Happiness is Skill in Motion

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“Anything you’re good at contributes to happiness.”  Bertrand Russell (Philosopher)

I think that most of us, if we’ll admit it, sometimes doubt if our work will have lasting value. Seems to me this is both natural and a mistake. Well, it’s a mistake to let those feelings persist, even if we can’t help that they occur.

Without going all “New Age” on you, gentle reader, I do believe that any amount of new happiness we can add to the world is a good thing.

Being happy about our work – whatever it is – is contagious.

In the early days of my career, I sat in on several recording sessions when foreign-language commercials were being taped. I recall being absolutely amazed at the recording engineer. Even though he was working with copy that was in French and Italian, languages he did not know, he worked flawlessly and quickly. This was back when all professional recordings were still being made on large reel-to-reel tapes, so the task of creating a seamless recording by splicing together multiple voiceover takes and inserting snippets of music was all done by hand, using a mechanical tape splicer.

This recording engineer moved with remarkable speed and ease. On that editing console he was a master artisan, and it was clear from his easy-going manner as he worked that he loved his work. I distinctly remember what I felt as I left the studio after assisting in the first of these recording sessions with him. I stepped out of the studio into a warm June afternoon. The temperature wasn’t unbearably high but a block or two of hustling to make the 5:00 train left my shirt damp in all the wrong places. As I moved quickly down the street, I passed Pizzeria Uno, one of Chicago’s iconic restaurants, and the aroma coming from the front door tempted every passerby. A few steps past the pizzeria I stopped and shook my head in wonder. I was feeling the same sort of high that I would enjoy after watching the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sir Georg Solti. It was a high from being in the presence of a master artisan, brought on by spending time with that recording engineer.

No matter what you do, if you’re good at it, you create new happiness every day. Whether it’s speaking, teaching, writing, or selling, you’re making happiness. So as I look out on a world that seems a bit dismal now and again, I ask you to please get busy.

Keep making the happy.

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