Most of us live our lives on 'fast-forward'.  Sometimes we need to put our lives on 'pause' … to look inside and find the wisdom we have accumulated … or at least to gain some perspective.

That’s why I wrote Be Happy: To give readers something to prompt them to sit down and pause for a moment.

I don’t claim to be an expert at anything.  But, after thirty years as a journalist, I reckon I’m a reasonable observer.  And I’ve noticed that those who follow their dreams and are the happiest people I see have usually simplified their lives.

It makes sense when you think about it.  Each day our lives seem more entangled.  We’re often bewildered by choice.  Golfers call it ‘paralysis by analysis’.  Too often, our work dominates and swamps our lives.  

Who doesn’t want to be happy in their lives? Anyone with any brains is trying to find balance in their family and work lives.  We know instinctively that balance brings us real happiness.

It seems to me that happiness is a state of mind.  It doesn’t depend on perfection in our lives.  It’s a beautiful amalgam of feelings – which lifts our heart and our spirit and brings joy to those around us.  It usually comes from seeking things that have substance and meaning.

It also occurred to me that happiness doesn’t come from the big things in our lives. Usually, it comes from the little things.

So, when we seek happiness, even small changes can have a transformative impact on us.

Happiness means something different to each one of us.  It’s hard to define, but you know it when you feel it.  It’s tantalising, it’s elusive, but I believe it’s never too late to find happiness.

Some things certainly make it harder to be happy … until you recognise them and make allowance for them.

For example, there’s no question that the pace of our lives has increased exponentially. In 1805 the news of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar took fully six months to reach Australia. Just 48 years, ago during the Cuban missile crisis when the world hovered on the brink of nuclear war, when Nikita Kruschev decided to withdraw his threats to the US, he did it by sending a telegram to President Kennedy! 

If Trafalgar were happening today, we’d be watching it live.  And there’d be a reality TV program based on it, where the winner would become an admiral … and James Packer would be advertising during the battle on how we could bet on the result and the first scorers. 

The other major downer is the constant measurement of almost everything we do in our lives: from the moment we’re born to the day we shuffle off, we’re being measured, assessed and compared. 

Each day newsreaders breathlessly tell us of the fate of the dollar, the oil price, interest rates, property values, stock prices, the all-ordinaries, here and around the globe. When we talk about the weather, it’s not whether it’s a lovely day, it’s how the Southern Oscillation Index is travelling.

It’s almost as though we’ve reached the stage where if you can’t measure it, it can’t be real.  Yet, it was no less a genius than Albert Einstein, not noted for his utterances on feelings, who said: “Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything that counts can be counted.”

I reckon it’s time to pause and reflect. That’s why I wrote Be Happy.

Whatever our age, whatever our stage in life, it’s never too late to take control of our destinies, to rethink our priorities, to rekindle our passions and to chase our dreams … and, most importantly, to have fun and be happy when we’re doing it!