It’s not what you know…

It’s not what you know, but who you know!

I never liked hearing this often said phrase growing up. It was always said with such bitterness. The implication being that despite hard work and competency a person might never succeed in life unless they know the right people. There is truth in it; we hardly live in a meritocratic society.

Yet I was having a chat with a friend the other day and I recognised just how much the phrase “it’s not what you know, but who you know” applied to my own life. And I found myself celebrating that it applied to me so strongly. I also felt a pride at the effort I’d put in to make it so.

When it comes to living a happy and contented life nothing could be more important than the quality of the relationships in our lives. Not as a means to get ahead so we can obtain greater economic success in life and find happiness that way, as the cynical take on the “it’s not what you know” phrase suggests, but as an end in itself. Our relationships matter for happiness and well-being and most other things pale in comparison – I’ve always known that in my heart, as you probably do too, and the statistics undoubtedly confirm it.

I’ve finally come to a rest after 2 years of pedalling about on my bicycle. The plan was to cycle to Bhutan and then come back home. Yet once I made it to Bhutan and returned home after 18 months of journeying about happiness I decided to stay on my bicycle. For the last 6 months I’ve never felt happier with my life and it is a testament to the people I know.

post bhutan
Here you see how my happiness and well-being has changed over the last two years. The final dashed line is when I returned home – see how less anxious, yet happier, satisfied, and more worthwhile I fell in my life in the last months!!! See this link for how I measured my happiness

I totted up some numbers last night and in the last 6 months since being back though I’ve camped a fair bit (64 nights) I’ve stayed in the homes of many different others much more (116 nights in 31 different homes). Not because I needed to stay, but because I wanted to nourish the deep connections I have in my life.

I feel lucky, but I know it was no accident. Over the years I have worked hard on creating deep and authentic relationships, through learning and practicing communication that is devoid of blame and judgement, through listening more attentively, through being fully present with others. I had to convert all of that knowledge about creating nourishing relationships and it seems I have succeeded. It meant a lot of hard work and it took time. We really do need one another – true wealth is in our community bonds.

Last night I arrived at the farmhouse where I will be staying for the next few months. Now it is time to write the book about my journey for happiness and share all that I know. An exciting new phase!



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