Mark is passionate about helping people find happiness and well-being. While most of us share this sentiment, for Mark it led to him becoming Director of Action for Happiness in 2010, and working towards creating a worldwide movement ever since. Now, with 0ver 70,000 members and a wide range of activities, he is helping to foster a more balanced society on a huge scale.
Before his time with Action for Happiness he spent more than a decade dedicated to corporate life. His experience in private and nonprofit sectors, however, led him to change direction to help build a better society. Read more about his journey below...
Q: What was your personal path that lead you to find Action for Happiness?
A: After a background in science and engineering, I worked in the commercial world for years. Although I was fairly good at what I did, I found it left me feeling stressed and meaningless. So in 2005 I decided to start working on causes that actually help make the world a better place. I realized that what really makes for a happy life is much less about our earnings or what we consume - and much more about our relationships and what we contribute. I became passionate about helping people discover what really matters for a happy and meaningful life.
Q: What is Action for Happiness and how do you see it helping the world?
A: Action for Happiness helps people take action for a happier and more caring society. Our patron is The Dalai Lama and our movement has over 70,000 members who are taking practical steps - both personally and collectively - to increase well-being in their homes, workplaces, schools and local communities. Our vision is a happier and more caring society, with far fewer people suffering with mental health problems and far more people feeling good, functioning well and helping others.
Q: What has working with Action for Happiness taught you/ how have you grown?
A: I've learnt so much about the science and art of happier living. There's no one right answer to what makes for a good life, but I've seen again and again that depends much on the little everyday things than we realize - like our connections with each other, our attitudes in the face of adversity, our links to nature and outdoor activities, our little acts of kindness, our moments of gratefulness. And we all have the potential to affect our own well-being and bring more happiness to others. I've learnt to live more mindfully and be more at peace with myself and with others too.
Q: What is your vision for Action for Happiness in the future?
A: We have a unique 8-week community course called Exploring What Matters, which hundreds of Action for Happiness volunteers are now running in their local communities. It brings people together to have conversations that matter - and the results have been incredibly positive and in many cases life-changing. Our vision is for this course - and for these sorts of authentic and supportive face-to-face conversations - to spread not just around the UK but in communities all over the world. Find out how you can get involved here.
Q: What is a quote that inspires you?
A: There are so many quotes that inspire me. Here are two that I really love...
"The best way to cheer yourself up is to cheer somebody else up." ~ Mark Twain
"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." ~ Maya Angelou
Q: Who is someone that you ADMIRE?
A: I really look up to Richard Layard who is one of the co-founders of Action for Happiness. In 2005 I read his book "Happiness: lessons from a new science" and it changed my life. Now in his eighties, Richard still works tirelessly to promote action for a happier world. In recent years he has been instrumental in getting this topic onto the national and international agenda and particularly for making the economic case for greater investment in mental health services. It's been a huge privilege working closely with him for the last 6 years. He is also such a warm-hearted, kind and enthusiastic man and really lives the ethos of Action for Happiness.
Interested in learning more about Action for Happiness? Explore their platform here and find out if there is an event near you! You can sign up, get involved, read articles listen to podcasts, and more!