Notes from helping others find happiness through authenticity
By ANDREW CHUA
Did you know that there is a United Nations (UN) resolution on happiness? In 2012, all 193 member states unanimously adopted UN resolution 66/281 and declared March 20 henceforth to be International Happiness Day.
Sadly, there is little indication that this gesture of goodwill has made any difference to global happiness. On the contrary, the world seems to be rapidly becoming more unhappy.
At least a million people will have committed suicide this year and 20 million more tried to end their lives. In the United States alone, more than 40 million people are on antidepressants and many more would take them if they could afford to.
I am not a psychiatrist nor am I a psychologist; in fact, for more than two decades I was an international banker. However, I became so interested in what makes people happy that I quit my well-paying job and spent the past seven years developing, refining and running a workshop that helps people find lasting happiness in their lives.
My workshop has now been run in more than 14 countries and four continents starting in Hong Kong, the UK, the United States and Australia, and moving to more exotic places like Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.
Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of launching the workshop in Malaysia where the programme has been so impactful that a group of us have decided to set up a regional hub here to develop the concept further, for both individuals and businesses.
Most participants have found the workshop to be a life-transforming experience. It does not seem to matter what cultural background they are from or whether they are young or old, wealthy or poor, multiple PhD holders or high school dropouts; everyone has been helped to find happiness in life and many have gone on to realise the dreams within them.
What they all had in common was the discovery of many new insights about themselves during the workshop that has given them a new sense of identity and a new clarity about their life purpose and direction. Let me tell you a few stories.
Making a difference with your strengths
Dan came on my workshop unsure whether to take on a global leadership role for the professional group he belonged to. The person he was asked to take over from had a brilliant mind and brought much needed innovation to the group during his tenure. Dan felt that this would be a difficult act to follow.
During the workshop, he discovered that his life purpose was summed up by the phrase “deepening relationships”.
By the end of the workshop he had decided to take on the role as president realising that his leadership would enable practitioners around the world to connect with each other better and strengthen the network between them.
He did not need to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor but instead could add a different dimension to the organisation. Dan had an insight that changed his life.
Forging authentic leadership
When the workshops are run for business leaders and for teams, not just the individual but the whole organisation benefits. I was working with four founding partners of one of the fastest-growing private equity firms in Asia.
During the workshop, Bruce (not his real name), the managing partner, confided to the other partners about an ethical mistake he had made as a student, something he had never shared with anyone else before.
As he told his story, I could feel the bond of trust and friendship strengthen among the four men in the room.
Shortly after the workshop, Bruce made an announcement to the whole firm. He told them, “In the past, I have communicated with you what I thought about a deal; from now on, I am going to share with you how I feel as well.”
This seemingly small gesture transformed the culture of the company and made it into a much more personable place than before.
The employees had no idea why Bruce decided to do things differently, but having seen what happened earlier, I knew it was because he gained a valuable insight during the workshop that being vulnerable was not a weakness but a strength.
Building genuine customer relationships
When business teams experience the workshop together, the positive energy and new insights that are generated can be quite addictive with far-reaching consequences. I was running a workshop for a cutting-edge architectural firm in Hong Kong. We were reviewing the VIA classification of character strengths, which is one of the frameworks we use in the workshop.
The discussion turned to the topic of “love”, which is one of the VIA strengths but not a topic generally discussed in a work setting. All of sudden, the light came on almost simultaneously across the whole group. One of the architects blurted out, “I know what the problem is. There is clearly a lot of love among us as a team, but we don’t love our customers enough!”
It turns out that this proud group of architects resented their clients because, as architects, they wanted to design beautiful buildings but their clients seemed more interested in cutting back costs and frustrating their plans.
This insight led to a passionate round of brainstorming and by the end of the day, the team had come up with a new way of working which allowed them to remain true to their design principles whilst “loving” their clients more.
As these stories illustrate, if you want a more fulfilled life, you need new insights about yourself. But there is a catch. You cannot study an insight, purchase it, think it into existence or absorb it into your bloodstream by osmosis. To develop an insight, you have to come at it obliquely.
Under the right conditions, insights in fact happen naturally. My workshop is designed to create the optimal environment for generating lots of ideas in a short space of time, and I hope I will have the pleasure of meeting you at one in 2017.
Andrew Chua graduated with a first class honours degree from Oxford University. For 22 years he worked on international staff for HSBC in seven countries. He developed the Authentic Lives workshop out of passion to see people discover their unique identity and calling in life. Chua and his family live in England. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on Authentic Leadership and Authentic lives for your organisation, email email@example.com
Are you ready to UPGRADE YOUR LIFE?
“You have been upgraded to business class.”
Words that bring joy to a weary traveller.
Now how about a “life” upgrade? Would you like one of those? More to the point, are you in need of one?
To find out whether you are eligible for an upgrade try answering the following questions:
- Do I know what are my five most important values?
- Can I summarise the reason I am on earth in a single sentence or phrase?
- Do I know how to live a happy life?
- How can I start each day feeling more energised and less stressed?
- Am I pursuing my dreams? Do I even know what they are?
If you answer ‘No’ to any of the above questions, you deserve a life upgrade!
To start the journey of upgrading your life, please go to:
Register at the above page to take the free survey that has been taken by millions, and discover the answer to the first question.
On completion, we will send you information about a workshop that will enable you to find answers unique to you for the remaining questions and much, much more.
Don’t put this off; taking this first step could be the wisest decision you’ve made all year!
About the Authentic Lives workshop
Authentic Business Solutions (ABS) encompasses a portfolio of personal development and business transformation tools and services.
The ABS focus is to generate engagement for participants at various levels: engaging leaders, engaging employees, engaging youths, engaging organisations, and engaging communities.
The Authentic Lives Workshop is ABS’s flagship product, developed over seven years and tested in 14 countries. It is entirely insights-driven and enables participants to gain a deep understanding of their identity and to shape their intended future. To enable your organisation to go through the Authentic Lives programme, email firstname.lastname@example.org