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My secret to happiness

We live in an angry, negative world. The news is bombarded with upsetting stories. Never ending conflicts, threats of nuclear warfare, pandemics, corruption, incompetence, and the list goes on and on. Social media is no longer a platform where we share our honest thoughts, opinions, and life moments, but instead has become a platform where posts have become more about improving our egos and sharing what we believe the worlds wants to think of us.

I believe that the “news” has changed in the last decade. The “news” is becoming more and more based on opinions and feelings as opposed to reporting on facts. We care more about the bad decisions our political leaders did decades ago than we do their current actions. We prefer to watch our leaders point fingers, fight, and screw up than we do having them work together for the betterment of our country and our well being.

Let’s be honest – these are the types of stories that get us to tune in. It’s marketing. It’s advertisement dollars. It’s a business. The business of fear, anger, paranoia, and negativity.

I choose to not watch the news, listen to the news or read the news. I have always been of the belief that if something is important enough, I’ll learn about it by other means of communications. Time is the ultimate currency. You can’t save any in a bank, and you’re forced to spend it every minute of the day. The only control you have on this currency is HOW you spend it – and I choose to not spend it by watching what we now consider to be important news.

However, during this pandemic, I did find myself tuning in to find out what was going on. I was shocked by how quickly my heart rate immediately increased hearing about all the hardship and problems that are present in our lives, and how I found myself scrolling for more.

Now – how can I start a blog post on happiness with such negativity? I suppose it’s to give it some context as to why we are so angry, stressed and frustrated. As business owners – I feel like it’s even easier to fall into this trap of negativity. We don’t get to shut it down every night. We live and breath our business. The financial stresses, the hardships, the human resources, the next sale, our public image, our client experiences, the sleepless nights, etc.

I remember 4 or 5 years into my business, I was finally able to take my first week off. My wife and I went on a trip to Disney World. One week, all expenses paid. And I’ll be honest – it was a very stressful trip. I was never able to let go. Emails all day, phone ringing at least twice per day where I had to take out fires. I recall on our fourth day when a Disney employee asked me why I looked so angry – we were in the happiest place on earth after all! My wife agreed and said that I should try smiling a little…

That’s the moment something switched. I forced a smile (at least while on the rides) and on day 6, I was finally able to let go and enjoy my trip. Just to have it end the next day and get back at it with the stresses of work and the reality of the real world. But it made me realize, that happiness is a choice.
I choose to not watch or listen to the news. I choose to not surround myself with negative friends. I choose to not sign on mean clients. I choose to not work with negative vendors. I choose to not hire negative employees. I choose to start every day with positivity and a high level of energy. I choose to crank my favourite tunes on my commute to the office so that I’m ready to take on the world and lead my team

On the topic of music – I love my Spotify membership to discover NEW music. And with my recent trips to Nashville, I’ve developed a true appreciation for country music. It’s just so wholesome, honest and usually positive. I know that those who know me might be surprised to read this, and I’m sure to get a few jabs or jokes made to my expense, but that’s great, as long as it brings a smile to your face.

So, I suppose what I’m saying is that happiness is a choice. Yes, I most definitely have health issues, insomnia, ridiculous levels of stresses, momentary challenges of balancing my personal and business life. All common issues for the average business owners, but if I can take a step back and look at my life, it’s really been quite an amazing journey so far.
10 years ago, shortly after my second child was born – I recall a moment sitting on my bed in an old worn down house in a scary part of town one morning and seriously wondering how we would pay the mortgage, feed my family or put gas in the car to get to work. (I think I biked that day). But I never quit. I had a loving wife, amazing kids, a roof over my head, and had many reasons to be happy.

Life will always bring it’s challenges – and I sometimes feel bad when my positivity tank may have drained a little by the time I get home in the evening, but as long as we remember the choice to be surrounded by positive people and positive thoughts, then I feel like we can all live a happier life.

One of our core values at Avenir IT is “Positivity guides to Opportunity: A positive or a negative can be taken from every situation. It is a conscious choice. Our positivity guides us to opportunities.” Taking a look back at the last 12 years in business, I can’t stress enough how true this statement has been.

Finally – mental health is a real thing. If you’ve been dealt a bad hand, there are ways to get through it. I can’t speak to that effect but I’m truly sorry if this is where you are right now. If so, please click on this link to find resources to help you get past this chapter and back to living your amazing life: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/mental-health-services/mental-health-get-help.html#Crisis_help_links

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