Build Your Leaders

Postcard from Asheville

October 2011

October could be one of my favorite months of the year. The weather is cooler, and the fall colors promise to be breathtaking. Life is good. How different this October is from that of 2009. In the October 2009 “postcard,” I wrote:

“Earlier this month, I traveled with a dear friend to New York so that he could close down his apartment and say good-bye to friends and former coworkers. My friend has cancer; his diagnosis isn’t good.”

Two years later, I am happy to report that my friend has been cancer-free for more than six months. Yes, miracles do happen.

This month, we’ll take a closer look at happiness.


A Whole Lot of Happy Happening Now

My life would be so much richer if I eliminated two words from my vocabulary—“If only.”

If only I were a little younger, then…

If only I had a partner who loved me, then…

If only the economy were better, then…

Nothing makes me angrier than when a significant other complains, “If only you would…then I could be….” My reaction is immediate. I snap back, “Take responsibility for your own life and your happiness!”

It’s time I took my own advice.

People, actions, and circumstances can’t create my happiness; happiness is an inside job. It comes from within.

I know people who are successful, rich, and beautiful, and they’re miserable. I also know people who aren’t as successful, rich, and beautiful, and they’re happy. The difference? Their focus.    

“If only” places happiness in an imagined future. Happiness becomes a fantasy—something to be obtained “out there.” I can experience happiness right now, but to do so I have to be present.

When I stop and look around me, I see that I have much to be grateful for. There’s a whole lot of happy happening right now. It’s a beautiful fall day. My sweet Dalmatian Lucy is curled up at my feet. I look out the window and see the mountains.

Damn! I’m one lucky guy. I am happy.

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