Tag Archives: well-being

Great Music!

In my last post, I presented two poems that depict the safety and innocence of childhood.

Below are two musical pieces, one of which is very famous, both depicting the same childhood innocence and safety of the two poems.  The feeling that is presented is what one experiences surrounded by a loving family and a caring society.

What is interesting is that the poets and composers present a very similar experience, presented in their own artistic language.

Lullaby, Op. 49, No. 4 (Brahms, 1868)

This theme is one of the most famous and recognizable in the world.  It is sung, or hummed, by parents the world over to put their children to sleep.  It is an evocative piece representing peace, safety, and familial love.

Cantata No. 208, Sheep May Safely Graze (Bach, 1713)

This piece was commissioned as a birthday present to Duke Christian in Weissenfels.  The work has a German signing part that translates to: “where princes govern well, one senses peace and harmony at what makes the (Duke’s) region happy.”  The tranquility of this cantata evokes this sense of peace and harmony cherished by the people as a result of proper governance by the nobility. 

What My Book is Not

My soon to be released (second week of September) book is not about –

A “biography” on the bravery of noted entrepreneurs who forged ahead with their visions, business models validated, creative disruptions accomplished, millions or even billions of dollars earned, and perhaps prestige and political power garnered.  Many excellent biographies have been written on hundreds of such successful entrepreneurs.

A “how to” guide on launching a new business.  Let me save you some time and money by giving you a quick summary of the steps, following a twelve point plan: 1) begin with an idea, 2) evaluate the receptivity for the idea, 3) evaluate the competition, 4) write a business plan, 5) locate partners, 6) form a legal entity, 7) finance only the startup phase, 8) rollout the product or service on a test basis, 9) if accepted by the initial users, execute the marketing plan, if not accepted, pivot to your Plan B, 10) alter the product/service or marketing effort, as needed, 11) find more financing, and 12) if successful, then harvest the business (i.e., sell the business, or pass it on to a younger generation of family members); or, if unsuccessful, start fresh with something new (this setback happens to the best of us).  There are many well-written manuals/textbooks on this topic.

A business founder’s “five-step” plan to fortune, fame, and power.  Again, let me save you some time and money.  These plans’ successes are based on just one step – make money, lots of money, with your new product or service.  After all, such an author would not be a noted expert on such a topic without this one step.  Who has ever heard of a book on achieving fortune, fame, and power written by an unsuccessful business founder? 

It is much more interesting and valuable than the above!

New Vehicle for the Road to Happiness – Part 5

In my previous two posts I discussed the traits that are needed by all of us as well travel the road of life towards happiness.  These traits are not impossible to obtain; in fact, research indicates that they are shared by most “successful entrepreneurs.”  I would like to summarize the means of traveling the road to happiness.

The first trait is a proper education or training.  This trait is needed to have a secure job or vocation to earn a living to pay for living expenses and to save for the future.  The second trait is a desire to be involved with others.  This trait is needed to get along with family, neighbors, and co-workers.  It leads to a further desire to take risks in order to differentiate ourselves from others to enhance our self-esteem.  The psychologists and philosophers support these two traits as necessary for human development.

The third trait is an orientation to the future rather than the present.  This orientation is based on a desire to not miss an opportunity today to have a future lived above expectations.  In other words, not “missing the boat.”  Research indicates that “successful entrepreneurs” are very concerned with not wanting to regret in the future opportunities missed in the present.

The fourth trait is a willingness to take action when the right opportunity comes along.  This desire to capitalize on new opportunities is not seen as any riskier than other opportunities: perhaps it is seen as a means to not “miss the boat” and forego any regrets in the future.  In essence, the opportunity may be viewed as very reasonable if seen through the glasses of the third trait of not “missing the boat.”

So, the vehicle for traveling the road requires education/training, social skills, an orientation to the future, and a willingness to take action when necessary.  The researchers support these traits, and they seem reasonable.  But, one final requirement is needed – the environment to take the action when the right opportunity comes along.  We all need to be in a vocation in which we can take action, if needed.  Having the four traits is necessary for traveling the road, but without the ability to put the traits to work, the road will be difficult to travel.

