Saturday, 7 June 2014

TheBlindJournalist: Dom Smith Interview

A big house, lots of money, family, love? I pondered to myself trying to answer the million dollar question; what is the key to happiness?

Hoping to unlock the answer I went and interviewed Dominic Smith, who has been voted one of the happiest men in the UK.

It isn’t hard to realise why Dom Smith, a disabled 27-year-old from York, has been awarded this title. As soon as I saw him I was greeted with a heart-warming smile and firm hand shake.

I sit down with Dom, over a nice cup of tea, and ask him:

Q: What is your official job title and how long have you been doing that job? 

I am the editor and publisher of Soundsphere magazine and I am also the co-founder of Disabled Entrepreneurs and The Creative Condition. 

Q: Do you have any brothers or sisters? 

I have one sister, and four step-sisters and one step-brother.

Q; How did you become one of the happiest men in the UK - were you nominated?

I'm still not sure how that happened. I got a tweet saying I was in the Independent on Sunday as part of their 2013 Happy List. It was awesome. I guess someone researched me, and the stuff that I do! It's a great feeling.

Q: When you look at yourself in the mirror, do you see yourself as one of the happiest men in the UK?

Most days. Some days more than others I do feel that way, but whenever I feel sad, I think about all the inspirational people who are out there and all of my awesome family and friends. Also, the fact that I have a very cool job helps!

Q: What does it take to be one of the happiest men in the UK?

I would say, at the core: Determination. Drive. Social skills, or the ability to just talk to people and be nice. The ability to chill out. Always making sure you treat everyone with respect, because then you get it back. Finding a way to be useful to others is also important. Soundsphere and Disabled Entrepreneurs are huge tools for people to use for promotion and support, and having the ability to do that makes me very happy. 

Q: Why do you think you are one of the happiest men in the UK?

Because I'm probably the luckiest person I know.

Q: Do you feel your upbringing or family life is one of the reasons you are so happy?

Absolutely. I had the greatest support from family and friends growing up. I am eternally grateful to everyone that helped me get to where I am. All of my family are really cool.

Q: For some people money, women, or chocolate makes them happy. What puts a smile on your face?

All of those things make me happy too! I'd say mostly, putting a smile on other people's faces. Knowing I've helped a band or entrepreneur do something, or I've helped someone get a cool job with a reference. I'm constantly meeting awesome people that keep me motivated and inspired to keep going.

Q: On the flip side; what makes you sad or angers you?

Escalators. I hate them.

Q: What advice would you give to all those people who always complain that they aren't happy with their life?

I think it's down to circumstance. I've met people who haven't had the support I had growing up, who have done some wonderful things in their lives, and inspired others. I think it's important to understand that not everybody can be happy all the time, I'm not!

I think that it's important to celebrate the smallest things in life, and a lot of those small things can happen throughout a day; being able to get up, having a good conversation with a friend, seeing someone you haven't seen in an age, eating a particularly great food, going to a gig, helping someone at work. Everyone has the potential to do immense good in this world. Not for fame, or money necessarily. And, while your happiness or good deeds may not impact the world, they'll have a great impact on the others around you. I think by doing as many good things as possible, it attracts and brings happiness to you. 

Q: What is your outlook on life?

Don't worry be happy.

Q: Do you have any role models or inspirational figures that motivate you?

Shane Bratby (Disabled Entrepreneurs) for his strength of character, Mike Cooper (The Creative Condition) for his determination. My dad for his drive, my mum for her patience, and my sister for her patience.

In terms of celebrity? Marilyn Manson for not giving a f*** about trends or appearance in music and art when I was growing up. Also, every Paralympic athlete ever. There are loads! The human race and its potential is astounding, most of the time.

Q: To smile it costs nothing but why do you think people don't smile often enough?

Because they don't drink enough tea. Also, they don't appreciate the little things, and are always going after stressful stuff! Everyone's always running about, not just in work (which is fine because there are deadlines...), but in every day life, nobody ever stops to appreciate what they have, and the opportunities that are right there. It's not about the stuff you don't have – the job, the car, the fame. Everybody you meet, from people on the streets, to producers, artists and whoever can create a new exciting opportunity for you. If you have nothing. Then go find something, and someone that can support you, and help you to have something. People will help, and they'll be happy because of it. Support others, and help others to be happy, and you'll be happy too. The more you do that, the more people will help you, and the more support you'll get from more people. That's just my opinion, though!

Q: How do you deal with pressure or stress?

I drink tea. Lots of tea. And chat to friends.

Q: Can you describe yourself in one word?


After another firm handshake and heart-warming smile I thank Dom and end the interview.

A big house, lots of money, family, love? Well actually its all of these things and more. But tea is the key.

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