Happiness & Power

happiness at what is

Happiness is a function of accepting what is.

Werner Erhard

Accepting the reality of our circumstances can provide a tremendous amount of power and happiness.

Often in life and business we have goals, plans, dreams and often the path to achieving them get blocked by an upset, a breakdown or gets derailed due to some circumstance or another. If we can accept the breakdowns happen, if we can accept the challenges that arise as normal, we can stay focused and happy. When we resist challenges and unforeseen circumstances, we’re left feeling defeated, beaten up, upset and with a loss of power.

I was recently reminded of two weddings I attended years ago – both memorable for different reasons.

One of the weddings was for my friends Audra and Josh. They had a beautiful event planned in the backyard of his mother’s house. Everything was gorgeous, with tents and chairs ready to go. Except, on the day of the wedding, the weather decided not to cooperate and it poured, in one of those wild crazy heavy rain downpours that we get in the Phoenix area. Despite the tents, the beautifully decorated backyard became a pit of mud and dirt. The groom’s mother lit some floating candles to put in the mud puddles in the backyard. Women could not get to the chairs that had been set up, even though they were undercover, because their heels would sink into the mud. The bride’s beautiful white wedding dress became brown up to the knee with dirt and mud. But the bride never stop smiling.

Despite the downpour and having to readjust and rearrange due to the rain and the mud and the dirt, it was a gorgeous wedding. The bride laughed at the circumstances and the challenging situation. Though the backyard was big enough for the event, waiting for the rain to stop we were crammed into the house that could barely fit all the people. She stayed present to the beauty of the day and enjoyed the reality of the situation. It was an amazing wedding and an afternoon I’ll never forget. Her ability, actually the whole family’s ability to stay lighthearted, and accept the circumstances for what they were, was inspiring and a lesson to everyone to roll with the punches. Another bride, and another family may have a very different approach to what could have been a huge disappointment.

A few months later I was at another wedding at the amazing Del Coronado hotel in San Diego, California. The weather was perfect. The setting was gorgeous. Everything was exactly as planned. Except, as the ceremony started, the two year old nephew of the bride “escaped” his handler and start running around the venue, yelling and playing as two year olds can do. The bride, clearly distressed by the attention being pulled from her, started yelling at her sister to rein in the unruly child. As she stood at the altar, she was clearly distressed, and kept trying to orchestrate the capture of her nephew while in front of a sea of friends and family. Her irritation was noticeable and everyone looked uncomfortable as she was fuming and annoyed at this joyful, exuberant child. After the ceremony, you could hear her yelling at her sister about her and her “brat” ruining her wedding. It made for a very miserable afternoon on a picture perfect day. The bride could have reacted differently, but in her attachment to the perfect wedding, she forgot to allow for joy and laughter and a two year old’s zest for life to modify her plans.

When’s the last time you allowed a breakdown to ruin your mood? Driving to an important meeting maybe you got a flat tire and it ruined the day? A flat tire is just a flat tire. Things happen. But we have the choice to add drama or not, having be a circumstance to deal with or life changing irritation and story to distract you for hours or days. You have the choice.

In life, shit happens. As Werner Erhard so powerfully said, “Happiness is a function of accepting what is.” I love to call it the Wilfred Brimley affect. Wilfred Brimley was an actor who, in almost every role I saw him in was super stoic. Stuff would happen and his response was mostly, “ok. Now what?” No drama. No emotion. Just OK. Now What?

When we can accept the circumstances as they are, not only do we have a path to happiness, we have a path to powerfully dealing with the reality of the situation rather than the drama of a good story. If you operate in your business with drama about your customers, competitors, costs, challenges, problems, or whatever is not the way it’s “supposed to be” it’s time to rethink the situation and Draw A Doorâ„¢ to a new possibility.