More to come.

New Vehicle for the Road to Happiness – Part 3

Night Watch painting by Rembrandt

Night Watch, Rembrandt, 1642

In my earlier post I mentioned that researchers are beginning to uncover the traits or practices that make “successful entrepreneurs” successful.

So what are these traits.  Two of them are rather obvious and shared by all vocations: education/training and social skills.  We all need education or training to be able to have a job that can support us and our families.

The same education and training allows each of us to interact with one another, especially in our jobs.  This interaction provides the social skills to get along in society, advance in our jobs or vocations, develop friendships, and have loving relationships with others.  As with other occupations, entrepreneurs need to understand their products or services in order to sell it to the public.  They also need to be able to interface with others in their sales effort.  They may also need to develop a team to finance the new endeavor, a team to create the product, and a team to manage the marketing and sales effort.

In many cases, unsuccessful entrepreneurs do not have the necessary education/skills to create or sell a product.  They just rush into a new venture and hope for the best.  Also, many don’t have the social skills to work with others in the delivery of the product or the purchase of the product; In many cases, they simply hide from the public and hope for the best.

Non-entrepreneurs may be well-educated/trained and have acceptable social skills.  In fact, if they didn’t have social skills they would not succeed in the corporate environment that they work for.  Some people believe that entrepreneurs are those that lack social skills to compete in a corporate world – nothing could be further from the truth.  Social skills are critical to the performance of entrepreneurs.  Each of us probably knows a small business owner that doesn’t like to interface with the public – they don’t last long.

The above painting by Rembrandt, which I discuss in my book, is a great visual representation of the first two traits.  The leaders are clearly well-educated/trained and successful in their vocation.  They have strong social skills in being able to form and lead a group of men to protect the citizens, and they enjoy one another’s company.  The two men also project self-esteem and pride in their accomplishments, and a sense of duty to society.

So, education/training and social skills are the basics needed for our journey, and they can take us a long way along the journey to happiness.  They can provide the much needed belongingness or social interactions that most of us crave, and they can enhance our self-esteem, that is part of the human condition.  We can feel good about ourselves and our accomplishments.

Next post, the other two traits.

New Vehicle for the Road Part 2

The great thinkers (both ancient and modern) and the great artists have presented the roadmap to happiness, verified by one another.

However, we all need the vehicle to travel the road.  And the vehicle should be as modern as possible, as comfortable as possible, and as fast as possible.  The good news is that such a vehicle exists.

The great thinkers and the great artists have shown us what we need to do, which I have broken down into six galleries of the exposition found in my book.  It wouldn’t be very helpful to anyone if the human activities that are needed to travel the road are too numerous, too rare, or too difficult for any one person to possess.  What good is it to see the road to the place that you want to get to but no means of getting there.  The road might look great but, if you can’t travel along the road, the roadmap provided by the thinkers and the artists is useless.

The good news is that the traits that are needed to travel the road are the same ones that researchers are now discovering in the world of business.

It just so happens that it is the “successful” entrepreneur who has the traits, or follows certain activities, that we all need to consider as the vehicle for traveling the road.  Successful entrepreneurs are the ones that the researchers are following, and it is the human traits or activities of this group of people that are the means to travel the road.  Also, you don’t need to be a visionary or a Steve Jobs to travel the road.  Anyone can do it!  All it takes is harnessing the entrepreneur within you!

More to come.

Robert Frost’s – “The Road Not Taken”

Following along the same theme as the last post, I would like to present a very famous poem as well as a discussion of the intent of the poet in writing the piece.  This poem is one of Robert Frost’s most famous works.  It has been studied by experts since it was first published in 1920.

The analysis after the poem is an excerpt from my upcoming book.


