Why Happiness Is The Key To A Successful Life

I came across this quote by Victor Hugo recently and it resonated with every cell in my body:

“Don’t educate your children to be rich. Educate them to be happy, so they know the value of things, not the price.” 

I wish I had known this growing up because I spent a lot of time chasing money to get things and made myself miserable in the process. Nobody told me that things will only make you happy for a while and you have to keep chasing new things. How exhausting is that?  If you are looking to live a happy life and don’t want to spend your life in pursuit of temporary highs, then you have to learn to live in a different way.

This gap in our education affects our mental health and it is what makes “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation,” as per a quote by the author Henry Thoreau. 

Once you have been educated to understand what makes you happy, that is; the things that contribute to your well-being, that is when you really start living. The top four as per research by London School of Economics are:

  1. Mental health
  2. Close personal relationship
  3. Physical health
  4. Income

I am not sure in what educational facility children are taught to prioritise their mental health, their family,  close friends, or their PE lessons. In fact, PE is normally relegated to the ‘also ran’ category when ‘serious’ subjects are being considered. In fact, you get tables of academic subjects that make the most money, presented to pupils as they make their university choices. So we are educating them to be rich and therein lies the problem.

The burden of teaching children to be happy primarily falls on parents, but with many parents living in quiet desperation, who is going to teach these kids to get their priorities straight? Knowing what to value and the value of things is what is going to set their priorities. Understanding that having close friends that you trust and will be there for you is better than being friends with the popular kids is a key to happiness. Yet how many parents are killing themselves to make sure their kids are seen in the right outfit so that they can hang out with the cool kids?

I coach working mothers in burnout and it always makes me chuckle when they justify their decision to literally kill themselves with the fact that they are paying for the best education and childhood for their children. Are you kidding me? The best education? They are watching you:

  • sacrifice your well-being for a job  
  • stuck in a relationship with someone you despise 
  • stuck in a body that you can’t bring yourself to look at in the mirror   

But, you think it is all worth it because you are paying for the best education and childhood for them? Since when did the best childhood involve watching your mother suffer? Ahem, did I mention that said education is only teaching them to be rich, not happy? What did I miss? When are we going to stop perpetuating this cycle? 

This brings me to my favourite quote by the Dalai Lama as this blog has ended being one of quotes:

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health. Then he is so anxious about his future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, then dies, having never lived.

Don’t let that be you. Educate yourself and your children to be happy, as a working mother, your children are looking at you. What are you modelling for them?

If you’re a working mother and you want to set a good example for your children when it comes to happiness, grab a chat with me here. If you want to hear more from me, you might be interested in my FREE masterclass – register here to watch anytime.