"The Man, The Mission, The Passion" Husband, Father, Attorney, CPA, Steward Leader, Entrepreneur, MBA, Author, Builder, HBS OPM 25 Class, Mentor, Teacher

Three Secrets to Unhappiness

happiness like unhappiness

Nurture Resentments

Why rent space in your head to those that don’t love you, to thoughts that don’t serve you? One of my favorite affirmations is “Forgiveness offers me all that I want; Release brings peace.” Not forgiving someone is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.

Compare yourself to others

Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses, they are broke. I always like the story about the kid who admires a neighbor’s new pool and says “Dad! They must have money!” Dad replies “No, son. They used to have money, now they have a pool.” As the awesome poem Desiderata says: “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” The only person you should try to be better than is yourself of yesterday.

Isolate Yourself

Go ahead, stay behind those fortress walls! You are an island, and an island feels no pain and an island never cries (apologies to Simon and Garfunkel, full lyrics below). WRONG! Hiding the real you never works, souls uncloaked must be to taste whole joys (John Donne, taken slightly out of context). Study after study has shown folks with strong social networks are healthier and live longer. Or as Barbara Streisand sang, “People who need people are the luckiest people in the world.”

Closing Quotes:

“How strange that we should ordinarily feel compelled to hide our wounds when we are all wounded! Community requires the ability to expose our wounds and weaknesses to our fellow creatures. It also requires the ability to be affected by the wounds of others… But even more important is the love that arises among us when we share, both ways, our woundedness.” – M. Scott Peck 1936-2005, The Road Less Traveled

“When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free.” – Catherine Ponder, b. 1927

People

“We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside A
cting more like children than children”
– Barbara Streisand, 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl

I am a Rock

A winter’s day
In a deep and dark December
I am alone
Gazing from my window
To the streets below
On a freshly fallen, silent shroud of snow

I am a rock
I am an island

I’ve built walls
A fortress, steep and mighty
That none may penetrate
I have no need of friendship
Friendship causes pain
It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain 

I am a rock
I am an island

Don’t talk of love
Well, I’ve heard the words before
It’s sleeping in my memory
And I won’t disturb the slumber
Of feelings that have died
If I never loved, I never would have cried 

I am a rock
I am an island 

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me
I am shielded in my armor
Hiding in my room
Safe within my womb
I touch no one and no one touches me [Refrain]

I am a rock
I am an island
And a rock feels no pain
And an island never cries.
– Simon and Garfunkel

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Solvitur Ambulando

women walking

Solvitur ambulando is Latin for “it is solved by walking” and the phrase has dual meanings. Originally “used to refer to a problem which is solved by a practical experiment” (Wikipedia) or physical demonstration it has also come to refer to the practice of taking a walk to clear our minds, relax, and perhaps allow our creativity freer rein.

Amble, a leisurely relaxed walk, has the same Latin root: ambulare, to walk. The key is to get moving, change our environment, and change our mood, our thought patterns.

Closing Quotes:

“Few people know how to take a walk. The qualifications are endurance, plain clothes, old shoes, an eye for nature, good humor, vast curiosity, good speech, good silence and nothing too much.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1803-1882

“It is impossible to walk rapidly and be unhappy.” – Mother Teresa, 1979 Nobel Peace Prize, 1910-1997

“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir, 1838-1914

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

Burden of Gratitude

grateful

How can gratitude be a burden? Aren’t there spiritual benefits to gratitude? Isn’t it important to “Count Our Blessings Daily”? And being appreciative an important key to happiness? Having an “Attitude of Gratitude” a vital part to having the “Habit of Happiness”? Yes, Yes, Yes, and Yes!

BUT just like fire can warm the hearth or burn the house down, gratitude can be misused or twisted into something it is not. In varying degrees of dysfunction or inappropriateness, gratitude can be corrupted by

– Guilt
– Obligation
– Resentment

Guilt

One should never feel guilt for the blessings one receives in life. Everyone living in the western world won the birth lottery with relatively high levels of safety from violence and access to medical care and education and social safety nets. Not saying it’s perfect, just saying that I’m glad I wasn’t born in North Korea or a lot of other places. Yes, I worked very, very hard to get where I am today AND I am also very, very aware that I was born in a land and a culture that was fertile ground, that provided the infrastructure, physical and social, for my entrepreneurial talents to flourish. Am I appreciative? YES! Do I feel an ethical duty to give back, to pay it forward? YES! Do I feel guilty? NO! Feeling guilty drains your energy and does not make the world a better place, giving back and paying forward does.

Obligation

True gifts are given fully and freely without expectation of anything in return. When you help someone and expect/demand gratitude in return, it is not truly a gift, it is a loan. Be good to others for the sake of goodness; avoid inserting the concepts of conditions or debt. It should not be about who has the money or the power, refrain from all hints of moral superiority. There are subtleties: The Good Book says “the wise farmer does not cast his seed upon rocky ground.” We should expend our energies where they do the most good and genuine gratitude, freely expressed, is important feedback.

Resentment

Even when help is freely given, some folks feel resentment. Perhaps they feel it puts them in a “one down” position or imposes unwanted or burdensome obligations even if only from their point of view or value system.

Closing Quote:

“(C)onsistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious, or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes.” – Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success & Performance at Work

As always, I share what I most want/need to learn. – Nathan S. Collier

 

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