An all-encompassing view of life

Dhitinart Napattalung wowed her compatriots a decade ago when the story about her struggle to overcome difficulties in life first emerged. In fact, it was more her descriptions of not struggling and yet still managing to retrieve happiness from a horribly chaotic situation that really amazed people.

Eighteen years ago, Dhitinart’s husband was killed in an accident leaving her responsible for the welfare of their one-year-old child and owing more than 100 million baht to creditors. She had been running her own jewellery business, while her husband was involved in real estate. He had borrowed money without her knowledge and when he died she became responsible for his debts. Her own company began to decline, too, causing her to sink even deeper into debt. Many people were cruel to her, some only showing up at her husband’s funeral in order to demand repayment of money owed to them.

After going through a period of intense sadness and despair, she made peace with herself, sorted out her life and discovered true happiness — all thanks to her ability to harness the power of positivity.

The author of seven titles in the “Life Compass” series, self-help books which have sold more than 1.5 million copies to date and which have been translated from the original Thai into 12 other languages, Dhitinart now finds happiness in turning other people’s lives around. She hosts free seminars, giving practical advice on how one can surmount one’s problems and find joy in one’s existence, and has invested lots of money in making YouTube videos intended to inspire people to make changes for the better. In her opinion, the main drivers of unhappiness are twofold: negative attitudes caused by the way one was brought up; and unconsciously surrounding oneself with people who are deeply unhappy.

“The root of all problems in life is being judged by people we’re close to,” she stated. “It’s how we were raised, what we were told as a child. A lot of people grew up feeling inadequate and believing that they don’t deserve success and happiness.”

Looking back at her life, Dhitinart said she can now feel thankful for all the hardships she encountered. “The problems were still there, but I realised that they could not take away my happiness. I knew they would pass. I was confident that I would get through it just fine. It’s all about having faith in yourself and your life. I told myself that everything in my life only happened because it was bringing good changes; difficult situations bring out the best in me.”

This year she will be marking the tenth anniversary of the launch of her book, simply entitled Life Compass book. She followed it up with books on various topics, including Life Compass 3: The Rules of Happiness and Life Compass 5: A Life of Wealth.

But as much as she enjoys writing, she said that what she loved even more is meeting people through the various seminars and workshops she organises.

“People are numbing their senses without knowing it. They live their lives by following standards without ever questioning whether they are happy. It’s a painless, risk-free life and people are not passionate about what they do,” she said, basing her comments on experiences she’s had with readers of her books and with people in general. “In other words, they are afraid of being themselves.”

One indicator that shows how scared we are of being ourselves, she said, is our degree of interaction with internet social networks. In Dhitinart’s opinion, many people nowadays spend an unhealthy amount of time online, looking for attention and fishing for compliments because they need to be constantly reassured that they are good.

“We want to hear what other people say because, deep down, we don’t want to hear what we want to say to ourselves. Looking at our own reality can be a shocking experience, like seeing an unretouched picture of yourself. People don’t show that side of themselves to the world any more.”

The need to look elsewhere also results in overly dramatic behaviour, she feels. We are addicted to other people’s drama and feel good when other people expose their flaws for all to see. “That’s because we don’t want to look at ourselves. In a way, obsessing about other people’s dramas makes you forget about yourself and your own flaws. But you need to question yourself: does this really make my life better? Does commenting on other people’s dramatic Facebook status do anything good to my life? If your eyes are focused on bad things, constantly searching for dirt, it is hard to notice good things when they happen.”

Dhitinart said that miracles do happen and can happen to everyone, and that everyone can be the luckiest person in the world. All it takes for that miracle to come about is to believe in it. “Being constantly negative will only obstruct good things from happening. Good things happen every second of your life: being healthy, having your loved ones around, or being alive. We are all lucky in our own way, and it’s up to us to realise that.”

To celebrate reaching the end of her first decade of inspiring people, she recently organised a workshop on writing intended to motivate budding scribes to write meaningful passages of prose that will inspire anyone who reads them. Being a published author, she has a great belief in the power of writing and, being fully cognisant of the influence that social-media platforms wield on many of our lives, extends the definition to include forms of written communication.

“We’re always writing — chatting on the phone, posting our Facebook status, commenting on pictures and writing emails. Writing is a way of marketing yourself and your thoughts. It’s a very powerful tool to reach people but, more than that, writing gives you a chance to listen to yourself, transcribing your thoughts into written words.

“That way, you might realise who you are, and what you really want in life.”

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