Marci Shimoff's pursuit of happiness has been a long and prosperous one. In 1996 she became a co-author to the motivational book series, Chicken Soup for the Soul before going on to write her own bestsellers Happy for No Reason (2008) and Love for No Reason (2010).
As a world-renowned transformational teacher, author, and speaker, Marci delivers keynote seminars on happiness and success to companies around the world and is currently leading a one-year mentoring program called Your Year of Miracles.
We spoke with Marci at Ireland's Pendulum Summit at Dublin's Convention Centre to discover the secret to her success.
The pursuit of happiness
I would describe myself as a transformational leader. I'm an author, a teacher, a speaker, a mentor. And I do this because there's a saying, 'we teach what we most want to learn' and the things that I speak about and teach about are the things that I want to learn and remind myself of all the time.
So for people who would want to do this kind of work, the first thing to do is: do it on yourself, it matters. And then, secondly, find a mentor. Find someone who you resonate with.
My mentor was a man called Jack Canfield who was the originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books and I ended up co-authoring the women's books in the Chicken Soup for the Soul series with him.
So find people who are doing what you want to do and learn from them.
The key message that I wanted to get across while I was in Dublin is that happiness matters.
Happiness actually has a huge effect in every area of our life. It affects our success, it affects our health, it affects our financial status, it affects our relationships.
When we focus on happiness, all those other things fall into place.
You know, we have it backward in our society, we think that success is going to make us happy - if that were the case, there would be a lot more happy people in Hollywood, there would be a lot more happy people running companies.
The reality is that success doesn't make us necessarily happy but becoming happier does bring us greater success.
Can money buy happiness?
The research on happiness is very interesting, what it shows is that money does matter to some degree. It matters up to the level of comfort.
Once you can pay your basic bills, then no amount of money beyond that will actually make you happier so this is why we see millionaires and billionaires and they aren't very happy.
It's a myth to think that money or actually anything outside of us is going to make us happier. In fact, it is really an internal job.
Magic trick or psychological tick? RTÉ LifeStyle’s Taragh Loughrey-Grant meets happiness expert Marci Shimoff at Pendulum Summit and Marci proves how a positive mindset can have an immediate effect on our lives and bodies.
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Is happiness contagious?
People always ask me, 'Isn't this selfish to want to be happier? You know, what about the world?'. My answer is that it's the least selfish thing that you can do because when you're happier, you're affecting everybody around you; your family, your friends; your co-workers.
There's a beautiful Chinese proverb that I think sums this up, it goes: When there is light in the soul there will be beauty in the person, when there is beauty in the person there will be harmony in the house, when there is harmony in the house there will be order in the nation, and when there is order in the nation there will be peace in this world.
So it really starts with the light in our souls. My prayer and my wish is that each of us feels that light in our own soul and we know are own happiness and through that we help to contribute to peace on this planet.
How can I have a happy day?
Three tips to start your day to ensure that your day is happy - it's in that energy of happiness.
1. Wake up with gratitude. Start your day feeling grateful for the fact that you woke up. That, whatever it's like outside, you are alive. You get to breathe fresh air, that you have freedom. Think about what it is that you appreciate and perhaps look in the mirror in the morning as you're brushing your teeth and feel that gratitude.
2. Move your body. Moving our body gets the endorphins going, some of those happiness chemicals. Get your body moving in some way in the morning.
3. Spend a few minutes meditating. That just means, close your eyes, focus on your heart and even, just as very simple practise, put your hand on your heart and you can imagine your breathing in and out of your heart and you can just focus on words like 'love' or 'compassion'.
All of those things, put together every morning, and you are guaranteed to have a great start to your day.
What's your best advice for life?
While I was unhappy growing up, I was fortunate in one sense because I had a great happiness mentor - my father. My father lived to 91-years-old and his motto was 'every day that I'm breathing is a good day'. He woke up every morning with a smile on his face, he was the happiest guy I knew.
When I was about 19, I was riding in the car with him and I asked him - I thought a very wise question - I said, 'Dad, what's your best advice for life?' and he answered me with four words. He said, 'Honey, just be happy'.
Well, I threw my hands up in the air with frustration. I said, 'Dad, that's easy for you to say. You were born that way, I wasn't. What do I do?'. And he thought for a minute and he said to me, four more words.
He said, 'Honey, I don't know'.
And that's when I realised, some people are just born happy. I wasn't one of those people so I needed to figure out what to do in order to be one of those happy people.
Former professional rugby player Paul O'Connell also spoke at the Pendulum Summit. Watch our interview with the former athlete here where he talks about his life after rugby and plans plus priorities for the future.
Interview by Taragh Loughrey-Grant & Sinann Fetherston