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It Works Both Ways

Someone, somewhere is jealous of you.

Yes, YOU!

According to at least one person, the life you are now living is the epitome of happiness and success.

Perhaps they see your life this way because they don’t realize how many problems you have.

Well, what if I told you that someone, somewhere sees all of your problems as “first world problems?”

How does that make you feel? Does that make you want to laugh at the thought of how absurd their judgments are?

Well, their perception is their reality.

It might be a big misunderstanding to you, but as far as they’re concerned, you’re living the good life.

The next time you’re inclined to assume someone else is “living the dream,” please remember this message:

If others are capable of overestimating your happiness, you’re probably capable of overestimating the happiness of others.



Some party invitations suggest “BYOB” for “Bring Your Own Beer.”

I’d like to see one that says “BYOJ” for “Bring Your Own Joy.”

If we all did that, regardless of the event, life itself would become a party.

Sometimes the best way to have a good time is to make up your mind ahead of time that you’re going to have a good time.

“Will happiness be there?”

Perhaps not.

Maybe you should bring it with you just in case.


T.K. Coleman

Know your own happiness

“Know your own happiness.” -Mrs. Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility

Some speak of happiness as if it is nothing more than a cheerful state of non-specificity.

But happiness is as particular in its forms as the individuals who seek it.

To find happiness, one must be daring enough to embrace the peculiarity of his own sentiments.

A man can only be as happy as his willingness to be honest about what makes him happy.

I often wonder if the seemingly elusive nature of happiness is not, in some sense, a reflection of our own elusiveness.

Perhaps happiness persists in avoiding us because we insist on avoiding ourselves.

Professional Optimism

“I get it, it’s nice up here. You could just shut down all the systems, turn down all the lights, just close your eyes and tune out everyone. There’s nobody up here that can hurt you. It’s safe. What’s the point of going on? What’s the point of living? Your kid died, it doesn’t get any rougher than that. It’s still a matter of what you do now. If you decide to go then you just gotta get on with it. Sit back, enjoy the ride, you gotta plant both your feet on the ground and start living life. Hey, Ryan, it’s time to go home.” -Matt Kowalski, Gravity

Some days seem to be better than others.

The recognition that those days count as much as any other is the essence of professionalism.

A professional is someone who knows that he doesn’t have to feel good in order to do good.

In this interview with Behind the Brand, Mike Rowe advises, “don’t follow your passion, but always bring it along.”

A professional knows that inspiration won’t always take the lead. No success story ever begins or ends with “I never felt uninspired.” Turning pro is about recognizing that moods, like seasons, move in cycles, and that the temporary absence of enthusiasm doesn’t have to mean the absence of effort.

In The Hunger Angel, Herta Müller wrote: “To combat death you don’t need much of a life, just one that isn’t yet finished.”

Meaningful work, including the inner work of personal development, can always be done. The decision to plant one’s feet on the ground and put one foot in front of the other is neither cheapened nor trivialized by a lack of emotional fanfare.

Freedom is not something we can fully experience merely by passively inhaling the universe’s air. Freedom must be chosen.  It must be embodied and expressed as the “the will to live.”

For the professional optimist, “I will” precedes “I feel.”

“The Market” means “you” too

There are other reasons for doing things besides getting paid, improving your career, and helping others.

There’s also this not-so tiny element called “love” that tends to go a long way in the quest for a meaningful life.

That is, there are things that matter simply because someone decides to love them.

Each of us has the power to love things into a state of significance.

Just as Descartes reasoned, “I think, therefore I am”, you and I can affirm, concerning any area of passion or intrigue, “I care, therefore it matters.”

As one who dedicates a significant portion of his life to helping people become entrepreneurs, I have the deepest appreciation for the beauty of practicality, profitability, and philanthropy.

Doing what works, knowing what sells, and being dedicated to making positive differences in the world are all good focal points.

Nevertheless, I make it a point to remind myself, my students, and anyone else who will listen, of the following idea:

All forms of value are not externally determined.

It’s more than okay to listen to advice on topics like “what customers want”, “what investors want”, “what the market wants”, “what women want”, “what men want”, and so on. But in the course of all your learning and giving, it’s also good to reserve a modicum of space for catering exclusively to what YOU want.

If you care about it, it matters. And whether the market cares about it or not, you should find a way to make time for it.

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