I have a new client who is an author and a speaker about success. But what he will call himself is a speaker on happiness. On letting the sunshine in. On measuring what true success is. We’ve talked and we’ve done a radio gig and now some speaking projects are in the works. But I hadn’t yet really read his book. I’ve perfected reading enough to be literate about the book I’m promoting but there is not enough time in the day, always, right then, to do it justice. But I always get to the full reading. So this day, this quiet Sunday afternoon, when I am awaiting several email replies and wondering at the manners people have in business, or lack thereof, and pontificating with a colleague that it is age, or is it really age, that can explain the general lack of business protocol, I reach for this book on ‘happiness’, as I am feeling less than ‘successful’ after a particularly lengthy discussion. It’s a pretty thick book so I go to the table of contents and scroll down until the chapter title catches me – “Epiphany”. OK, I think, I’ll go right to that chapter, cut to the chaste – I need an epiphany. It begins with this quote:
“Man is made or unmade by himself. In the armory of thought he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy, strength, and peace.” – James Allen
Well! And then I read it again. I think about the weapons we build, my own weapons, and also about the tools. Tools of joy? Tools of peace? You don’t think at first that states of being such as joy and peace require actual tools, and yet they do. They require things like resources, mentors, positive role models, dreams, control, and emergency back up plans. I would add to this list – I would add wonder. A sense of wonder. Allowing a moment to go off on a tangent, to explore something different, to divert from the path or the plan. Because you will miss something if you don’t let wonder guide you, even though most times it will be a simple dalliance. Sometimes wonder leads to the ah-ha! moment – when you change the plan entirely…..
I clearly need some more tools in my toolbox, and this world leaves us with the need to replenish those tools, change them, get new ones, and let go of old ones. Success’s measure is happiness. You know, it’s not an epiphany – it’s more common sense. But we as human being gravitate toward negativity. We inherit a lot of that from our “greatest generation” parents, those of us of that age. And we live in a whole new negative world – from media inclinations to actual occurrances. Our tool boxes need new tools, better tools, stronger tools. The epiphany isn’t there, and I am disappointed. Instead I see an old fashioned toolbox and some old, rusty, trusty tools and some gleaming new ones…this box doesn’t look like the shining sun symbol reflected in the sunglasses on the cover of this book on happiness. I might suggest a different cover on reprint….because this happiness thing – well – it’s hard work. I suspect it is for most of us. I suspect we might spend more time making weapons rather than tools.
What is in your toolbox? And, if this is what will help us build joy and peace and happiness, it should be a pretty toolbox, too.