Feb 022016
This entry is part 7 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

Over the last couple of months we’ve been looking at happiness, in the series, Happiness is Go!
In this post I’m going to summarise what we’ve discussed, to remind you of the five barriers that block all soft skills and the impact they have on our happiness.

If you’d like to read the previous episodes you’ll find them here:

happinessPart 1. Introduction To Happiness Is Go!
Part 2. Get Out Of That Box
Part 3. Getting Happier Relationships
Part 4. Down With Being Down
Part 5.How To Build Structures For Freedom
Part 6.Get Creative…It’s Only Logical

In Part 1 we considered what happiness is and what soft skills have got to do with it. I shared one of my favourite definitions of happiness:

“Happiness is a deep sense of flourishing,
not a mere pleasurable feeling or fleeting emotion
but an optimal state of being.”
Matthieu Ricard

In Part 2 we began our exploration of the barriers, by looking at how we can get ‘boxed in’ by Backward Focus. This is the barrier that arises when we’re dominated by the past. It causes us to live our life according to another’s rules and criteria, rather than relying on our own experience and interpretation of the here and now. It damages our ability to lead ourselves and others.

“Care about other people’s opinion and you will be their prisoner.”
Tao Te Ching

The second barrier we considered was Inward Focus. This becomes a barrier when we are so caught up in ourselves that we can’t see things from any other perspective than our own. A lack of empathy limits our ability to communicate, to connect, to learn, or to establish meaningful relationships.

“Keep listening.
Never become so self-important that you can’t listen to other players.”
John Coltrane

Next we looked at the trickiest of the barriers, Downward Focus. This covert, manipulative barrier acts likes a smiling mask; it hides problems and denies anything is wrong, while it gnaws away at our spirit and our potential. It confuses us and causes us to doubt ourselves.

“As soon as you trust yourself you will know how to live.”

The fourth barrier we examined was Right Focus. This is the one that can be most seductive, as it’s caused by our apparently benign imagination. But it wastes our time, and means that our ideas will never come to fruition and we’ll be unable to reach our goals. Without clear, effective structures we float through life, like a boat on a river without banks.

“Without structure, there is nothing for creativity to get leverage upon.”
Steven Denning

The final barrier we looked at was the rigid one, Left Focus. This almost doesn’t seem like a barrier, as its form of logic is currently the most respected way of seeing life. The hardest part of overcoming it is to challenge its dominion. But unless we counteract it we’ll never be in balance, nor in tune with the way life actually is. And we’ll be incapable of dealing with uncertainty and rapid change in ways that can bring us happiness.

“We need fewer techies and more poets in our systems design shop.
And more artists…and more jazz musicians…and more dancers…period.
(Or, rather, consider that an action item).”
Tom Peters

The Conclusion Of Happiness

So those are the five barriers that block all your soft skills, and limit your capacity for happiness.

When you break through these five barriers you will be living life with a balance that enables happiness.

This doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong.

It doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed great wealth, fame, beauty and good luck!

It doesn’t mean you’ll have a permanent smile :)

It doesn’t promise the impossible.

When you break through the five barriers it means that you:

  • are fully awake
  • are in harmony with the way life actually is
  • respond to everything that happens with equanimity
  • fully appreciate the extraordinary experience of life
  • make the most of your life
  • are happy and “…in an optimal state of being.”

It also means that you can break through the sixth barrier. Yes, there is one more…and it’s the icing on the cake of life!

But more of that in future.

“People create barriers between each other…
When these barriers have been dissolved there arises one mind,
where they are all one unit,
but each person also retains his or her own individual awareness.”
Joseph Jaworski

I hope this series has given you happiness!

Let me know how your barrier-breaking and happiness-building is going :)

And if you’d like some additional reading to help you on your barrier-breaking way, remember you can pick up a copy of How To BreakThru the 5 Barriers To Happiness.



thoreau quote

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Jan 262016
This entry is part 6 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

This is the sixth in the series on Happiness and how soft skills can ‘up’ your happiness level. Today we’re looking at the last of the five barriers that block your soft skills and reduce your happiness.

