Just Be Brilliant

Ben ForteEngagement


Last week I attended a Librarian Annual Conference hosted by Babcock.

The main speaker for the day was Andy Cope. Andy is a trainer, speaker, teacher and author of a popular¬†book series Spy Dog and also ‘The Art of Being Brilliant’. Now I will start off by saying the theme of what Andy was talking about was quite unexpected for me and I initially felt quite critical but I found his whole workshop very thought provoking and inspiring.

Andy has been doing a Doctorate at the University of Loughborough investigating the science of happiness and positivity.

I couldn’t possibly do Andy’s presentation any justice in a blog post, he is a great public speaker, hugely entertaining and has spent years researching and studying his area of expertise.

The talk starts off by talking about things that cause us not to be happy ‘The 4 horseman of negativity’ and how we can all get stuck thinking about the monotonous days we have and the feeling of constant tiredness. Now I will say now not everyone feels like this but they are definitely things that make you feel negative. The analogy that Andy says many people live their life to is that people are always looking for the end of the rainbow, instead of just enjoying each day and living each day to its most we are always looking forward to something in the future e.g. Can’t wait until the Easter holidays, then they come and then you can’t wait for the Summer. It seems we are almost conditioned to be like this and we learn this behaviour from our friends and family and even brands ‘TGI Fridays’ for example is a brand that this whole concept is their branding.

So we need to celebrate life ‘It’s the best show on earth’.

Ok so not everyone feels this way some people are in the upper positive area of life but some people are at the bottom and Andy refers to them as ‘Mood Hoovers’. I think we all can probably think of someone who is a mood hoover in our lives, someone who always sees the negative in everything and even when you feel happy can bring you down. Andy talks about being a 2%er someone who is at the top and is generally an all round positive person. I felt like I must fit into this area as a lot of the negative feeling that many people in the room agreed with I didn’t feel applied to me in my life.

So how can we be happier, well Andy has surveyed thousands of people to find out what makes them happy and has even spoke to Britain’s happiest man to find out what makes him so happy… It turns out it is quite simple he is happy because ‘he chooses to be’ and I thought that was very important. When life can sometimes be tiring and difficult you have to choose to be positive and have positive feeling about it and the boost that alone can give you is incredible. Andy said when he decided to become a 2%er he needed to find something simple in life to think about each morning to put him in a positive mood for the day. I have tried it for about a week now and I am not sure it works as Andy may have intended it to but is does make me laugh each morning which means it is having a positive effect :)

The last part I would like to mention is ‘The ripple effect’ Andy described this as basically our happiness being passed on to others e.g. smiling at people as you walk down a corridor will make them feel happier which means they may smile at someone else and so on and so on. Now I do this anyway and it is not a conscious effort it is just the way I am but I have felt the opposite before where I have smiled at someone and have got no response back and it can make you feel a little negative so I really do understand the ‘mood hoover’ analogy.

I believe some people do just have an innate ability to be happy and see the positive in life but maybe some people will need to make a little more effort, I am happy to be a 2%er :)

When Andy finished he showed a really great video of an airline that made its customers happy during the safety announcements and it reminded me of a video I had seen on YouTube. So I will leave you to watch this and be happy :)