At the end of the day, everyone sleeps

Owen (Baseball)


“Isn’t it weird how everyone goes to sleep at night? Like, everyone in the whole planet. All these people, people I’ll never know—some are poor, some are rich; some sleep in beds, some sleep on the floor. But at the end of the day, everyone sleeps. – Deja, “This is Us” S2E17, 2018

In a world caught up in equality, diversity, inclusion, and rights, there is probably no greater equalizer than sleep. No matter who you are, where you came from, your past, your future, your status, your position, your genes, or your bank account, we all must sleep at the end of the day.

Why is it so hard to get along? Why do we struggle so mightily to understand each other? How can we learn to be better leaders, parents, friends, or neighbors? I believe that everyone, no matter where they live or what they do, has seven basic desires that determine our overall happiness. When we understand these, it can help us understand, work with, live with, and deal with each other better. When we know these seven things and can help each other achieve them, we have taken a huge step in being successful and helping others to achieve their goals.

So, let’s take a look at my “Seven Happiness Factors”. How does my list stack up to yours?

Seven Happiness Factors

  1. Basic physical requirements (air, food, water, warmth) – The firsts and, perhaps, most important human desire is that the basic physical requirements for life are met. No one can excel when they are hungry. You can’t expect an individual to do their best or give their best if they are consumed with fulfilling these basic needs. When we can step back and see the needs of others AND address them, we earn the right to be heard. By meeting these needs, we alleviate a burden that, quite possibly, we struggle to even understand.
  2. Respect (fair treatment) – Everyone wants to feel that they are being treated fairly. When we are treated fairly, we become motivated to do our best. The opposite is also true… when we are not treated fairly, we are demotivated. Giving others a chance to excel, to speak up, to participate, to learn, to advance, to contribute, or to gain what they have earned builds a culture of character and integrity. The best way to understand how to treat others is to invoke the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you yourself would want to be treated. When we do this, we nurture an environment where everyone can do their best.
  3. Freedom (the ability to pursue happiness) – No one wants to feel that they do not have the ability to pursue those things that brings them happiness. Having the freedom to make your own decisions (with limits, of course) gives a sense of empowerment that everyone craves. Being able to make choices, whether you eventually make good ones or not, gives individuals a sense of liberty that can’t be fulfilled in any other way. When we allow others a sense of freedom, we unleash their abilities to do more and do it better.
  4. Opportunity (a chance to excel) – In addition to freedom, everyone wants to ability to do better. No one thrives in an environment in which they feel that life will never get better or that their chances to do more or have more influence don’t exist. When individuals are allowed to chart their own future path, their level of contentment usually rises.
  5. Love (someone that cares) – Despite what some may say, everyone desires and needs others in their life that care. We want others to enjoy our company. We want companionship (again, with limits) and most of our favorite memories involve other people. In the workplace, when you show others that you care about them as individuals… that you care about what is important to them… they are more loyal, work harder, and are more motivated to achieve success. A person-to-person connection is essential if you hope to create a positive place to be, live, or work.
  6. Purpose (something meaningful to do) – We all want to feel that we are making a difference. We want our work to be important. We want our efforts to have meaning. When we help others see the purpose in what they do or find their purpose in living, we accomplish much in the life of that person.
  7. Hope (something to look forward to) – Just like the children are about Christmas, we all enjoy and need something positive to look forward to. We need to have a hope for our future. We need to have a goal that we are striving to achieve. We need to pursue an accomplishment. When we help others find hope or see the positive in their future, we give them a gift… a gift that provides encouragement. We also have a need to understand our eternal hope. For those struggling to understand how to have that kind of hope, I encourage you to read a previous edition of The Porch that you can find here (What is your hope?).

Deja was right when she said, “At the end of the day, everyone sleeps.” And, for us as humans, there are things that, when we don’t have them, cause our lives to be chaotic, unfulfilling, unmotivated, or unhappy. When we help others to achieve these Seven Happiness Factors, we help them become more content, more productive, and more positive.

Think about what you can do today to make a difference in the life of someone else.

Responding to “Shoulder Taps”

shoulder tap

I recently ran across a short video by a gentleman named Bill Hart called “Shoulder Taps.” A link to the video is provided below. In short, Bill discussed a recent experience in which he felt led to compliment a complete stranger in a restaurant. As a result of responding to his “shoulder tap”, he changed the day for two people… the lady he spoke to and, more significantly, himself. Take the less than three minutes needed to watch Bill’s video.

I think we have all had a shoulder tap at one time in our life. Probably, most feel a shoulder tap almost every day. Bill Hart defines a shoulder tap as a prompting, possibly from God, leading him to act… especially when he would not have acted otherwise. In this particular example, he was prompted to compliment an elderly lady.

When did you last feel a tap on your shoulder? I was recently on vacation. On the first or second day of a week at a resort, I felt a shoulder tap to sit next to and speak with a man at the pool. First of all, I am not typically the kind of individual that automatically looks around seeking a stranger with which to strike up a conversation. But on this day, I was led to a particular man… again, one that I would not have typically sought. To shorten the story, I ended up really liking this guy and my wife and I sat near him and his wife every day the rest of the week. They were a nice couple that had a lot in common with us. I would never have sought him out without that shoulder tap that day.

I remember back in my working days going to endless meetings that often led to no outcome of value. Somewhere along the line in my career, I decided that, even if the meeting was unlikely to have value for me, I would seek an opportunity to say something or extract some piece of information that made it worth attending. Often, early in the meeting, I would feel a “shoulder tap” that prompted me to ask a question or make a comment that helped focus or refocus the direction of the meeting. On those occasions that I responded to that tap, I almost always left the meeting feeling that it either had value for me or that I created value by my question or response. In other words, when prompted to speak up, I tried to do so. And, when I did, it helped me or others. It is so tempting to just sit through the meeting watching the clock and hoping for a speedy end. However, when you are intentional about making a contribution, it can make your time well spent.

There are other times when you “just have a feeling” that someone you know (a colleague, a friend, a family member, a neighbor, or, even a stranger) needs a special touch from you. A kind word, a sacrificial act, encouragement, or tangible help can often make the difference in the day or life of that individual. When we respond to that “shoulder tap”, we are taking a step in faith that we are standing into the gap for that person. You may never know how much a simple word of encouragement can be for someone struggling through a tough time in their own life. You never know the difference that you can make to someone with a simple kind act.

So, today, my friend, think about how you will respond the next time you feel a “shoulder tap.” Will you merely ignore it or think that you are imaging it? Or, will you, like Bill Hart, respond and, in the process, make a difference in the life of someone else. Let’s start looking for how we can make a difference in someone’s life. The words of John Bunyan, the author of the classic Pilgrim’s Progress once said:

‘You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.’

Bunyan’s words may never be truer than when you listen… and respond… the next time you feel a “shoulder tap.”

Have a great day!