Remember happiness doesn’t depend upon who you are or what you have; it depends solely on what you think. – Dale Carnegie
What does that mean?
The heart of this quote has been said many times, and in many different ways. This is the take on it from a businessman and personal excellence trainer.
Far too many in the business community are focused on how important their position is within the company. But honestly even one would be too many, right?
Similarly, those focused on climbing the corporate ladder are often focused on how much money they make, so that they can buy the things they want or feel they should have. Luxury car or a Rolex, anyone?
This quote rightly states that it is what you think, your attitude or your state of mind, which determines if you are happy or not. None of that other stuff matters, except to try to convince you that you are happy. But are you?
Why is your attitude important?
For a lot of the people I know in business, and knew through my parents as well, their attitude was part of their identity. It was what they believed they were. They were good at their job because of (insert business cliché here). The best. The brightest. The hardest working. The best negotiator.
But that attitude, which may have had some value at work, frequently let them down at home, or in the other parts of their lives. And that isn’t a good thing. I watched too many of the friends of my parents break up over these sorts of issues. The dictator at work was resented at home, too.
Instead of recognizing the happiness within, they focused on what got them attention and praise at work, which they mistook for happiness. When they didn’t get the same results at home, or their work methods proved ineffective at home, their happiness turned to despair and desperation.
By having a positive attitude, which includes having happiness within myself, I have avoided some of the mistakes others have made. That doesn’t mean I don’t make mistakes, just not those same ones they made. By having a positive attitude, you can extract yourself from the rat-race, and be happy just being you.
Where can I apply this in my life?
Obviously, this quote applies to some more than others. For those who don’t have a business-type job, or are not as captivated by the status or trinkets which go with that lifestyle, it might not apply directly to you. But I bet you know someone to whom it does apply.
What can you do to help them? That might be something to consider if you think that the quote doesn’t apply to you and your situation. Take a moment to consider how you can get their attention, and help them see that the happiness and success they seek starts within and works out, not vice-versa?
For the rest of us, those who even sometimes feel an urge to puff ourselves up, or lean heavily on our job title, we might want to think about this quote. For those of us who base our happiness on what shiny object would make our lives happier, we too might want to think about this quote.
What is our attitude about our work? Do we feel that we can’t be happy if we lose our job? Do we feel we can’t be happy if we don’t get the promotion, or the move to the nicer office (or larger cube)? What about our job title? What happens to our happiness if it changes to something with less prestige?
What about our attitude towards the shiny things? Do you feel less happy if you have to keep your car another year or two before trading on the latest and shiniest? Do you have a sinking feeling when someone else shows up wearing nicer clothes, or with a newer or more exclusive watch?
Yes, I have known people like that. And they were uniformly miserable. However, their misery is what drove their success. Unfortunately, they never escaped their misery, because they didn’t understand this quote. Eventually, some learned, and others had it pounded into their heads by circumstances of their own creation.
The question is what have you learned from this quote? Have you taken some time to look within and determine where we might be placing some of our happiness in who we are or what we have? Have you taken some time to consider how your attitude towards your job or towards things impact your life?
For those trying to help a friend see the light, remember that you are dealing with their core beliefs, and what they hold most dear. Slow and subtle are excellent tools in this arena. Lead them to the light by example, not by force. Help them come to this conclusion in their own time.
For some odd reason, my ‘related articles’ app is still face down in the mud. I hope to have something that works by early next week…