ASK Andy Cope for his all-time favourite song and REM’S Shiny Happy People is sure to be among them.
For some, unlike those behind the iconic 1960s TV commercial, happiness doesn’t necessarily have to come in the form of a cigar called Hamlet. It can come from one of life’s many other simple pleasures and Andy advocates spreading goodwill to the point where he describes himself, among other things, as a “Happiness Expert”.
Anybody doubting such a thing could even exist should consider he has set-up the hugely successful 2%ers club, the UK’s first, foremost and…err…only society for happy people!
Andy is a qualified teacher, best-selling author, and self-confessed “learning junkie” who has spent the past 10 years studying positive psychology, happiness & flourishing, culminating in a Loughborough University PhD thesis. Flourishing is when your positive emotions leak out of you and raise the levels of happiness of your work colleagues.
Radio and TV appearances may have added to Andy’s all-round development as a person and aided his entrepreneurial spirit. And yet here is someone who likes nothing more than just to smile.
One of his top three feel-good tips is: ‘Write down the top 10 happiest moment of your life. They will all involve people and none will involve wifi.’
That statement is especially pertinent as Andy cites his ambition in life as being able ‘to surf, brilliantly’. Today’s youngsters have this to a fine art, of course, although Andy is actually referring to Popping Up in a Pipeline with a Radical Tailslide in the crashing waves off Newquay’s Fistral Beach, rather than being fastest-finger-first when it comes to accessing Instagram in the quickest possible time.
That tip from Andy, in a world where wifi talks – quite literally in a lot of cases – is such a thought-provoking sentiment and will surely resonate with most of us who are slaves to technology in one form or other in an ever-changing, hurly-burly world.
As a guest speaker at October’s Naked Leader Conference – his talk, told in his imitable amusing style – will be based around flourishing.
He says: ‘Most people are gripped by busyness to the point where life is flashing by in a blur. I will remind people that life is too short and precious to be skimming the surface.
‘I’ll delve into the science of positive psychology or, as I call it, “the science of the bleedin’ obvious”.’
Andy will speak about how we can flourish in the modern hectic world of work. While his PhD sits behind his message, he figures you don’t need any big words, just strategies that will make a huge difference to your life.
Another of his feelgood tips is to practice the 10/5 principle, where you smile at everyone who comes within 10 feet and make eye contact and say ‘hi’ to everyone within five.
‘It works everywhere, except London!,’ he smiles.
Also, he would like people to appreciate that your happiness has a ripple effect and impacts on three degrees of people removed from you. He will explain more about this at the Conference.
Andy appreciates that his ‘Dr of Happiness’ label is terribly cheesy but it affords him an important media platform. In times of rising depression and an epidemic of ‘busyness’, Andy believes there has never been a more appropriate time to raise the happiness agenda.
His research feeds into a training course called ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’ which has been delivered to rave reviews all over the world. Large businesses, including Microsoft, DHL, Pirelli, Pfizer, Hewlett Packard, Astra Zeneca and IKEA have all benefited from his experience and he has recently tailored his workshops to meet the needs of children and teachers and now delivers to audiences – from age eight upwards.
Is his philosophy a beacon of light? Well, never mind the Brecon variety strewn across a south Wales mountain range, Andy’s positivity shines brighter.
He has written The Art of Being Brilliant, Be Brilliant Everyday and The Art of Being a Brilliant Teenager (Capstone).
He has also penned a series for Crown House, aimed at teachers, and is currently working on two books for Hodder. He even (www.artofbrilliance.co.uk) moonlights as a children’s author. Spy Dog (Puffin) won the Redhouse Children’s Book of the Year and the series has sold in excess of a million copies worldwide.
‘I’m world famous,’ he boasts with a charming line in self-depreciation, ‘if you’re seven-years-old.’
Andy’s message is heart-warming and there can be little doubt he would endorse singer Pharrell Williams’ notion that happiness really is the truth.
Click here to book a place on this year’s Naked Leader Conference