Right ≠ Happy

From the cover of Mr. Happy by Roger Hargreaves (Didn’t you just LOVE these books!?)

It took a good chunk of my 20’s to realize that you can be happy or you can be right and most often they are not the same thing.

A couple of years ago, a co-worker asked me if she should stay in her job.  She didn’t get along well with our boss and felt constantly undermined.  I didn’t work as closely with our boss as she did, but I could relate and I understood where she was coming from. I told her that she could be happy or she could be right. If she wanted to be right she could stay in the job, try to work around our boss, and claw, bite and scratch to get others to see her accomplishments, but ultimately there was no real upward movement for her. If she wanted to be happy she could stop hitting her head against wall, leave and focus on her educational pursuits.  She chose to be right. Every time I saw her over the next year she seemed miserable.

I have since left that workplace, because I chose to be happy.  I am not judging my former co-worker’s choice to stay, but I think we all have suffered from a need to be right.  We have to show everyone that we knew better and that our way was the way to go, even if it means the detriment of ourselves or others.  For instance, do you find yourself needing to be right in an argument, when what would make you both happiest is just letting it go?

Someone once told me that most people are about 3 things: looking good, being right, and surviving.  And that if we could give up those things we could find peace and be happy. The first two go hand in hand because being right is often about looking good to others.  We want their constant praise and acceptance, but if you let that go you will feel a freedom.  It will be enough for you to know when you are right and not need to let everyone else know.  Releasing that need to look good for others will give you the freedom to admit when you are wrong without making it a big deal about it; you just move on!  Survival is the hardest thing to give up, because we all need  a home, food and clothing.  However, I am speaking more of how we wrap survival in “being right” clothes.  Like feeling like you must have a designer bag or else be a social pariah or feeling like your home is not “right” unless it mirrors something you saw in a magazine.  None of these things bring you happiness.

I encourage you to let go of being right and embrace being happy!


Life/Work Balance

butterfly 2

Photograph by Joseph Smith


It is modern and appropriate for businesses to tout their work/life balance programs.  A person cannot be all work and no play, no rest, or no passion.   However, businesses still won’t mind if you miss your child’s baseball game to finish a project or work more than 40 hours a week when you are salaried, because it improves their bottom line.  And will they tell you that you are working too hard or remind you that you haven’t taken your vacation time? Probably not.

It’s good to remember that there are moments that you live for, and there are moments that your work for.  These moments have very little to do with your day job. Let me explain.

Coming home to a nice house/apartment, a hot meal, clean linens on the bed, and a cuddle with your favorite pet are moments you work for.  The next time you hate your job, try to remember all the things it affords you.  Everything may not be the best of the best or what you feel you deserve, but you have to admit you are somewhat comfortable.  For these things we should be thankful and not take them for granted.

That once in a life time experience, your child’s first steps, time with your loving family , good music, a butterfly flitting across your path- these are moments we live for.  These are the “stop and smell the roses” moments. Sometimes we get so wrapped up in work and the stress of it that we don’t appreciate the special moments.  There is magic in our everyday lives if we only took the time to notice.

Take the time to be grateful for the things that you work for and the things that you live for- for these things are the fabric of your life!