Give the Greatest Gift; Happiness

By Kevin O’Connor, Training and Development Manager

Aristotle was quoted, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” When our first child was born, there was a quick transition from the thought “wow, it costs a lot to raise a child” to “I will do anything to make our child happy.”  As the years went by, I realized the greatest gift to my kids is not the latest gadget making them happy in the moment but teaching them how they can CHOOSE to be happy lifelong.

Wait. If we can choose to be happy, wouldn’t everyone do that? Doesn’t our environment decide our level of happiness?  You can decide to be happy throughout your career and your life if you commit to improving the factors that affect happiness and satisfaction. Once the basic needs of food, shelter, and clothing are met, level of happiness is directly related to how we react to and within our environment.

To be consistently happy, you must:

  1. Choose a positive attitude
  2. Adopt a thankful attitude
  3. Manage worry
  4. Forgive
  5. Surround yourself with happy people

Most people, including myself, have room for improvement in one or more of those areas. Improvement takes effort and often requires building new habits which takes time. Let’s review each of those factors to see how you can reach a higher level of happiness and teach others.

Choose a positive attitude

To choose a positive attitude, you must first understand that everyone has a choice of how they respond to what happens to them. You can think of coworkers and acquaintances that you would describe as “very negative” and others you would describe as “always positive”. The difference between the two is attitude or simply learned habits of unconsciously choosing to respond positively or negatively to the hundreds of the small and large events of each day. Accept that you have control of your attitude and want to improve it. You’ll likely need help from a good friend who will commit to catching you when you make a negative choice to discuss more positive responses to retrain your brain.

Adopt a thankful attitude

You will feel greater happiness if you regularly focus on your blessings and not on your wants.  An effective habit to adopting a thankful attitude is counting your blessings each morning as you start your day. Put a reminder note on your bathroom mirror to mentally list 6 to 10 things you are thankful for like “I am thankful for: 1. The health and well-being of my family, 2. Living in a free country, 3. For a warm place to sleep,  4. etc.

Manage worry

Unfortunately, the habit of worrying about things robs happiness by hi-jacking our thoughts away from our blessings and to things that may not even occur. A Dale Carnegie course taken 35 years ago likely saved me from ulcers from excessive worry by teaching me to live in day-tight compartments. Do not worry about what happened in the past.  Do not worry about what might happen in the future. Only concern yourself with the day you are in. Read How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie to break the cycle of worry.


The inability to forgive others can be extremely damaging to your happiness for some of the same reasons of excessive worry.  Instead of thankful and positive thoughts, held grudges occupy your thoughts and even work you into a rage if left unchecked. Max Lucado is credited with the quote, “Forgiveness is unlocking the door to set someone free . . . and . . . realizing you were the prisoner!” Forgiveness is not something we do for other people, but something we do for ourselves. It allows us to heal and move on.

Surround yourself with happy people

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker, famously said that we are the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. Think about that group for you and decide if you need others in your top-5 that can help you build the positive habits that will lead to greater happiness.

Choosing to be happy requires self-reflection and a plan to build the habits of a positive and thankful attitude, to manage worry, to learn to forgive, and to surround yourself with the people who will support you on the journey. Another valuable life-lesson gained from a career in training is that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others. Who would you like to teach the habits of happiness?

For support in your journey to happiness in your career, rely on the recruiters at Ag 1 Source and contact us today.