Happiness and satisfaction are in your own hands

bird in hand

There is an old story that I have heard that I will re-tell in my own words:

The Wise Old Man teaches the Fool

There was once a wise old man living on the mountain. This man could answer correctly any question posed to him.  He was remarkable, especially because this was in the days before the internet was invented.  One day, a young man in town thought he would fool the Old Man.  He decided to ask the Old Man a question that he couldn’t possibly answer correctly.  So, he found a baby bird.  His plan was to carry the bird to the Old Man and ask, “Is the bird in my hand dead or alive?”  If the Old Man answered, “It is alive,” he would squeeze it to death and prove the Old Man wrong.  If the Old Man answered, “It is dead,” he would simply open his hand and show the lively bird.

He took the bird in his hand to the Old Man. He held the bird cupped in his hands not visible to the Old Man.  He asked the Old Man, “Is the bird in my hand alive or dead?”  The wise Old Man pondered this question for a moment, then answered, “It is whatever you want it to be.”  The Old Man proved his wisdom and the Fool went away dejected.

In many ways, the wisdom of the wise Old Man also applies to our life or our careers, “It is whatever we want it to be.” We hold the answer in our own hands.  We will spend our lives as a giver or a taker?  Is our focus to better the lives of others or to enhance ourselves?  Do we care more about what happens to us or to what happens to others?  Are we sacrificing for others or expecting others to sacrifice only for us?  The answer to each of these questions is completely within our own hands.

The same applies to our careers. Are we controlling our own career destiny or relying upon others to carry us along?  Are we enhancing our skills and abilities to make us more valuable as employees or simply resting on our laurels?  Are we investing in the careers of others or do we expect all the investments to come in our direction?  Are you chasing a title or seeking adventure, challenges, or fulfillment?

Happiness, satisfaction, enjoyment, hope, and motivation are completely within our own grasp. None of these should depend upon anyone else.  Stop waiting for others to make you happy… you hold that in your own hands.

Henry Ford once said, “Whether you can or cannot, you are right.” I would enhance that and say, “Whether you believe your life or career can be happy and satisfying or not, you are right.”  Take charge of our own happiness and satisfaction… starting today!

Have a great and enjoyable day! Do what you can to make this day special for someone else!


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