Christine (26) from Hongkong, living in London
Christine – Happiness Seeker and Entrepreneur
We met Christine, who currently lives in London and founded a Startup, to discuss her personal journey to happiness. She reminded us that sometimes all it needs is a change in perspective, sometimes it’s just mental barriers we create that prevent us from simply being happy.
Christine, what is your dream?
My dream is for everyone to live a happy and positive life. I think the catalyst of unhappiness is the constant comparison between ourselves and other people, whether it’s your friends or people around you. There is always someone who is better than you in one way or another – a better job, a better partner, better way of living… you get the idea. On one hand, I feel that we just don’t stop and appreciate what we have and realise that it’s enough.
I’ve been going through some quite tough times in the last few years, as well as many people around me which really got me thinking about how we deal with these situations. I’ve been reading into one’s motivation to realise their own potential, such as theories behind self-actualisation. Currently I’m reading “The Art of Happiness” by the Dalai Lama – which I strongly recommend everyone to go and get a copy if you haven’t yet. The book made me realise how one portrays themselves on a daily basis, we constantly put up a front and it is actually stifling in terms of having to express ourselves, our creativity and also the desire to give back. I hope everyone is able to achieve this enlightened state, and I genuinely believe that it will make the world a better place (as cliché as it sounds!)
What are you doing personally to become positive-minded?
It’s difficult since it takes a lot of changes in little doses. I used to work in the banking industry and as you can imagine, it was a very hectic and high-pressure environment. It was actually very toxic. In some strange twist of fate I ended up coming back to London to read a Masters, and ended up working in the Technology industry which I love! Leaving the environment was the first step, and secondly having to surround yourself with people who are equally positive and you are able to “vibe” off. I meditate as well and having to incorporate this in your daily life is difficult! Gradually I was able to detach and fully experience the environment without the additional pressure. Secondly, I truly believe that once you start resonating these positive vibes and happiness, everything else follows suit.
So, if you could create a perfect environment, how would it look like?
Ideally it would be like utopia where everyone is just happy, but obviously that’s just “hippie speak”. For example, at the moment I’m trying to start my own start-up and a friend of mine is in the same position. We’re always trying to get investment, trying to aim for the next thing. We’ve experienced constant failures and setbacks, and people constantly trying to bring us down. It’s important to realise that even if we fail, even if we don’t make it, appreciate what you accomplish and realise that life is a journey and that you’ve come this far. Often, these are little things, little thoughts, that will change your mentality and perspective, and ultimately it will make a big difference in your approach to life.
If you could speak to your younger self what kind of advise would you give?
That’s so interesting, because what I’m telling you now is exactly what my Dad used to tell me all the time. However because it’s your Dad that’s telling you, you refuse to believe it and act upon it. In hindsight, I think one has to experience the tough times in order to fully understand the journey, so I think I’ve come full circle. What I would say to my younger self anyway is: “It doesn’t matter even if shit happens, it’s part of the process, don’t take it too hard on yourself.” I definitely took things upon myself for tough situations when I was younger. When things weren’t happening the way they were supposed to be, I took it on myself, and started blaming myself. You start beating yourself up, when you shouldn’t. Accept that it happened and then move on, you learn from experience.
Can you remember your most happiest moment?
I have so many – I love being around people I enjoy spending time with – every time I’m with good friends or family I’m at my best. However, I wouldn’t say I have a single ‘happiest moment’, because then this links back to the “constant comparison” example – I would start comparing these moments to each other. We’re always trying to chase happiness, you know? The secret is not chasing it, not comparing it, but just simply enjoying every moment.
Christine works as a Headhunter in Technology and is also a Founder of ShoutMeWhen. You can find her on Twitter and LinkedIn.