The Secret to Happiness – Hot & Delicious catch-up with Smiling Mind app

Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet podcast series

Interview #11 – Smiling Mind app (tech/innovation)

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome back to ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet for 2015’. Last year, as existing fans will know, we caught up with Aussie comedian & TV presenter Will Anderson, kick-ass Aussie indie rockers The Griswolds, Regan Lethbridge from awesome Melbourne-based band Bonjah, fashion blogger Winston & Willow and so many more wonderful people.

I must apologise profusely for taking a longer break over the Christmas period than planned – but the 2nd half of 2014 saw me working 60-80 weeks, I must admit I was just exhausted and didn’t want to come back until I could dedicate my time and energy 100% to this new project that I love so much.

2015 is going to be a super year for the podcast, where we take things to another level – coming up over the next few months are interviews with social entrepreneur and founder of Thank You Group, Daniel Flynn, the enigmatic Carlo Santone and Natalie Rize of world-renown Aussie urban roots band Blue King Brown, a whole swag of Australian and international comedians as the buzz of Melbourne International Comedy Festival hits Australia and so much more. I am pumped!

I love this podcast episode. It’s 5:45am and I can’t sleep as I’m still buzzing and inspired by last night’s chat with the team at Smiling Mind meditation app. One of the main reasons I started ‘Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’ is to chat with people who are doing what they love and who inspire me. In today’s podcast I get to hang out with Lucy Richards and Georgie Reed, two of the first people involved in the launch of Smiling Mind app.

Launched in Australia a few years ago, Smiling Mind now has over 500K users from aged 7 to young adults, business people like myself and even people my parents’ age. Smiling Mind’s 500,000+ users are living all over the globe and the app was recently featured in the New York Times.

I am not exaggerating when I say that meditation and Smiling Mind have changed my life. I first came across the app about a year and a half ago when I was chatting with Georgie’s partner, Rob, at a work lunch. He was singing the praises on how using this app on a daily basis had brought a certain calm and balance to his insanely hectic life as part of the Carlton Dry brand team at Carlton & United Breweries. He told me how his partner Georgie had left her job at a media agency to join this start-up called Smiling Mind.

Now I’ve had people speak with me about meditation and mindfulness a little previously, including one of my friends, the wonderful Narissa Doumani, who in fact launches her book in a month ‘A Spacious Life – Memoir of a Meditator’ (and we’ll be dropping an episode with her in a few weeks), but for me and I’m sure most people who now have meditation and mindfulness as a part of their life, to start meditating you’ve got to be in a place when you’re desperate to try anything to get some peace, calm in your life or just be curious enough to try. 

For me it was the former. I’m not exaggerating or boasting when I say that I’ve done so many cool things in my life – I’ve lived in 4 different countries in Australia, Asia, Europe and the Middle East, put a 900 square metre ice-rink on the sands of Bondi Beach (the first of it’s kind anywhere in the world), created a role as the music supervisor of a snowboard show called Ballistyx Snowboard Show on Channel GO!, run music festivals & events around Australia, worked as a music festival photographer & run social media for a music festival, traveled the world for 6.5 years as an international flight attendant with Emirates Airline, the list goes on… but my whole life I always felt I was either running towards or running away from something (to steal a phrase coined by one of my fave podcasters). For the past 20 years of my life, I have had an unquenchable thirst for success and a happiness that I’ve never quite found. I have all these amazing things I’ve done/going on in my life and yet a year and a half ago I felt stressed out, always seemed to have that tightness of anxiety or dread in my chest and I was miserable… something had to change. 

Now those of you who know me know that I don’t believe in God, but what I can say is that I am very spiritual. I used to think that exercise was all I needed to feel good, but even that wasn’t enough and not quite the tonic I was after. I’ve spent my life life wishing I was somewhere else… a little bit further down the path to my success… in 6 months I’ll achieve this goal and I’ll be happy, in 12 months I’ll be making this much money and I’ll be happy…. no… quite simply no. This podcast, in parts, may sound a little like we’re trying to sell Smiling Mind and to be honest, it’s almost impossible not to – each of the 3 of us are already sold on its virtues and the impact it’s made on our own lives. My whole life, I’ve gone my own way not wanting to conform or be dictated by society’s viewpoint on how I should live my life, the black sheep if you will… and yet with this… it just fits. 

I am still as ambitious as ever, yet for the first time in my life I am living each and moment in the now. I walk down the street and unplug my headphones just to observe the people around me, to hear the birds singing and simply soak up the sounds of the city. When I’m out with friends for dinner, invariably people will be having a phone party at the table, shooting this foodporn for Instagram or checking-in at that place on Facebook. My phone pretty much always stays in my pocket these days. The only place I want to be now is here – in the moment. Mediation and the Smiling Mind app have helped me achieve a certain mindfulness. Now I crave, soak up and appreciate each moment I’m in and so that any time I feel like I’m stressed out or angry, it’s the key tool I utilize that pulls me back into check and gets me back in sync.

I’m going to step-off now and let you get into it. The first 1-2 minutes is a little disjointed as we were having some tech issues with the mics, then we chat about social media for about 6 minutes before kicking into the podcast proper at about 8 minutes, but make sure you listen to it all as there is some gold in there for any of you who are keen to get some advice on how social media works.

All I can say about Smiling Mind and this episode, is that if you’ve ever wanted ongoing peace and happiness in your life, you are actually really fucking close… I use this app and meditation in general about 5 times a week and the impact it’s made on my life is that big that it’s almost intangible. I wasn’t a cynic previously, but I just didn’t feel like it was for me, but after setting myself the goal of starting with 4-5 sessions in 5 days I can honestly say that meditation and mindfulness will be a part of my life forever and I won’t look back, so thank you Smiling Mind.

Ever wanted to know the secret to happiness? Download our interview with the people at Smiling Mind meditation app. It’s changed my life.


Free Download: Smiling Mind app on’Hot & Delicious: Rocks The Planet’
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Dan Wilkinson works as a Manager, Marketing Strategy & Analysis – Social Media at SapientNitro Australia and is founder of music industry biz, Hot & Delicious Group.

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