Throwing My Loop…
By: Michael Johnson
Such a small little word, but
so important to us all. We all want to be “happy.” Perhaps
even more, we especially want our children and grandchildren
to be happy. We want them to do well in school, find good
and meaningful work, and to be “happy” in life. And when we
have been sad for some time, we all think to ourselves, “If
only I could be happy again.” Hmmm. How is it that we
do that? What should we tell those we love about finding
life satisfaction? I’m not so sure anymore, but there is
one thing I’m sure of. It’s not where we think, and we need
to be careful what we wish for.
One goal we all agree on (without thinking much about
it) is that we would be happy if we were really good
at something. Most every kid in America would love to be a
major league baseball player, a star quarterback, or to be
known for a deadly jump shot. Or what if we could sing like
an angel, or maybe golf our ball like Tiger? Maybe if we
were a marketing genius, or even better if our kid became
really rich? And most people from my world have - for a
lifetime - wanted to rope better than anyone else on the
planet. What if we could do any of those things? Would
that allow us to never have another bad day?
I enjoy reading biographies. To read and learn what
makes high performers tick is a source of real interest, and
after reading them for years, I’ve begun to see a pattern…
Long ago, I read the story of Elvis’ life; the man who
really could sing like an angel and about all the millions
he made. A few months ago, I read the life story of Steven
Jobs, of Apple Computer fame – and his marketing genius that
generated billions and changed the way we live. Just
lately, I read Hank Haney’s story of his time with Tiger
Woods and the years Haney spent as the coach of one the
greatest talents that ever lived. I have read many others,
and after all that time and all those words, there is the
strangest thing. No matter what they did, or high they
flew, no matter how miraculous their accomplishments, in the
stories of all those household names, I never read a word
Late in his life, Elvis was asked, “As a young man, you
said when you were grown, you wanted to be rich and
famous…and happy. Are you?” Elvis answered, “I’m rich and
famous…and miserable.” Jobs’ life was plagued by
contentious relationships, shouting matches, and all sorts
of troubles. For all his accomplishments, still Tiger
imploded. Howard Hughes died a recluse in a dark hotel
room. Michael Jackson died in debt and in misery.
So what does make us happy? According to Dr. Martin
Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology, (and a host of
other researchers) there are some answers…
Relationships promote our happiness. May be family,
could be friends - humans and animals - if we have
connections with other living things, we tend to do better
than hermits do.
Faith helps us with life. People who have some
religious connection report significantly higher life
Knowing your passion and purpose does too.
Being positive is a key. Some people say you have to
be born that way. No.
Being kind, caring, and supportive, generates far more
happiness than being cold, brusque, and aloof ever will.
Gratitude is a characteristic of people who report
higher life satisfaction. No matter how sad – and true –
your story may be, there is someone around the corner far
worse off in life…and they are often heard whistling a
Appreciation of the little things in life. Here are a
few that fill me with thanks…when the martins come back in
the spring, cardinals, wood ducks, my dog, the horses, the
barn cats, deviled eggs, tacos, and my wife’s barbeque
Forgiveness – developing the ability to do that helps
us a great deal. Especially when we forgive ourselves for
some wrong we can’t take back.
It is interesting most of us can’t do extraordinary
things, but still wish we could. (I, for one, have always
been a superstar trapped in a less than average body.) Yet,
even if we could, that ability would not make us content.
Having true friends does. Faith does. Good horses and good
dogs do. Giving does. Love does.
Reminds me of my old friend, John Redwine, when I asked
him about finding happiness. “The Lord meant for it to be
easy to find, son,” he said. “But we make things so
complicated, turns out it’s in a place most of us never
think to look.”
“Where’s that?” I asked him.
“Right under our nose,” he said. “He put it right
under our nose.”
Ed. Note: In January of 2012,
RFD-TV’s All Around Performance Horse TV, and Roping and
Riding with Tyler Magnus, will broadcast the first embedded
segment of The Advice Barn, a viewer call-in show hosted by
Dr. Harry Anderson, with featured guests, Dr. Michael
Johnson, and Dr. J. D. Norris.
The Advice Barn is sponsored by Total Feeds, Inc. maker of
Total Equine, Dr. Harry Anderson’s creation of an
all-purpose feed designed for the horse. Total Feeds, Inc.
sold thousands of tons of Total Equine last year.