Make a Joyful Noise!

Ever wonder why happy people are happy?  Why is it they always have a smile on their face?  Even when the chips are down, they seem to bounce back quicker than others.  What is it that makes them so happy?

I am sure that there are lots of reasons.  However, I believe that genuinely happy people (and I mean the people that are happy a good portion of the time) have a FOCUS.

Somewhere in their mind, they are focused on something that makes them happy.  It’s their ‘happy place’ that they go to often that brings them joy.  Perhaps not as bizarre as depicted in the movie Happy Gilmore, but something or someone that they focus on.  It could be their faith.  Or a loved one.  Or, it could be an activity like fishing, painting, or monster truck driving.  Regardless, it’s usually something that is deeply meaningful to that individual that helps put and keep their mind in a positive place.  What’s your happy focus?

For me?  It’s music. Music permeates my soul.  There is always a song playing in my heart and in my head.  And it wants to come out.  So, I am always whistling, humming, drumming, tapping, or even outright singing.  Whether out loud or in my head, the beat is always going.

Music makes me happy.  It lifts my spirits.  And it puts a smile on my face.

Quick caveat:  You can have more than one happy focus.  My faith and my family are also critical focus points in my life that make me smile!  You’ll see why though I chose to talk about music in just a second.

Steamboat Willie, (c) Disney, 1928

I love this picture to the left.  It’s an image that I remember seeing ever since I was little.  In this particular Disney scene, Steamboat Willie is whistling a toon, rocking back and forth, and steering the boat (doing his job).  While only a cartoon, it is a great depiction of what being a happy person looks like at work (although I try to wear a shirt).

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t down days or that I don’t have to focus seriously on the task at hand, but it does mean that when I need it, it’s always there for me to help boost my mood upwards.

The other great thing about having this focus is that when you’re happy and other people can see it in you, it’s contagious.

I’m sure that you’ve heard that ‘a smile is contagious’.   I’ve found this is also true with music.  Music is mainly an outward expression.  Most people I’ve met like some form of music.  And if they hear me humming or whistling or tapping, it isn’t long before I hear them doing the same.  And then I see them smile too.

The other day at work, I was riding down in the elevator and was humming some ditty.  There was another guy on the elevator.  I smiled and said hello as I got on board, but we didn’t say much else during the ride and when we got to the first floor, the door opened and we parted ways.  I went on to the cafeteria to get some food and while I was standing in line I heard someone humming behind me.  I turned around and two people back was the guy that was in the elevator with me.  He nodded and smiled at me as we had that mental connection and understanding that he was continuing on where I had left off.  I nodded and smiled back.  Happiness (and music) is contagious.

At Walmart, respect for the individual is a cultural tenet.  And one of the greatest ways that I know to show my respect for another is to acknowledge their presence in a warm and friendly way.  This means greeting them with a smile, a wave, a wink, or a hello.  When I am happy, this is really really easy to do.  And because I strive to be a cultural ambassador, staying happy and keeping my spirits up is important.

Why is happiness important for leaders? Well, if our function is to inspire, motivate, stimulate, move, and encourage others, then we should be someone that others want to be around.  People generally want to be around happy people – they aren’t emotionally draining like unhappy people.  And they tend to lift the mood of others.  So, it should stand to reason that good leaders should be happy people.  Are you considered a happy person?  How do you show it?

The next time you see me humming in the halls or tapping my fingers during a meeting, you know that I’ve got a song playing and beat grooving in my head.  And where there’s music, there is certainly a smile to follow.

So, my challenge to you is to find your happy focus.  If it’s music like mine, then MAKE A JOYFUL NOISE!  It doesn’t matter if you can carry a tune or not.  If it makes you happy and makes you smile, then don’t hold it back!  It’s contagious!




One Response to Make a Joyful Noise!

  1. Michael Paladino says:

    Great advice for business and life in general as well. Thanks for the reminder of the importance of happiness.

    Looking forward to seeing if you’re humming, whistling, or finger-tapping next time I see you 🙂

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