The one lesson Gyles Brandreth has learned from life: Busy people are happy people
- Research shows that being challenged is a key element to finding happiness
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Broadcaster, writer and former politician Gyles Brandreth, 75, is a regular on Radio 4’s Just A Minute and famed for his colourful sweaters on TV.
He is currently touring his one-man show.
BUSY PEOPLE ARE HAPPY PEOPLE
When I was seven or eight, my three older sisters got together and went to see my parents.
‘If we pool our pocket money,’ they said, ‘do you think you could afford to send Gyles to boarding school?’ That’s when I discovered I talk too much.
I was duly sent away to a school whose headmaster, Mr Stocks, then aged 82, had particular words of advice for me in our farewell one-to-one meeting when I was ten.
Broadcaster, writer and former politician Gyles Brandreth , 75, is a regular on Radio 4’s Just A Minute and famed for his colourful sweaters on TV
The dictum of his former headmaster, ‘busy people are happy people,’ has informed Gyles’s whole life
He said: ‘Remember, Brandreth, busy people are happy people.’ Those five words have informed my entire life.
Many years later, I met the psychiatrist, Dr Anthony Clare, a very wise man. He reinforced Mr Stocks’s dictum.
We were talking about World War II and I asked him why so many people talked about it as one of the happiest times of their life.
Dr Clare explained that, yes, the soldiers, sailors and airmen were risking their lives but they were also being tested. And all the research shows that being challenged is a key element to finding happiness.
I don’t want to say I’m defined by my work but I do enjoy being busy. I’ve just been at the Edinburgh Fringe and now I’m on tour. I’m not doing it for the money. I’m doing it for the fun.
One of my role models was Nicholas Parsons, still performing at the Fringe aged 95 and clearly enjoying keeping busy.
Gyles jokes that the ‘R-word’ is off limits when he is working with Dame Judi Dench. Similarly, his philosophy is ‘just keep going’
I wrote a biography of the great actor, Sir John Gielgud. I bumped into him when he was 96 and asked for his news. ‘Oh, I’m changing my agent,’ he said. ‘He’s not getting me enough work.’
I’m lucky enough to work a lot with Judi Dench and she will virtually spit if you mention the R-word.
Some people have to retire from their careers but that doesn’t mean retiring from life. Just keep going; that’s my philosophy.
- Gyles Brandreth: Can’t Stop Talking! is touring now and he has launched a new podcast, Rosebud, on gylesbrandreth.net
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