How did you get so rich?

TV show promo clip

My new guilty pleasure is a British reality TV series called How Did You Get So Rich. The premise is simple. The host, Katherine Ryan goes up to rich people in the UK and asks them how they became so stinking rich (I added the stinking part).

I know what you’re thinking. How crass and incredibly unBritish of her, but a) she’s a comedian and b) she’s not British, she’s from Sarnia, Ontario (I knew I liked this girl!)

The show is funny, insightful and has amazing life lessons on what it takes to succeed and be happy.

In episode one, she interviews the founders of the UK chain Poundland, the UK equivalent of Dollarama. They live in a lavish mansion, go on helicopter dates, but pack their own canned goods when they travel to Europe to save money. In another episode, she interviews a custom car designer, a self-professed playboy, and two men who made millions from sex toys.

The most fascinating segment was an interview with Garrett Gee, who in 2014 created a mobile scanning app with his college buddies, then sold the app to Snapchat for a cool $54 million. Garrett hasn’t spent a dime of his fortune on himself. Instead, he and his wife and two kids travel the world for free, being hosted and paid to post travel videos. The only money the family has spent from the fortune he made is given to people or charities in the places they visit.

This week’s #HappyAct is to watch an episode and be inspired by the rags to riches stories and what happens when you follow your passion and dreams and take risks.

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Embrace your natural self

Nicole Richie with purple hairI was catching up on entertainment news this week and saw a clip on Nicole Richie, who is sporting shocking purple hair for her reality series. A day later, I saw an article in People magazine on celebrities who’ve had tattoos removed (more about tattoos in a minute).

I’m always curious why people feel they need to change what’s given to them naturally. Let me be clear to pre-empt the inevitable comments about being prejudiced against people who look different. I’m not against purple hair or tattoos. I’m all for being different and applaud individuality. I just don’t get why you would want to drastically change your natural self.

If you’re in the entertainment industry, it’s different–it’s about image and attracting attention. Two people I admire are Katy Perry and Lady Gaga. Both are incredibly talented artists and brilliant businesswomen who aren’t afraid to take risks and showcase their individuality in different ways. Interesting, both also have not been afraid to show their natural looks to their fans and public.

As a society, I think it’s safe to say we are obsessed with appearance. I’ve always preferred the natural look, but I’ll admit there is a secret side to me that wishes I wasn’t so “normcore”. Yes, I discovered there is a name for people like me. Normcore is “being unselfconscious in a society that’s gone uber-conscious. For the sake of argument, let’s call it trendlessness,” according to the Financial Post.  As I get older, I’ll admit I’m more self-conscious about my looks, especially the effects of aging. But any desire I have to change my appearance stems from a desire to restore my natural beauty that is fading with age, as opposed to trying to change what I look like.

There is a girl I know who epitomizes what I’m trying to say about embracing your natural self. She often has a pink or purple streak in her hair and wears funky clothes. These outward expressions actually convey her natural self beautifully, which is someone who is fun, energetic and who has an incredible outlook on life.

Finally, a word on tattoos. Again, for the record, I think tattoos are really cool and view them as incredible works of art. I will never get one for two reasons. First, I have a cardinal rule to avoid inflicting pain on my body. Second, they irreversibly alter my natural self. Hair styles, clothes—they can all be changed at the drop of a dime but tattoos are forever.

There is a third reason, and that is a question I’d like to put out there without judgement. Like it or not, we are a society obsessed with appearance. People stare at tattoos. In your interactions in life, do you really want your tattoo to speak for who you are? For this reason, and because tattoos are forever, I don’t think anyone under the age of 25 should get tattoos. There, I said it. Let the comments fly.

But before you lambast me, read this article on what visible tattoos might do to your chances of being hired.

This week’s #HappyAct is to embrace your natural self, whatever that may be. Don’t be afraid to show who you are, but make sure what you do on the outside expresses who you are on the inside.