Dan Waldschmidt

by Dan Waldschmidt

December 27, 2011

Happy or Hopeful.

It’s easy to be excited about life when you are surrounded by people who love you.

When there is happiness and excitement.  When the frustrations of life are on hold.  When you see smiles and laughs.

Happiness motivates us.

It solves the deep physiological problems that motivate us.

Sociology studies from the Mayo Clinic indicate that general happiness around the holidays temporarily relieves depression and suicide attempts.  On the day of a major holiday, psychologists receive 25% fewer emergency visits.  In fact, overall hospital visits and reported suicides go down.

All on the same day.

Despite our relentless every-other-day pursuit of success, money, and fame, what we really want is to feel like what we do matters.  We want to be happy.

But that pursuit of happiness can lead us through a confusing labyrinth of conventional, academic advice that just doesn’t seem to work.

It’s outdated wisdom.

It’s anecdotal “feel good” business fluff.

  • We’re told to get a degree in something we want to spend the rest of our life pursuing.  But there’s not a degree you can get in “hard knocks”.
  • We’re told to get a job and stick with it.  But then the employer we choose decides not to stick with us.
  • We’re told to love others and we’ll be loved back.  But love is painful at times and we get our dreams smashed and hearts broken.

And happiness seems less like a good plan and more like a seasonal remembrance.

Which mirrors the medical studies about how we think and operate.

The same studies that show a 25% drop in depression on the day of a holiday show a dramatic 58% increase in suicide, doctors visits, and depression hospital admissions at the beginning of the year.  Doctors links this behavior to feelings of helplessness that people feel at the end of the holiday season.  For many people, New Years Day signals the end of happiness.

People get depressed at returning to the stress of work and everday life.

Happiness, it seems, is hard to sustain.

Hope motivates us more.

Being hopeful is a powerful differentiator for those who succeed.

They have the same problems as anyone else. That much doesn’t change.

  • Financial problems are still the same.
  • Relationships are still are confusing and complex.
  • Work assignments are still stressful.

But hope means it gets better.

Hope means you create your own destiny.

You will yourself to live.

You may not be fighting a disease or recovering after the loss of a loved one.  But the same attitude that keeps you alive is the same spirit that empowers you to find success in spite of the obstacles in your way.

You need hope.

You need to believe that no matter what happens, tomorrow brings an opportunity to conquer again.

It starts with a dream.

You can fight to be happy.

And that’s a noble conquest.

But happy runs through hope.

If you’re not hoping for something big, you might not find yourself as happy as you want to be.

About the author

Dan Waldschmidt

Dan Waldschmidt doesn’t just talk about leveling up. He’s obsessed with it. He's set records as an ultra-runner and been the personal strategist for the leading business leaders of our time. He wrote a book, called EDGY Conversations that accidentally became a worldwide bestseller and continues to share his insights from the stage as a keynote speaker and on the blogs and podcasts you will find here. Most days, you'll find Dan heads-down, working on breakthrough strategies for his clients at EDGY Inc, a highly-focused, invite-only, business strategy execution company based out of Silicon Valley.