To create a fulfilled life in which you’re achieving your goals, you’ll need the five master steps of planning:

Step 1: Capture Your Ideas, Wants and Dreams

Document the ideas, meetings, communications and results that need to be accomplished. In this step, you’re simply getting the ideas out of your head and onto paper (or into your computer or mobile device) quickly. When you first do this, it feels good. But if you stop here, you’ll just end up with a large to-do list—and stress will start to build up.

Step 2: Create a Results-Focused, Purpose-Driven, Massive Action Plan (RPM)

To create an RPM plan, ask and answer these questions:
1) What do I want? What’s my outcome? What’s the specific result I’m after?
2) Why do I want it? What’s my purpose?
3) What’s my massive action plan to get it done?

The secret to effective planning is to create the focus and emotions that produce results by organizing your objectives into specific results. This is your RPM plan. You’ll likely generate a small set of results you’re committed to achieve for the day or week. Next, take the items on your to-do list and organize them underneath each result (e.g. outcomes related to your health, business, family, etc.). Your focus will shift from the many action items you need to do to the four to six results that you’re committed to achieve.

Step 3: Commit

Now create blocks of time to work on specific outcomes. You might say, “7–8 AM, I’m working on the result of creating health. 9 AM–noon I’m working on the result of increasing my sales 5%.” This is key: If you don’t block out time for these things first, other distractions will take over.

Step 4: Schedule

It’s only after you’ve committed blocks of time to your important results that you should schedule things that must happen at a specific time, like meetings, classes, doctor appointments, etc.

Step 5: Complete, Measure and Celebrate

Now it’s time to take action: Complete the tasks needed to achieve your result, measure whether you’re on track, and celebrate your outcome. (If you don’t celebrate your results, you’ll lose the motivation to keep following through.) Instead of focusing on what you did today, focus on what you achieved!

For more strategies and tools to maximize your time, visit

“What’s talked about is a dream. What’s envisioned is exciting. What’s planned becomes possible. What’s scheduled is real.”
—Anthony Robbins