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VOL. 37 | NO. 26 | Friday, June 28, 2013

Happiness as strategy

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Today, I finished reading the book “Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh. Tony is the CEO of Zappos – and Tony is an experimenter extraordinaire.

In a nutshell, he seems to be willing to try pretty much anything in his ongoing quest to develop and nurture a culture of happiness creators at Zappos.

Sometimes when I read or hear something, it gets stuck in my mind. It’s like those annoying pop-up messages on your computer. You click the exit box and make them go away, but they come right back.

However, in my case the mental pop-up messages are not usually annoying, they’re thought provoking. Here’s what I read that kept popping up: “Happiness is the most sought-after thing in the world.”

Think about it, that’s a pretty strong statement. If it is true that something is the most sought-after thing in the world, it’s probably worth learning about. And this is where Tony and I have much in common. Curiosity about what generates and sustains happiness drove both of us to launch an intensive study of happiness.

I found it quite interesting that Tony and I have read so many of the same books on happiness and come to the exact same conclusions. Oh, by the way, I use my knowledge of happiness to help my clients joyfully and productively participate in their careers and in life in general.

Tony used his knowledge to build a company that achieved a billion dollars in annual revenue in less than a decade, create incredible opportunities for those who share his passion, and amass a personal fortune. That’s OK, I’m happy with all of that.

Here are a few conclusions about happiness that I want to share with you. My purpose in sharing them is to encourage you to become curious about happiness and perhaps launch your own happiness knowledge quest.

Happiness does not always mean you are “jumping up and down” happy. Happiness is also about sustained periods of calm satisfaction with the way your life is going.

Happiness is not like dollars. If I have a dollar and give it to you – then you have it and I don’t. Dollar exchanging is a zero sum proposition. However, if I have happiness and I give it to you – we both have it afterwards. That last sentence, in my mind, gets to the very core of how Tony has built such a successful company.

The real underlying reason that people do the things they do is the pursuit of happiness; personal happiness and the happiness of those they care about. Most of your actions are only a means to an end. Happiness is the end.

I could go on an on about what does and does not lead to happiness. However, in the long run, I believe you will be happier if you personally take the time to better understand the most sought-after thing in the world. Start by reading Tony’s book. You’ll be happy you did!

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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