- Thursday, December 03, 2015 9:46 AM
Skopje, 3 December 2015
Happiness is a life value. Many people place high value on things like success, knowledge, money, power and possessions. The sum total of these items cannot create or guarantee the feeling of happiness that is found in the heart and soul - something that is "priceless" because it can not be bought or acquired. It needs to be cultivated from within.
This is the life motto of Maura Sweeney, the Ambassador of Happiness. An American, who swapped a successful career as a corporate manager to dedicate her life to studying happiness and transmitting her experiences in other people. In an interview with MIA, Maura tells us how we can work to achieve happiness.
According to her, happiness has multiple effects on our life. It helps us feel elevated, grateful, creative, free and filled with hope. When we are happy, we can influence this atmosphere to spread around to the people who surround us.
In her years of work as a lecturer on this topic, with a series of on-line editions published under the title "The Art of Happiness", her many lectures, and blog posts, including on the Huffington Post, Sweeney is constantly communicating with people from different backgrounds, educational and societal standing, who often approach her with questions such as: "What things are preventing me from enjoying a happy life? What things are preventing me from feeling fulfilled in life? What steps can i Take to change the way I think and thereby become a happier person?"
Happiness is a way of life
She responds saying that, for her, happiness is a way of life, of every-day thinking and an evolving state of well-being. "Happiness is knowing that my inside values, interests and curiosities are all being exercised, cultivated and projected. What I say, do and produce are all in agreement with who I am on the inside. Happiness is becoming 'at one' or 'in agreement' with my inner self", Sweeney tells us.
According to the Ambassador of Happiness, people are in fact what they think. No one tells us if our life experience is a function or outgrowth of our thought life. In fact, Sweeney adds, our thought patterns create experiences, rather than the other way around.
"There is an old proverb which says 'As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he'. It expresses a very simple but profound truth: our thoughts create our experiences in life. We can choose to adopt an ongoing process, a mental discipline, to achieve happiness in life. We choose in each situation to see good; to see what is better; to see new solutions and higher alternatives. As we do, new thoughts, ideas and outcomes begin to appear - often to our great surprise and personal joy. Most of all, we can choose to believe in Ultimate Benevolence as the backdrop to our mind and therefore 'see' Benevolence play out in our personal lives as well as in our society", Sweeney tells us.
Values in leadership
Maura Sweeney took part in the President Ivanov's School of Leaders Alumni Association, where she spoke about sustainable leadership. To the assembled young leaders of Macedonia, she spoke about how we've grown accustomed to seeing leaders come and go, but the values that help sustain a leader remain. "These are to see the worth and value in others; to treat others with respect; include others in problem solving; encourage the inclusion and participation of others for their expertise; cultivate an environment where others are empowered to be individuals of influence; allow others to express themselves, grow and even make mistakes as they seek new answers to challenges and develop new solutions and avenues of thought; become a leader who concentrates on his/her personal development so he/she can bring others up in the process".
Changing the world
Sweeney says she grew up believing in a good world where people are welcomed, appreciated, where they shared and learned from each other. "In such a world, we really do 'see' happiness manifest as an ideal that delivers both tangible and intangible benefits. It is an entirely different paradigm than what most are accustomed to, usually because they are repeating familiar, fear based patterns. I have exercised all of my beliefs throughout my corporate management career as well as in other environments and have found that they are effective in creating successful environments. The keys are consistency in thought, word and deed in order to see the results".
Many people, according to her, see happiness as a fleeting idea acceptable only to weak-minded individuals. "The opposite is true", Sweeney says. "Deciding to 'live happy - from the inside out' requires a great deal of courage to be true to oneself and to adhere to a higher value system - even in the face of resistance, challenges and risks. In the end, the pursuit of a life of happiness is something that each of us can engage in to change our personal world - and help create a brand new world of hope for those around us".
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