“When I say pixie, you say dust!”

Undoubtedly one of my highlights of OMD UK’s Innovation Week 2015 has to be this morning’s talk by  Danny Bent. Recently named one of the 100 happiest people in the UK, he is the human equivalent of the song from the Lego movie. He personifies AWESOME.

A dyslexic child from a tight knit family and with a side of ADD, a horrific cycling accident (think falling down a 10m high ravine) spurred him to leave his miserable corporate finance job and pursue a life less ordinary. Well, junior school teaching. It was the start at least

He left his teaching job in the UK to move to India, but such was his commitment to the hard work he’d achieved with his kids in encouraging health and fitness, that when asked how he would get to India, he decided to cycle.

Crazy? Perhaps, but it led him on an adventure which took him through various corners of the world, to a bestselling and awarded book and charitable endeavours.

But, back to happiness. Danny took us through five key rules of positivity, to lead us all to the happy place he sits in:

  • Challenge your fears and push your barriers. Soon you won’t see anything scary as a roadblock.
  • Have a journalistic viewpoint on everything you do. Keep at least 10% of your brain thinking “This is nuts, but it’ll make a great story!” – even when faced with a gun-toting Ukrainian.
  • Help others. This can be anything from a nice comment, a hand across the street, or raising £550k for the victims of the Boston bombing. It all goes some way to being happy and sharing happiness.
  • Be in the present. Being mindful of the here and now is the only place where you can truly be you. Purely you.
  • Find your tribe. Those with the outlook, interests or passions that dovetail with yours. If that tribe doesn’t exist – build it. This is exactly what Danny has done with Project Awesome – a free fitness club for anyone and everyone.

One final thing I took away from his lecture (beyond the fact that he is 90% scars and likes to open with hugs and jumping about) is this:

“Be you. Be you as hard as you possibly can.”

That, at least, is something we should all have no problems getting to grips with.


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