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PERSONAL MASTERY: Happiness

The second pillar in finding happiness is a State of Mind. It is conditioning our minds to be happy with what we have, who we are, and our interpretation of life, specifically how we interpret success and failure.

Very often, our past learning experiences inhibit our development and growth. We sometimes are so discouraged by setbacks in life that we don’t explore new avenues of progress.

One of the secrets of success is that we should not fear failures. Failure is not the opposite of success. On the contrary, failure is part of success. Instead of seeing success and failure as mutually exclusive, see them as inextricably linked.

While failure and success seem to be two separate concepts that may appear to contradict each other, they are two sides of the same coin that complement each other.  Our experiences have shown us that you will never really taste the sweetness of success until you’ve tasted the bitterness of failure.

No doubt failure is a reality, but The CEO of the Universe has granted each of us unique and enormous potential to achieve and progress through the challenges of life provided we try and work hard at earning and superseding our personal bests.


Jaime Lyn Beatty said that “jobs fill your Pocket. Adventures fill your Soul”. In October 2008, we decided to take a break from our job for a week and went on a wildlife adventure safari.  We were privileged to find ourselves in the resplendent Masai Mara National Park in Kenya in West Africa. 

Here where we observed one of The CEO of the Universe’s many wonders; the mass migration of Wildebeest, from Kenya’s expansive Mara into Tanzania’s lush Serengeti. The encounter is a feast for the eyes and nutrition for the soul. Not just for us humans, but for giant crocodiles on the Mara River too. As the Wildebeest exodus from south Kenya into north Tanzania goes into overdrive, some become casualties to the crocs. These crocs appetite satiety mechanisms enter a frenzy. But for the thousands of Wildebeest that survive the grueling “iron man” like a journey, their eventual sojourn in the Serengeti brings with it a tremendous and resurgent welcome of resources to enjoy.

Before entering the park, we stopped at an elephant farm. We were somewhat surprised when we saw a herd of elephants that were being held by a small rope tied to their front legs, with neither chains nor cages to restrain these six-ton beauties. The elephants could break away from their bonds, but for some reason, they did not. We saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals stood there and made no attempt to getaway.

After the trainer welcomed us in his native Swahili by saying jumbo, which loosely means welcome in English, he explained to us that “when elephants are very young and much smaller, we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s sufficient to keep them at bay. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free”.

After departing the farm and entering the vast and transcendent Mara wilderness, we pondered and thought that like elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before? Many get trapped that if we try once and don’t get it right, it's over and that we’ve failed.

Before 1998, no coach in the history of European soccer had won a treble of trophies. But an outstanding Scottish visionary by the name of Alex Ferguson came along and showed the world that when our hearts truly believe, there is no limit to what The CEO of the Universe will help us achieve, that is far beyond what our minds can conceive. A few months before the 21st century was ushered in and on the eve of the new millennium, Manchester United went on spectacularly to win the English Premier League and English FA Cup. If the double was not enough, on 26 May 1999, Teddy Sheringham and Norwegian-born Ole Gunnar Solksjaer scored two late goals to cancel out Bayern Munich’s Mario Basler’s first-half goal. They went on to win Europe’s most prominent sporting prize, the European Champions League. A year later, Ferguson was knighted by the Queen of England to become SIR ALEX FERGUSON. But before amassing a cabinet of trophies, most folk may be surprised to know that Sir Alex was almost fired by the Board of Manchester United when he became coach in 1986. It took a good seven years before Ferguson lifted the English Premier League trophy in 1993, a trophy that eluded Manchester United since 1967. If Ferguson had given up and was afraid to fail, he probably would have failed. The chances are that the groundbreaking treble would not have been achieved before the new millennium. So our dear friends, be like SIR ALEX FERGUSON. He suffered in the late eighties, but enjoyed the nineties and noughties as a Victor, and will live for all eternity as a Champion!  Never stop until you win! Sir Alex Ferguson proved President Nelson Mandela’s timeless words that “it always seems impossible until it’s done.”

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