The Secret of Happiness – Letter to a friend – A tip from a guy in Broken Arrow, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Your dilemma is far from unique today. The world – small or large – is so uncertain anyway. You can never be certain in an uncertain world, however hard you try.

What I do know however, from my own experience, is how I misjudged my own early ambition. I wanted to be a barrister. I was warned off it by my uncle who was a barrister and, in his early days, starved! Never became prosperous. Never became a judge which would have given him a pension. More to the point I didn’t want to be a shop keeper. From what I could see of it, boring in a small town and a dead end. Put very simply I could not have been more wrong. I finally got it right. I was just so lucky that the job was there when I needed it, that I could enjoy the ride along with the people I met along the way, unexpectedly challenging, that I was able to put money into a pension that underpins our lifestyle today and, more than anything else, that I found my partner to share my life with. My legal training from time to time extremely helpful.

My great discovery. Life is what you make it, not the label that attaches to it. And I saw this in relation not just to me but in relation to all those I met along the way in all walks of life.


A wise man – the late Robert Keiningham from Broken Arrow,Tulsa, Oklahoma – who trained people as his job, got it right, in my view, when he urged his trainees to define what they actually wanted out of life. Everything else, he said, would fall into place after that, and that would be the trigger to it. 


“It’s like learning to fish – once you know how, it’s for life!”


You talk about the quest for happiness. Unhappiness is much easier to define and the best place to start.

Loneliness and absence of family and close friends, burdensome debt and rented accommodation, insecurity, stress, unpleasant, repetitive or dishonest work with people you don’t get on with, no music, no holidays and leisure facilities, no mental stimulation, battles with lawyers, boredom and frustration. If you can tick those off and say they don’t exist, you are at least half way to happiness.

The other half – getting both the rewards appropriate to your knowhow and commitment and the time to get satisfactions from giving to others; and feeling comfortable in your own skin regardless of what others think of you. And, as time goes by, it helps more and more to have a partner to share your life with. Children in our book not critical! Many would not agree with that.

There is the old Irish joke. The guy who is lost ask the Irish tinker boy for directions. The reply “If I were you, I wouldn’t be starting from here”. That, I guess, is what I am saying in relation to what you write.

Ambition isn’t Greed. Inequality is not always bad. What is bad is unfairness.

If you will let what I have written above be your SATNAV for your journey, I think it will help. You will note one thing. No politics! No Brexit! No Equality! Simply, in life there are winners (who get it right and thrive) and losers (who struggle and survive). You just have to try to be in the first lot if you can. And, it’s up to you.

Mission not-impossible




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