300 Interviews and the Same Three Words

executive happiness student Jan 26, 2018

Over the course of a couple years, I sat down with 300+ individuals, from students to CEOs, to talk to them about their goals.

During these interviews, we talked about their perceived issues, why they felt the way they did, their obstacles, and why their goals were important. These interviews wholeheartedly confirmed something I had known my whole life; no matter where we are in life, or how good or bad we think we have it, we all face challenges.

Those who sat down with me were the brave few that were actually ready (or almost ready) to do something about it.

We talked about the feeling of not being heard, what it would feel like to really have people listen to you and how that would change the environment they work or live in.

With each subsequent question, my goal was to dig deeper and get to the fundamental why? Why was it important to be heard? Why was it important to be confident speaking in front of x? I asked 'why' 5 times, and with each of those why's they had to dig deeper and deeper.

Ninety-nine percent of the time, the answer after the fifth 'why' was 'to be happy'!

There you go! From student to CEO, from big problems to little problems, we all are moving towards 'happy'. The funny part about that is that when we do see someone who is happy, we think they are being fake, or somehow false.

When we show happiness with our choice of words, actions, tone, and/or body language, people can become very skeptical. I always thought 'to be happy' was a strange answer. In my mind, “Happy” is not a destination. It's a mode of being. Or is it?

Maybe it's time we challenge 'to be happy'. Are we just waiting to be happy? Or can we be happy when things are going wrong?

People often say something like “I am not happy because I am a realist.” Being happy isn't synonymous with dumb, ignorant, aloof or negligent. Being happy still acknowledges that things aren't perfect, people aren't perfect, there are still problems in the world, and we still have to face challenges and adversity. Despite all of these hardships we endure, it is still possible to simultaneously be happy and a realist. The choice is just seeing that hardships exist, and the possibilities to overcome them are endless.

What do you think? Are you happy or are you waiting to be happy?

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