Gingerbread cookie man in a hot cup of cappuccino

The Happiness Holidays

In every issue ofLive Happy, you’ll find fun and topical answers to our survey question. This month, we asked, “How will you make others happy during the holidays?” The top three answers are:Be present.Make, bring or share food!Do something unexpected.Be Present:“Being present instead of giving presents.” –Doris A.“It’s about taking time to be with family and friends. My Dad always said ‘Be kind.’ I try to remember that even more at this time of year.” –Shelby K.“By making others’ wishes come true.” –IvetteO.“By simply being present. I lost my father this year. But my family and I were with him at his bedside, so I know the power and importance of being there.” –Matt S.“Tell them you love them!” –Laurie K.Make, bring or share food:“Have everyone bring comfort food to a gathering. Something that has been made since before we were born. How else do you explain the gelatin stuff?” –Jeanette M.“Feed them!” –KristyeH.“Friends, books and food.” –Chantal G.“Cookies, brownies and anything sweet!” –Richard S.Do something unexpected:“Haul the kids to the grandparents, then leave them there." –Robert C.“I let my grandkids decorate my Christmas tree with whatever they want. Two years ago it was full of hair ribbons, last year it was sports items. They’re talking aboutLegosthis year.” –Jean E.“My kids, nieces and nephews dress up in vintage Christmas attire and go caroling. Where they sing and to whom they sing to is random. Everyone loves it.” –Irene S.“Greeting—or at least smiling at—people I pass on the street.” –Cathy B.“Random acts of Santa each day will keep me focused on others.” –Ellen H.Here are some of your answers that didn’t make it into our Premiere Issue.Making yourself happy is a good start. –Kyle K. Exude positivity and enthusiasm! Having the right people at your holiday party or dinner can make or break the mood of the entire event! – Sandra B. Cook a big meal - actually a couple! Make new traditions with your own family. Invest in good decorations and add to them every year. – Heather C.Sing Christmas songs! It makes me happy--the kids may not agree with me... –Heather H.S.Booze and presents. – Stephanie V.Holidays end up being about the only time our whole extended family gets together. I am lucky to have a family that will laugh until they snort out their nose, hug you until you pass out. We all listen, we all care, we all make happiness together. –Jeanette M.
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Gift tags with cirlces and names

Tag Time

Edible ForestUse school glue to outline and fill in a tree shape on a 2½-by-5 inch tag. Sprinkle dried rosemary over the glue, adjusting sprigs as needed. When completely dry (the glue will be clear), shake off excess. Use tiny dots of glue to secure star-shape pasta to the top of the tree and around it, as desired. Tie onto a gift with rustic twine.(bottom tag in image)Name DroppingUsing a 1½ inch scalloped paper punch, make enough circles from colorful cardstock to spell out each recipient’s name. Use small letter stamps and an inkpad to spell out the name. Let dry. Use a small hole punch to make two small circles on either side of each scallop, about ¼ inch in from the edge. Weave through coordinating baker’s twine and tie onto each gift to finish. (Main article image above.)Seasonal String ArtCut two identical rectangles from plain cardstock, approximately 1½-by-4 inches. Thread an embroidery needle (half the strands in a regular 6-strand piece of floss) or thick thread. Sew the shape of a tree, starting at one end, using the same top hole, and working your way across the rectangle. Evenly space your bottom stitches as best as you can. Secure a sequin on top and knot on the back of the paper to finish the tree. Secure both rectangles together using a simple or decorative embroidery stitch, as you like.Woven WonderlandCut the decorative part of an old holiday card into thin strips, approximately ¼ inch wide. Weave together until you have a size you like for a tag and trim as needed. Secure the back with bias tape and write your recipient’s name on it. (Or use double-sided tape to secure a small piece of paper on the back to write your message on.)Brilliant BlackboardPick up a package of chalkboard stickers in the scrapbooking aisle of your craft store and decorative paper labels just slightly larger than the stickers. Center the sticker inside the label and add festive twine to finish. Write on the tag with a white charcoal pencil for best results.Festoon with FeltCut little critters and seasonal shapes from felt as shown. Secure together with hot glue or a needle and thread. Hot glue the back of each felt shape onto a large paper clip and, when dry, add a paper tag (cut from a brown paper bag) onto the paper clip. Write out your to/from message as desired.Tree-mendousUsing a pencil eraser and a green inkpad, stamp the shape of a tree onto a 2½-by-5 inch tag. Glue on a sunflower seed, star anise or even sequins to finish the tree.You may be interested in moreHandmade Touches.Amy Palanjian is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Her work has been featured in Parents, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and Bon Appetit.
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Father and son with a box of items to donate

