Crafting Your Own Definitions of

Success and Happiness

“Define success and happiness on your own terms, achieve it by your own rules, and
build a life you're proud to live.” - Anne Sweeney

Tiny miniature house on grass
Photo: 青空に白い雲の季節 by casetta3

“What does success and happiness look like to you?”

When I asked myself this question several years ago, I always pictured myself as a career woman progressing up a corporate ladder working for ultra luxury international hotel companies and being posted in a new country every few years.

And, all that became a reality. I started my international career at an entry level in Singapore in 2011, with one of the most luxurious hotel chains in the world, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts. Within what seems like the blink of an eye, I earned my very first directorial role in 2015. Between then and now, I had worked in the most exotic countries like the Maldives, Qatar, the Seychelles and Japan.

It was in Japan in 2017 when my perspective and definition of success started to shift. Discovering the practice of Shinrin Yoku 森林浴 or Forest Bathing and Ikigai 生き甲斐 or life’s purpose prompted me to revisit my own definitions of success and happiness. It was not that I was miserable or burnt out and that I questioned the meaning of my past achievements. But it was something that guided me to reset my priorities.

Fast forward to 2021 and long story short, my priority is now being close to nature, enjoying a simple living in a small house amidst abundance of trees. Professionally, I have made a gradual shift from being exhilarated by my own achievements to taking pride in empowering and inspiring people in my team and around me to be the best version they can be. Having a full time job and running The Mindful Tourist, I am in a quest for striking the right balance between doing more, being better and knowing when is enough.

Curious to see what kind of house Milena and I had lived in in Koh Samui, Thailand, one of the locations we had moved to? Scroll to the very bottom to see the pictures.

Shinrin Yoku Haiku by Milena A Guziak
“the enjoyment during a quiet evening of barefoot walking” by Milena A. Guziak in Shinrin Yoku Poems & Haiku I: 森林浴の俳句・詩

If you are interested in learning about the Japanese ways of finding happiness in the present moments, read our blog on An Introduction to The Japanese Philosophy of Mindful Happiness.

The definition of success and happiness is the topic of our discussion in Week 14 of our 15-week long Shinrin Yoku Guide Certification Training Level 1. If you are not currently our students and will not get to participate in this discussion, do write back to share what your definition of success and happiness look like. I would love to hear!

Written in Bangkok by Pin Chinnapat

Founder and Managing Director, The Mindful Tourist

Finding Freedom With A Tiny House In The Forest

I stumbled upon this episode of Living Big in A Tiny House on YouTube and I thought this is it! My dream house! One of the main reasons that so many people are choosing to downsize and move into tiny homes is to find a greater sense of freedom. With a secure roof over your head and less debt on your shoulders, it’s easier to find more time and free up resources for the things that are important to you.

Why We’re Drawn to Nature

What happens when we spend time outdoors? We explore how getting out in nature can restore peace of mind—and make us more creative. When we think about happiness and health, the Western view tends to look inwards as if happiness is found within our minds and bodies, but very often, happiness also involves looking outwards at our relationships with other people, the communities that surround us, and our environment. This episode of The Science of Happiness podcast, you will explore what nature means to different cultures.

Meet Our Students

The Mindful Tourist’s Certified Shinrin Yoku Forest Bathing Guides have diverse backgrounds and are working in many different industries, but we all have one thing in common – we believe that forest can heal people and that being in nature is vital to our physical and mental well-being. We are all advocates of environmentally friendly practices, because we know that sustainability is our future.

Our Rented House in Koh Samui

Living big in a tiny house among rubber, mango, banana and coconut trees.

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