Happiness is yours for the taking


Pier 39, home to a dozen restaurants and a thousand sea lions.
Pier 39, home to a dozen restaurants and a thousand sea lions.

Thirty years ago my boss gave me an assignment I’ll never forget.

“I’ve rented a Santa Claus costume for tonight’s Christmas party,” he said.

“Great!” I replied.

“And you are going to wear it,” he told me.

That evening I changed into the red suit and beard in the parking lot San Francisco’s Pier 39.

We were holding the company party at the restaurant at the far north end of the Pier.

As I walked the length of the Pier, children came running to tell me what they wanted for Christmas. Imagine the luck — bumping into Santa Claus just walking along the dock like a normal citizen. They beamed. I felt like a god.

Last night a group of folks from NextNow and Natural Logic came together for a Seasons Party at the NextNow Collaboratory in Berkeley. Once again I donned the Santa suit. (I do it every year now.)

Santa arrives.
Santa arrives.

Santa wished everyone a very, very happy 2013. Then I shared my new calling: I am out to make people happy. Millions of them. Mainly people trapped in the rat race of organizations.

We’re each in control of our own happiness. Lots of it has to do with how we look at the world. We can literally rewire our brains by shifting what we pay attention to and how we interpret the past. It’s not that difficult. I aspire to be the Pied Piper Santa who leads people to more fulfilling work and contented lives. Don’t we all deserve lives worth living?

Picasso wisely said, “I do things I don’t know how to do in order to learn how to do them.” Me too. I don’t know how I am going to play Santa year round. I may write a book or an ebook, or show companies how happiness boosts the bottom line, or lead workshops, or all these and more. I’m certain to be discussing the topic here. I’m open to your suggestions. Life is for learning.

Will you join my on this journey? As Aristotle said, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”