This barrier – Left Focus – is obsessed with logic, and blocks off your creative abilities. Breaking through it gets Left Focus into balance, and allows space in your life for creativity, intuition, and serious fun…essential ingredients for a happy life :)

So we’ll:

  • consider how to dissolve this rigid barrier
  • look at the impact this has on our happiness
  • learn a simple happiness-habit

Continue reading »

Jan 192016
This entry is part 5 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

This is the fifth  in the series on Happiness and how soft skills can ‘up’ your happiness level.

Today we’re go to tackle the barrier that blocks the soft skills that give our life structure.

Now maybe you’re really organised and on top of all things admin, in which case this barrier probably isn’t a major problem for you.

Or perhaps you thrive on chaos, in which case this barrier will make you incredibly happy!

But probably you’re somewhere between the two…

Continue reading »

Jan 122016
This entry is part 4 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

This is the fourth in the series on Happiness and how soft skills can ‘up’ your happiness level.

Today we’re considering the trickiest of the five barriers that block soft skills, and seeing how breaking through it releases our most powerful ‘happiness-inducing’ abilities.

If you’d like to catch up with the previous episodes you’ll find them here:
Part 1. Intro To Happiness
Part 2. Get Out Of That Box
Part 3. Getting Happier Relationships

mask / happiness / downward focusThe barrier in question is Downward Focus. This barrier is often hidden, always devious, and sometimes downright dangerous.

It can play its devilish tricks without us even being aware of it, reducing our confidence and self-motivation, diminishing our ability to promote ourselves and our work, and dampening our spirits and enjoyment of life.

There’s no chance to be happy while Downward Focus is hanging around! Continue reading »

Jan 052016
This entry is part 3 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

happiness / listeningThis is the third in a series on Happiness – how breaking through barriers and developing soft skills will improve your level of happiness.
To maximise your happiness you might find it helpful to catch up first with the previous posts – Part 1 and Part 2.

The barrier we’re interested in here is Inward Focus, which cuts off our ability to communicate effectively, in personal and professional settings. So we’ll be:

  • considering how we dissolve this barrier
  • looking at the impact this has on our happiness
  • learning a simple happiness-habit

Continue reading »

Dec 152015
This entry is part 2 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!

In the last post I kicked off this series on Happiness with some thoughts about happiness in general. Now we’re going to start digging into the way that soft skills affect happiness, and how to up your soft skills and improve so much about your life, including happiness.

“Soft skills are the traits and abilities of attitude and behaviour
rather than knowledge or technical aptitude.”

I’m not going to delve here into why soft skills are so monumentally important at this time…but let’s just say that in the space of a decade they’ve gone from being considered fluffy, non-essential, nice-to-haves, to being called the C21st skills.

Without well-developed soft skills, this rapidly changing, globally connected, somewhat scary 21st century world is a challenging, hostile environment.

With soft skills, you’re equipped for everything that you’ll encounter, and excited by it!

That’s why soft skills are key to happiness. Continue reading »

Dec 072015
This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Happiness Is Go!
 This is the first post in a 6-part series about happiness and, specifically, how soft skills can improve your level of happiness. You can read the introductory post here.


Happiness has become a hot topic! There’s been a multitude of books written on the subject over the last few years, along with the growth of movements such as Positive Psychology, initiatives like Action for Happiness, and involvement from both governments and businesses

But why now? After all, people have always sought happiness!  
Continue reading »

Nov 302015

Tis the season to be jolly! And to get us into the spirit, the next few posts will be all about happiness.

So if your happiness levels could do with a boost, and you want go into 2016 brimming with joie de vivre, read on!

“How can I enjoy my life more?”

It’s a simple question, but huge! And one that many people ask themselves. Their lives may be full of all kinds of gifts; they’re financially wealthy in comparison to most; their work is quite rewarding. Yet they’re unhappy and don’t know why or what to do about it.happiness

So what’s going on here?

Why are so many people unhappy?

How can we be happier?

Continue reading »

Sep 152015

Employee churn costs companies a fortune, and research results flag up the cause – it’s usually down to the boss.

survey by Approved Index confirms what many believe is the root of the problem – employees leave managers not jobs: of the employees surveyed, 42% had left a job because of a poor relationship with their boss. This inadequate people management, according to the Impact of Investing in People study, is costing UK companies £84 billion a year.

Boss shoutingAlthough the problem lies with the manager, is the fault really theirs?

Continue reading »