The Day Your Second Life Begins: Thoughts on Happiness

by placers on June 25, 2021 in Outside Insights


Summer time is about fun, travel (finally) and spending time outside with friends and family. The season also presents an opportune time for self reflection, to learn and to grow. A favorite Outside Insights topic, I have often asked you all: How much time do you set aside to work on and get to know yourself? How do you intentionally make adjustments to achieve the life you want?

Today, I want to share a new perspective on my personal journey to find and be happy.

I’m not sure where you currently are on the spectrum of happiness. The truth is, I was never really happy as a young person. I was driven, energetic, restless, and in perpetual motion. But, I was not happy.

I was always rushing to get through my workday, and then my weekend, checking off trips to the pharmacy and cutting the grass like I would meetings and sales calls during the week. I was anxious and unsettled.

I often “joked ” that I was the “What’s Next” leader. During team meetings, if I learned that someone did something special, finished a project or landed a big customer, I would inevitably not recognize nor celebrate the win. I would often reply “That’s great, however, did you get to the other thing that I asked you?” I’m ashamed to admit that now, but it was a learning stage in my leadership journey. I was always worrying about the past (which I can’t change nor control) and trying to overly engineer the future.

When I was 21, I wanted to be a Vice President and married with a nice house. Time went on and I wanted a better car, nicer things and a bigger role. I tried to find happiness in material things. This never works well nor does the joy last as long as we want it to.

Once I started Placers 2.0, things got worse not better. The more I achieved, there was always more to do than available time. At work, At home. In Life. I was forever busy, in motion and chasing the day.

Achieving everything I had thought I wanted did not make me happy. I didn’t achieve happiness until I decided to be happy.

“We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one” – Confucius

You must pause to celebrate life along the way. Life is a marathon, if we are lucky. Lifting your head from the day-to-day chaos and noticing the “little” things around you can remind you how beautiful life is and how much you have to be grateful for. You have the power to define your own definition of happiness and to make changes when the life you’re living no longer serves the person that you are.

And I choose to live my life intentionally my way, because:

– I realized that as hard as I might try, most things are out of my control, but…
– I will always have total control of my thoughts and my reaction to events.
– I get to attribute meaning to daily events and I can choose to think of them as good or as bad.
– I understand that as events happen in my life, nothing is black and white, good or bad. It’s all about perspective.
– And finally, whatever happens in my life is simply part of my journey. I no longer resist the unpleasant. I am ok with it and I accept it.

The key is to be here right now. The present is truly a gift. You can’t fix the past and we can’t always bend reality and make tomorrow happen the way we want. All we have is right now. Many of us jokingly say “I wish I could be a kid again, just for one day.” What’s so special about being a kid? It’s the moments where they’re playing and laughing and 100% in the present moment. They’re not thinking about the past or the future. Just the now. All of us can learn something from that – and you don’t need a time machine to feel that way again.

So, where can you begin? Spend a little time journaling, discovering you, and working towards happiness.

Here are some of my favorite prompts:

– Create a one sentence happiness mantra that you can say to yourself each morning…
– Write about an act of kindness you witnessed today.
– Write your favorite memory.
– Write down 3 things you would tell your younger self.
– What did you love to do as a kid?
– Write three things your younger self would say to yourself 10 years from now.

I’d like to do something different in an upcoming blog, and I need your help. I’d like to share perspectives from you all around the topic of happiness, how you define it, moments that inspired you to change your life, and moments where you felt at peace. Head to this link to share your anonymous stories. I’ll share a few within an upcoming piece so that we can all learn from one another.

I can’t wait to hear from you.

Until next time, friends.


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