Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Smile & Go Seek (by Rob Grave)

Guest Post: Rob Grave

Rob is that guy who walks into a room and lifts the mood. Not as the world's biggest extravert but when a friend is down, or has done something they regret, or is just gatvol, Rob is the man you want around. I have known Rob to have tough times but he is a poster child for resilience. We met at university and keep in regular sms contact when the Boks are playing. Rob and I travelled to New Zealand together for the Rugby World Cup in 2011 and we fed off each other's positivity to try bounce back and enjoy the knockout stages without our boys on the field. Rob stayed at my place in London for a bit and it was the contrast of his smile and regular runs to my slothly couch dwelling that got me to pop down the road to the Yoga Centre. I can't exaggerate the positive impact that had on my life.  Rob's guest post keeps it simple but it is kind of like an insight into Wolverine: Origins. Rob's super power is his smile.


Smile & Go Seek
by Rob Grave

Question - why am I generally happy?

I can remember two interesting incidents when I was very young which I think went some way to shape this.

1) The first one was when I was having a haircut for school, probably about grade 2 or something. I noticed a small round sticker on the mirror I was staring at. It said "Smile, it's contagious". I remember trying this out. I would smile at the lady cutting my hair, and she'd smile back. I'd smile at the lady sitting next to me having her hair cut, and she'd smile back. That little sticker was right. And it generally always has been ever since.

2) The second incident was a bit of a lesson in counting your blessings. It again involved being at school, and as any young kid, there are patches when you hate school. Maybe hate is too strong, but you get the gist. So there I am sitting in the car park waiting to get fetched by my mom, seething about some terrible injustice that school had inflicted upon me again, when one of the other mom's saw me and asked how things were going, and after chatting with her she said, "Gosh you boys are so lucky to be at this school". For some reason that stuck with me, and made me realise that if I tried hard, I could actually find many positive things about school to be grateful for, and that made me feel better.

The Four Yorkshiremen - Rob was lucky

Both those lessons stuck with me, and help me to maintain a positive attitude and happy demeanour in day to day life. And they both seem to be self fulfilling prophecies because as you smile at people and they smile back, you actually start feeling happy as you feel surrounded by happiness. And if I find the positives of the situations that life throws me in or that I choose to be in, even if it's simply "this situation is tough and is teaching me a valuable lesson", then I often feel much more empowered to carry on through.


In writing a blog about several topics in which I admit to being a complete beginner, I am going to have to rely heavily on the people I am writing for who cumulatively know most of what I am likely to learn already. I would love it if some of you found the time to write a guest post on the subject of happiness or learning. The framework I use for thinking about these things is what I call the '5 + 2 points' which includes proper (1) exercise, (2) breathing, (3) diet, (4) relaxation, (5) positive thinking & meditation, (+1) relationships, (+2) flow. Naturally if you would like to write about something that you think I have missed, I would love to include that too. If you are up to doing something more practical, it would be awesome if you did a 100 hour project and I am happy to do the writing based on our chats if that is how you roll. Email me at 

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