Something to Think About
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer
This is my last post for the first half of the year, and a crazy first half it has been. In February, the President was impeached in the House of Representatives and then acquitted in the United States Senate. In March, a pandemic took foothold in the United States, and one by one, states began to shut down commerce. Where we went and what we did came to a grinding halt. Businesses, schools, and churches closed. After reaching an all-time high on February 12, 2020 at 29,552, the DOW dropped 8,000 points in four weeks before bottoming out at just under 19,000. At the time I write this, the DOW is now back up over 25,000. I won’t even mention the unemployment numbers, trillions of dollars in stimulus spending, and sadly, the unrest in our nation.
So now I must ask, how is your stress level? How are you sleeping? You just might need something else to think about.
Last week I wrote about the need to spread kindness and joy. As Marisa and I recorded our podcast, we touched on what brings joy into our lives. We also talked about brain chemicals like dopamine, our search for the quick hit of happiness dopamine provides, and how we always need more to be “happy.” The thrill we get when we buy something new, get a promotion, or take an amazing trip. Over the weekend, Marisa sent me a link to an article that expanded on what we had talked about, and I would like to share some takeaways with you.
- It’s time to ditch the pursuit of happiness and begin living a life of meaning. As it turns out, pursuing happiness doesn’t bring happiness. I think that we intrinsically know this but often deny it. The happiness we derive from new shoes or the latest high-tech gadget soon fades, and we need more. The appreciation and thrill of a pay increase are soon gone when it becomes the norm. The secret to real happiness and joy is to return to the things that really matter to us. According to Harvard Medical School psychologist and author Susan David, “The more you move toward your values, the more vital, meaningful, and happy your life will become.” If you knew you only had 24 hours to live, what would you do? What would you spend your time and treasure on? I highly doubt it would be rushing out to buy the latest iPhone.
- Make today your masterpiece. If any of you have taken my Making Today Matter course, you would recognize that concept. Let’s look at this from a slightly different perspective and pick up on something Marisa and I spoke about last week. As you go through your day, find your joy in everyday blessings. Last Saturday, I was trimming the grass at our church, and I noticed an amazing aroma. The wind had carried this scent from a flowering tree and across the front of the building. I had to think at that moment, what a wonderful blessing to be there and to smell it. The trimming was still work, but the experience was wonderful. How about that cup of coffee first thing in the morning, the smell of freshly cut grass, or even the look of a freshly mowed lawn? When we slow down enough to see, hear, and experience life, we quickly realize that what we are looking for is already there, we simply need to notice it, and appreciate it.
So, as you start the summer, slow down and really live. If you would like to continue with this topic, please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 158 of The Next Page podcast. We will discuss ways you can make this summer (and beyond) your personal masterpiece.