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Happiness is the Journey…Not the Destination

Sustained Well-Being (success, happiness) ensues from the honorable and enjoyable pursuit of meaningful goals. Quoting Viktor Frankel, “…success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success…”


When it comes to motivation, the investigative and clinical work of  Robert Sapolsky, Dan Pink, Ed Deci, Carol Dweck, Al Bandura, Tal Ben-Shahar, Malcolm Gladwell and many others in the field of brain science support the theory that the motivating impact of the projected trappings of success (often as defined by others) — money, trips, cars, big houses, fancy clubs — are transitory at best and often counter productive.  Certainly this applies to the flip side of the coin, as well.  The threat of loss or pain will motivate behavior but at some point the physical and emotional toll is devastating and everything grinds to a halt.


  • Accept and respond to the fact that carrots and sticks are not equal. In hierarchical organizations, retention and acquisition of key members requires esprit décor, personal satisfaction, a sense of purpose, humor, a level of meaningful control, and contribution to a cause.  These heart and soul engagement conditions are the key factors needed to overcome stressful events while advancing personal well being. External factors may help initiate behavior (extrinsic motivation) but internal subjective engagement is necessary for healthy sustained change (intrinsic motivation).  The primary focus of management is to keep the doors open…the primary focus of the individual is to advance personal well being.  The great news: With attention to detail, this is a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Take a formal inventory of your culture including senior staff attitudes, physical plant, access to healthy eating, removal of “junk” food, healthy competition with team recognition, focus groups, wellness committees, etc. Every time you name a feature of your wellness/primary prevention plan, ask yourself…So What? And, take it right down to the individual’s intrinsic needs.
  • Survey your members regarding what is meaningful to them.


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