Byron's Babbles

Do You Think I Know How To Be Happy?

Posted in Educational Leadership, Global Leadership, Leadership, Leadership Development by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 10, 2021

You all know I love to watch a great episode of Frasier. There is so much to learn from the vane Dr. Frasier Crane, played by Kelsey Grammer. I walked in the house late last evening and was flipping through TV shows and had to stop when I saw an episode was on. Frasier had just been told by an ex-girlfriend that he did not know how to be happy. Well, you know Frasier, he became obsessed with that, and the idea of not being able to be happy became the throughline of the show. He even called his ex-wife, and psychiatrist, to ask, “Do you think I know how to be happy?” She told him he was the only one that could answer that.

What Frasier found was that in everything he did he formulated what the “perfect” version would be and then, as we know, nothing is ever perfect. At one point he was on a trip and the plane was delayed, his hotel room wasn’t right, and the restaurant where he finally sat down to eat was out of everything he wanted. Needless to say, Frasier went ballistic. We’ve all been there, right? Fill in the blank: we’ve planned the perfect weekend and then…__________________. Sometimes we have nothing to do with what happened, other times we do. In this case, none were Frazier’s fault. But, we sure know how to become miserable and make those around us miserable too.

In Frazier’s case I don’t think he was being a hedonist. It had more to do with perfection versus pleasure. How we choose to interact with our external world has a great impact upon how we feel inside. Research tells us that focusing on what’s important and not obsessing over minor annoyances can keep us in a happy place. It turns out those cliches “Don’t sweat the small stuff” and “You can only control what you can control” were right.

But, I also want to go back to the perfection thing. “Perfect” can be such a ferocious enemy of happiness and getting things done. Roy T. Bennett argued that “Perfectionism is the enemy of happiness. Embrace being perfectly imperfect. Learn from your mistakes and forgive yourself, you’ll be happier. We make mistakes because we are imperfect. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, and keep moving forward.” Think about it, perfect is like a unicorn; super cool, but have you actually ever seen one? “Perfect” and the unicorn are both pretty elusive. So, in the meantime, I’ll enjoy the beauty of the horse, till the real unicorn comes along. Get the point?

This made me think about the teaching of Jack Canfield. I remembered him talking about how we humans let perfection get in the way of happiness. Again, this could be the perfect vacation, the perfect presentation, the perfect event, the perfect first impression, and the list goes on and on. Canfield taught us that many times we let our perfects, or “ideals” come from others. Think about it; how many things look just like the brochure portrays? Someone else’s ideals shouldn’t affect your own happiness. Instead, Canfield told us that in order to achieve happiness, you should create focused goals for yourself. Furthermore, never forget that our social circles, coworkers, or relatives should not decide what is right for us or what makes us happy, only you can decide.

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