As we round the bend on a year of many things, I was looking at my ring finger. Being old, it takes a LONG time to heal, and about this time last year, I was rebuilding one of my flower beds. We have a large surplus of rocks, otherwise known as living on a mountain, and they make easy garden borders. As I was placing one, the point crushed my finger – right on the nail. About 10 minutes of pain… followed by a year of the nail turning black, and being like that for most of the last year. Now, it is almost back to normal, with only a few changes… an interesting metaphor. What reminds you of what has engaged you for the last 364 days?
Leadership topic - Happiness
The “pursuit” thereof is guaranteed… but what is it, and when you get there, how will you know? And then… what comes next?
So many of us work for something that is actually less than clear than we might suspect. Accomplishments bring things, and things then will bring us… what? More accomplishments, maybe, and certainly more responsibilities, and even more things… but where does this take us really? And when we get there… is that actually what is Happiness is? With more of the greatest music from Van Morrison, let’s explore what we need to remember most for ourselves and the teams we lead.
Like many things I start, they go well… until some odd unintended consequence pops up, usually...
Who is around you when Happiness shows up? Seems like an easy question - and yet, as we discussed...
In the Will Smith movie 15 years ago, we see a man working to pull himself through a difficult period of his life. Starting as a Stockbroker, he quickly falls into a series of bad outcomes, until he is clearly not “Happy”. As we watch this true story brought to life, there is a particular phase he observes again and again. “Thomas Jefferson… how did he know to put the pursuit part in there? That maybe happiness is something that we can only pursue and maybe we can actually never have it. No matter what?”
As I crested the hill west of Tyler as a 17-year-old freshman, Happiness was palpable and real. My favorite radio station would only get stronger, a good stereo to set up in my dorm room was in my trunk, and an easy drive ahead to take me into the…. Future. I was as prepared as I could be, and now it was only to wonder how the story would unfold. Looking back 45 years later, wonder is what I can see in each of the various phases and steps that have landed me here… but Happiness… what actually is that?
Being a “human doing” is easy for me, and probably the closest common denominator to what integrates Happiness into my day. If you remember fractions, and frankly who doesn’t, denominator means the quality/number that reduces those crazy-looking numbers into something you can combine together. Without stretching the math metaphor too far, it means that it is present in all of the things you are working with. All my best stories include, “I was … “ followed by something I was doing… A “human being” …and being Happy at that… a complicated conversation to execute…
One of the arguments I enjoyed using in Debate was “Causality”. It is something that is often muddy – did this particular thing CAUSE this other thing. We see it all the time now in our reporting, and often is something that is simply correlated. A famous one is the Number of People who Drown in Swimming Pools and the Number of films Nicholas Cage stars in – have the same shaped graph. You could imply that one caused the other, but I doubt that would stick. But do you believe that Happiness causes renewal, or vice versa, or are they even causal?