When you were a teenager, what bothered you the most? I bet, the grown-ups! They were always nagging us: Have you clean your room? have you done you homework? What do you want to be when you grow up? For this last one, I always had a chicky answer: I want to be happy! Little did I know that it will take me twenty long years to figure out what ‚happy‘ means. Sure, being happy at work, having enough money in a bank accout or staying healthy is very important! But for me that essential connection to people I really like is what makes me truly happy. There is a theory that we are the average of the five people we choose to associate with the most. We need to choose wisely, those five people influence us more than we know. To be happy in life, the five key people we need to find and stick to, are a friend, a peer, a mentor, a coach, what everybody needs – a cheerleader. Since I’ve heard about this theory, I started scrutinizing closely my relationships to identify my own circle of five.
I knew immediately who my cheerleaderwas – definitelly my husband Zoran. He cheeres me and holds me up throught the hardsest phases of my life, or of my day. This may lie in his cultural identity: the Croats know how to celebrate life, enjoy the wine and laugh and sing the songs, until the neigbours start shaking their heads in disbelieve. Over the years, as I am listening to his singing, and cheering, I’m thinking why not to enjoy life fearlessly, it is too short anyway.
We all need a friend. Don’t you think? Someone who accepts us for what we are. Warts and all. I’m so lucky I have Anja. She laughs with me when I laugh, cries when I cry. I know she is happy when I succeed, and as sad as I am when things are not working our for me. I hope you have such a friend too.
And we all need a peer. If you like me work for a big corporation, you know: the crowdier, the lonlier. We need a peer with whome we can share, be honest, have fun and who can help us keep the head in the game. The day Barbora joined my team, I felt fortunate. We’ve come up together, there is nothing like a team spirit and there is no challenge we cannot face.
My 3rd speech at Toastmasters was titled: ‚To see Paris and Die‘. In my country we say: you are not supposed to depart this life, until you visit Paris, allegedly the most beautiful city in the world. I almost did die, but while in Paris: freezing to death in a cheap hostel. After I gave the speech in the club, my mentor Martin handed me a bottle of champane, baguetee and soft cheese – the things I did not come accross while in Paris. Martin‘s refined taste for french cousine, and english language, always inspire me to work hard on my speeches. A good mentor will point you in the right direction. And you know what? Everytime I listent to him and went in that direction, I got out a happier person.
Sometimes when we coach people, and we see no result, we give up on them. My school sports coach –Tolik the Torture, used to yell at me: run, Darya, run, as I was dragging myself lazilly behind the rest of the class. Suddenly, so my years later, his words caught up with me. I am a runner these days. A true coach will kick you out of a comfort zone, and into a good shape, sooner or rather later.
For me the true happiness doesn’t come from wealth, success or even working hard. It comes from relationships I have with the peole I like. Do you have your cirle of five? Maybe they are your family, friends, Instagram followers, or simply people you can be vulnerable with, listen and share what is close to our heart. These relationships are the essence of our life and the happiness we all need.