My wise grandmother would say things like, “Those who talk about ‘the good old days’ have poor memories.” and “Happiness is a choice, not a condition.” I spent the first 18 months of my life living with my grandmother and spent much of my best childhood times at her home. Her music box played “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning“. She laughed often and made others laugh too. Four times she had serious medical issues where the doctors said she would not live through the night. Each time she had other ideas! She wanted to see me confirmed, or finish grade school. She was always looking forward. She was 62 years older than I was and seemed very wise.
Sam Berns was 62 years younger than I am when he was featured on a FOX News special because of his positive attitude. I chanced on a YouTube video that reminded me that wisdom can be found at even a young age. It was a Ted Talk by Sam, a 17 year-old with progeria. He was talking about his wisdom for living a happy life. He shared wisdom beyond his years: “I have my problems and difficulties, but I do not dwell on them. I choose to look forward to even the small things in life. I value the relationships that enrich my life.” He made his life of 17 years matter with the way he thought.
Sam’s and my grandmother’s wisdom is valuable for so many people I know in the workplace today. It is often painful to see how workloads and schedules are crushing some people. The choice to constantly check email and text messages; even during an elevator ride where the other option might be to gain 20 seconds of mental rest, or share a humorous comment with a fellow elevator passenger. Alternatively, spending 15 minutes with Sam or my grandmother might be all it takes to brighten one’s day. They are both saying that happiness is a choice … and one worth making. You might then be able to pass your wisdom on to someone else. Sam did that for me.