Bill Murray has made a career out of being someone.
He’s a someone who appears at wedding receptions for people he doesn’t know to just celebrate (if you can find the 1-800 number he uses in lieu of a manager or agent, you can invite the SNL alum to literally anything you want, really). He’s appearing in the upcoming St. Vincent about a cranky old neighbor who becomes the anti-hero for the boy next door. He’s been known to run around the streets of New York warning pedestrians about lobsters on the loose.
Yesterday a friend dropped an email into my inbox.
It said, “I just have to share something with you …..on Sunday, Brian
and I went to see the feature film, Hector and The Search for Happiness…
we laughed, we cried…it is funny, inspiring, transformational….we just loved it.”
By the end of the day, I’d watched the trailer several times, remembered how much I loved Simon Pegg, and had some great answers to questions about happiness from director and co-writer Peter Chelsom.
May I present “Hector and the Search for Happiness”…
As the man who filmed a man traveling the world in search of happiness, Chelsom seems pretty qualified to offer insights as to what makes people feel whole and satisfied. We’re happy to share the interview and his wisdom here!
Intent: Why do you think “Hector and the Search for Happiness” is important for today’s audience? PC: We have lost sight of what happiness really is. We have become too “needy.” We are more pre-occupied with being interesting as opposed to be interested. And credit and advertising have made sure that we are never going to have enough!
Intent: What is one thing you think the world doesn’t get about happiness? PC: Making happiness the goal doesn’t really work but what does work is understanding that real happiness is a by-product of giving yourself over to life, being in the flow, being inspired. What does work is that real happiness is richness. Richness is the full spectrum of all of the emotions, all the colors.
Intent: What/where is your happy place? PC: Being with my family. And, being with my family at our home in Italy.
Intent: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone who starting their own search for happiness? PC: I say to my sons. “Come on boys, what is the secret to happiness and they reply kindness.” I love that because it’s a mission, a plan, an transitive action, something you can do. The by-product is surely happiness.
Intent: Were you surprised to learn anything over the course of filming- about yourself, about your career, about life? PC: Very much. How lucky I am. How far I’ve come. As writers, Tinker Lindsey and I had to get personal and look to ourselves.
I genuinely feel that the zero on my axis has risen so that the lows are not as desperate and the highs are more cherished.
Intent: Has there ever been a big risk that you took and ended up being really glad you did? PC: Yes. Becoming a filmmaker, is a ridiculous risk. What bugs me about non-believers and atheists, they talk about deluding yourself and I say, if I had NOT deluded myself, I would have never become a filmmaker. If I had been a realist, I would have never had tried. You say delusion, I say faith.
Intent: When it comes to making choices about your life, what criteria do you use when deciding yes or no? PC: The criteria used to be selfish, now that I am a family man, family has become the criteria.
Intent: What fears are left for you to conquer? PC: Growing old.
Intent: What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? PC: Having children. I wouldn’t have said that I am naturally qualified, now I think I’m pretty good!
Intent: If you could go on an adventure, where would it be and what would it look like? PC: Having been round the world making this film, my idea of adventure is not a check box of lots of different places, but exploring one place, one area in massive details. Probably, me, the family, the car and 8 weeks to travel through all of Italy.
So go see it.
Go take a couple of hours to rest your brain, laugh, cry, and then ask yourself what you want out of this life. Every day is a day where everything can change. It might was well be today.
Of my hundreds of happiness-project resolutions, and of the habits I’ve tried to form, one of my very favorites is to Read more
Reading is an essential part of my work. It forms an important part to my social life. And far more important, reading is my favorite thing to do, by a long shot. I’m not a well-rounded person.
But reading takes time, and there aren’t many days when I can read as much as I’d like. Here are some habits that I’ve adopted to help me get more good reading done.
1. Quit reading. I used to pride myself on finishing every book I started. No more. Life is short. There are too many wonderful books to read.
2. Read books you enjoy. When I’m reading a book I love—for example, I’m now reading Charles Portis’s True Grit — I’m astonished by how much time I find to read. Which is another reason to stop reading a book I don’t enjoy.
I am on safari in the Serengeti in Tanzania as I write these words on my iPhone for this week’s newsletter. The power of intention could not be more powerful here where the circle of life plays itself every day. Watching a cheetah scope out its prey, baboons playing in the trees, giraffes elegantly chewing leaves, and elephant leaving behind downtrodden trees as they slowly walk through the bush, a mother lion suckling its young cubs. Such images are nature perfectly, harmoniously, acting out intention in perfect balance. I feel blessed to be here. Here are some photos which I hope give just a hint of the extraordinary magnificence of the gifts of our planet. Enjoy!