Thursday, December 24, 2009

Measuring Happiness

It's Christmas Eve and I've put the Blackberry to bed, stopped the strategic planning, and set aside the work of worry.

My daughter does not want to discuss upcoming college tours or the cube root of 127. Instead, we're discussing our personal definitions of happiness.

For my daughter, it's the little things that make her happy. The smiles from her friends, the smell of soy hot chocolate, and the idea of sleeping for 12 hours without homework to do.

For me, I measure happiness by looking at my reflection in the people around me. Have my parents had a good year because of something I've done? Has my wife been empowered to pursue her dreams? Has my daughter gained more self confidence? Do my staff feel good about our trajectory and the stability of their work environment? Do my colleagues feel that I'm a convener who can be trusted to bring people together seeking the greatest good for the greatest number?

Measuring happiness through the eyes of others is imperfect - you cannot make everyone happy. However, you can treat them fairly, positively, and with respect, even if they are naysayers. My metric is to simply ask if I've done my best.

As I sit with my family, a snow covered wreath hanging on my front door (the photo above), the smell of chestnuts drafting through the house, sipping a cup of Graham's 1985 Port and watching The Polar Express, I have a sense that my wife, daughter, parents, friends, staff, and colleagues are achieving their own happiness. I'm at peace with the world and thankful for the year that's passed, happy by all measure.

Happiness to you and to all a good night.


Lukas Zawilski said...

Merry Christmas to you and the family John.

Rad Googler said...

I've read your blog for two to three years. I'm a radiologist in Southern California working down the street from Harbour General (which I hear are your old haunts) at Torrance Memorial Medical Center. You have been very inspirational and helpful in many ways and I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you and to encourage you to keep up the good work. May you and your family have the merriest of Christmases' and happy, healthy and meaningful New Years.

Albert Grabb, M.D.
Director of Imaging Informatics
Torrance Memorial Medical Center

Mick said...

Happy Holidays from a long-time reader. Thank you for your posts and tidbits of wisdom.