The Road Not Taken (Robert Frost, 1920)

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim

Because it was grassy and wanted wear,

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I marked the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

This famous and beautifully written poem by Frost is not what it seems.  One would think that it is inspirational in its suggestion that selecting the road less traveled is the path to happiness.  However, upon closer reading, the traveler in this poem sees two roads that diverge into the woods and both roads look identical in wear.  In addition, the traveler mentions that, “with a sigh,” he/she will recall in the future the “one less traveled by” was chosen at the fork in the road. 

This poem is one of disappointment by the traveler at not being offered the opportunity to see the less traveled path.  The traveler knows that selecting the less traveled path will “make all the difference” and is necessary if happiness is to be achieved.  Unfortunately for this traveler, such a less traveled path is never encountered.

The fork in the road of this poem is not that exceptional; it is just one of many everyday decisions that all of us make in our lives.  No call to adventure was ever given or, if it was given, the traveler never recognized it.  The traveler simply remains in the everyday world without the opportunity for adventure.  The traveler knows this to be his fate and realizes that in the future he will sigh with disappointment at not being given the opportunity for a more complete life.  Vividly represented is the resignation to the future of an everyday existence.

Why are Entrepreneurs Entrepreneurs?

I have done a significant amount of research regarding the traits of entrepreneurs for my book.  Over the past several decades the academic researchers have determined that successful entrepreneurs shares certain behavior traits.  These traits are discussed in my book.

Photo of entrepreneur, Thomas Edison

What is amazing to me is that these researchers have determined the shared traits but don’t seem to answer the most basic of all questions regarding entrepreneurship: Why become an entrepreneur.  After all, if the stakes are so high regarding the financial risks, time spent, and impact on one’s self-esteem, you would think that this would be the fundamental question to answer.

In fact, I attended a launch of a new book on entrepreneurship and I asked the authors the same question.  Their answer was startling.  They said that they did not have the answer, but most likely the answer is that entrepreneurs do not fit into the corporate world and that is why they go off on their own.  Shocking answer!

What my research indicates is a very different reason and one that most people would wish they had if they knew the real reason.

The Vehicle for Reaching Happiness

Painting by Remington expressing courage

Life’s journey is full of risks.

However, these risks must be embraced if each of us is to move forward in life.

The best approach for preparing to meet these risks is to harness the entrepreneur within each of us.

Employing this gift generates IOUs throughout life.  Eventually, these IOUs are cashed in for happiness.

In the next post I will talk about the specific entrepreneurial characteristics needed to move forward towards happiness.

Roadmap to Happiness, Part I

happiness, well-being, fulfillment

Roadmap to Happiness, Part I

In my three previous posts I discussed how the philosophers, classicists, and psychologists present their own means of achieving happiness.

Unfortunately, each one by itself does not really get us to where we need to be.  Each takes us along the road for a while but then abruptly stops and we are abandoned by the side of the road.

However, if you add the three together, you get something very special – a roadmap that you can rely on to get you to where you need to go.

The modern psychologists give us the road to follow for the first half of the journey. The classicists continue the road, around the corner, for the second half of the journey, and the ancient philosophers give us the distance blue horizon that we all are looking for.  If you add the three together, you get a remarkable roadmap to the horizon – happiness.

But that is not all.  There is much more to come.

The Beginning of the Journey

Happiness, fulfillment, psychology

My book, to be published shortly, is all about the road to happiness, which we are all looking for.

The book gives each of us three vantage points for reaching happiness: 1) intellectual ideas, theories, and research from great thinkers, laying out the roadmap for all of us to use, 2) works from the masters of the fine arts that validate the roadmap of the thinkers and inspire all of us forward in life, and 3) the vehicle within each of us that is needed to travel the road with the map in hand and inspiration by our side.

In a previous post, I mentioned that we are all trying to get to the blue horizon.  This blue horizon is described nicely by the philosophers.

The modern psychologists, especially the positive psychologists, give us a roadmap, sort of.  Their road is very visible at the lower levels of human development but as we climb towards the horizon to the higher levels, where happiness resides, the psychologists’ models become less convincing and the road soon vanishes around the turn.  Nonetheless, the psychologists are helpful in the beginning of the journey.

More to come.