by Dave Wine, President and CEO
There are a lot of articles today, and I have referenced some of these in my past writings, that remind us of certain steps to take to be happy. For example, studies show that there are at least five really key skill sets that separate generally happy people from unhappy people. Those include the ability to savor/enjoy the moment (being able to really focus on what is happening now versus worrying or regretting); expressing gratitude, especially to others that matter in our lives; aspiring to some meaningful goals and making task lists of how to reach those goals and a completion of at least some of them; giving and being generous in time and talents, more than just giving money; and an ability and a desire to understand others and their points of view.
And these and many other skill sets do seem to help us on the path to happiness. However, no one can really be happy unless they choose to be happy and choose not to be unhappy. There are enough woes in any of our lives to keep us from joy and peace and happiness. But there are also enough of the other in our life for us to see joy and happiness. Studies show that the more we think about the things that make us happy, the more happy we will be. And the more we concentrate on the things that disturb us, the more unhappy we will be. Sure seems like good common sense that should be easy to do. Yet we tend to judge and interpret more on the side of ‘what’s wrong’ than on what’s right. Our brains are hard wired to sense danger and threats so our thoughts naturally go more easily to fear and the negative. So we need the practice of mindfully paying attention to our thoughts to overcome this tendency in our brains.
Just stopping for a minute during our day and thinking about something that makes us happy or brings us joy and peace can be one of the simplest and kindest acts we can give ourselves. Think about someone that you are grateful for in your life, something that may have happened today that was an act of kindness, something that filled your eyes or ears with beauty, etc. An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but a positive minute a day might do a lot more for us!
David is the President and CEO of the MAX enterprise, having served in that capacity since its formation in 2001. He has forty plus years of leadership experience in the business and faith-based worlds, being an ordained minister, having been elected to the highest position in his denomination, and receiving numerous awards and recognition for his leadership in the insurance industry. He currently serves on numerous boards in the church and insurance sectors. His hobbies include hiking, biking, skiing and snowshoeing as well as being an avid reader. David and his wife, Sharon, have three daughters, a son, and four grandchildren.