The other day my meditation teacher Tim introduced me to a young bloke over an impromptu lunch. I was not in the mood for meeting someone new, to be frank. I was thyroidy and scratchy and couldn’t deal with the “So, what do you do?” palaver (a conversation pivot point that always makes my eyes glaze over). But something piqued me to show up.
Turns out this young bloke (my goodness, I am sounding old) – Sebastian Terry – and I hung back and chatted for some time after Tim left. We’d got onto the “So, why do you do what you do?” train of chatting (a thoroughly meaty one).
Seb’s response was wonderfully naive and authentic: “To prioritise happiness”. Usually such facile answers annoy me. So do “bucket lists”, which is what Seb went on to develop. (After the death of a close friend when he was 27 he was forced to ask ‘Am I happy?’. The answer was no and so wrote a list of 100 Things – most of which are geared at helping others – that he’s systematically worked through over the past four years, relaying the experience in the book 100 Things and in a Discovery Networks documentary. So far he’s married a stranger in Vegas, helped push a man in a wheelchair for a half marathon and run with the bulls.)
But Seb was convincing. He spoke about how, since his massive success, he gets emails constantly asking him to explain the secret to his success and following. “I tell them I simply put happiness first,” he says. “But sometimes people don’t get it. They go and build a shiny website, and do a big launch, and try to do the same thing as me and expect it all to fall into place. But they’re too caught up.”
All this happened on the day I Quit Sugar For Life came out. I was stressed to buggery from some major publisher hiccups (long story) and, earlier in the day, I’d snapped at someone in an email. I’d been feeling very off kilter for weeks, actually, like I was