Teaching Kids to Give Back

Almost nine of 10 households donate to charity, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, and that’s especially apparent as the holidays approach. With giving this widespread, it makes sense to wonder whether sharing time, talent and treasure comes naturally.Since most of us don’t wake up one day and say, “Now I’ll be philanthropic,” how does generosity develop? We’re learning that the rewards of sharing begin long before someone writes a check.Empathy for a cause—you might call it our “generosity gene”—typically kicks in when a family is just starting out under one roof and may not have a significant sum to give. In fact, early charitable acts may not even involve money.Many can recall baking cookies for a fundraiser, volunteering or donating clothing, and sharing time is also sharing wealth. According to Independent Sector, a nonprofit advocacy group, 64.3 million Americans gave 15.2 billion hours of volunteer time in 2011, worth nearly $300 billion.Children can donate their time, too. Even preschoolers can empathize with the needs of others, but they may need help to realize they can make a difference. Nurture generosity with ordinary opportunities to share time and money as a family:Participate in a charity walk/runCoach youth teamsCook meals for othersBuy magazines or cookies from neighbor kidsContribute to your church, synagogue or other place of worshipGive away clothing or booksTake gifts to new parentsHost parties and events in your homeShovel snow for shut-insServe on committeesPhilanthropy evolves as families become aware of community issues, take an interest, show preferences and seek action.HERE’S HOW TO BEGIN GET TOGETHER.Hold periodic family meetings to discuss and come up with a plan of action. Whether a family consists of young children, teens or married couples, find ways to work toward common goals.Be "Hand's" On.Visit or work at shelters, events or community projects. Learn how giving affects the giver and the receiver.Make a Plan.Discuss what to save, spend and give. Knowing why to give and when is as important as knowing how much.Set Priorities.Learn to maximize the impact of your gifts. A good resource is, which rates charities based on financial health, accountability and transparency.Encourage and Model Good Spending, Saving and Investing Habits.Families need assets in order to give. In short, model a spirit of giving. It’s never too late to leave children a legacy of generosity.
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Handmade Gift Tag

Handmade Touches

Add a little bit of yourself to your holiday packages. Handmade gift tag instructions:1. No-Sew SweetnessGather two coordinating cotton fabrics, a sheet of fusible adhesive and pinking shears. Choose a base fabric and use the pinking shears to cut two identical rectangles 1½-by-2 inches. Cut a piece of fusible adhesive to the same size and sandwich it between the two fabric rectangles according to the package directions. Cut one slightly smaller rectangle from the accent fabric and the fusible adhesive using pinking shears. Center and adhere to the base fabric according to package directions. Write the recipient’s name on a small piece of cotton tape using a fine-point Sharpie, and position on the bottom center of the accent fabric. Punch two holes in the top of the tag and tie a yarn bow.2. Sparkling CirclesUse a regular-mouth canning jar lid to trace three circles on glitter paper and two on coordinating cardstock. Cut out using pinking shears. Write a note on the cardstock pages, and then layer as follows: glitter paper, cardstock, glitter paper, cardstock, glitter paper. Punch a hole in the top center of all circles and secure together with a small brad. Finish by placing letter stickers for the initials of the recipient on the front.3. Merry MacraméCut a rectangle of cardboard to the size that will work with your gift. (Ours is approximately 2½-by-4 inches.) Use a small hole-punch to make 4 holes, spaced evenly along both short sides. Cut 8 pieces of kitchen twine to the approximate length of your arms when held straight out to the sides. Fold each piece of twine in half and secure each to a punched hole with a knot. Working on one side at a time, knot one piece of twine from one hole to one piece of twine from the hole next to it, approximately ½ inch from the first row of knots, to make three knots across the second row. To make the third row of two knots, gather the four pieces of twine from the left side and knot ½ inch from the previous row. Repeat with the four right pieces. Finish by knotting all pieces together ½ inch from the previous row. Repeat on the other side.4. Scrap HappyUsing a purchased manila tag as your guide, trace the shape on a pretty page from a magazine. Cut a triangle out of the bottom and secure to the tag with twine. Write your note under the pretty paper.5. Pretty Little PouchCut a 6-by-10-inch rectangle of fabric and fold in half lengthwise. Secure both long ends together using permanent hemming tape. Insert a 4-by-4 family photo printed from Printstagramor a gift card of your choosing. Trim taped sides and the top with pinking shears, then fold over the top fabric and secure with a small clothespin. Write the recipient’s name onto a piece of cotton or Washi tape and secure to the pouch under the clothespin.Amy Palanjian is a freelance writer from Des Moines, Iowa. Her work has been featured in Parents, HGTV Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens and Bon Appetit.
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Mother and Daughters Picking up Trash

Volunteer Match

It’s been proven that helping others makes you a happier person. And positive psychologists, behavioral economists and the Dalai Lama all agree that selfless acts can improve your well-being. More studies are beginning to show that kindness and generosity may even have an impact on human progress. A quote John F. Kennedy used often was “a rising tide lifts all boats.” It was generally associated with the economy, but along the same vein, when society as a whole becomes more benevolent—whether from giving or receiving—we can all benefit and grow. Volunteering is a great way to improve the quality of life in our society. Since there will always be people in need, the opportunities to help seem boundless. Whether it’s building a house for the less fortunate or being an uplifting influence in a young person’s life, volunteering can give you that positive feeling you may be searching for, and in turn, spreading that positivity to someone else. Volunteer matching websites are taking the legwork out of searching for the right cause and making it easier for people to find a volunteer opportunity more aligned with their interests. Here are a few websites where you can go to make a difference in the world: Volunteermatch is one of the best ways to connect to a cause, with millions of visitors and more than 95,000 participating organizations. Currently there are more than 80,000 opportunities to find the right match for you. The process is easy: Just enter your location and the cause you care about (or you can browse until you find something that is right for you). The HandsOn Network has one of the largest networks of local volunteer centers worldwide. They seem to attract a more skills-based volunteer with a focus on using their time and talent to create change in their communities. They even have a Volunteer Time Calculator so you can calculate how valuable your time contribution is in dollars and cents. is a website run by Action Without Borders, and is used as a virtual bulletin board for nonprofits and volunteers to post and seek out opportunities. Their Volunteer Resource Center has everything you need to know about being a volunteer. UniversalGiving is a nonprofit web-based marketplace that gives people an opportunity to donate money or volunteer to organizations all over the world. The website allows you to look for causes that need volunteers, or if you just want to help monetarily, you can fund an existing cause. You can even create your own personal fundraising page. UniversalGiving says all projects are vetted and 100% goes to the cause.
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Warrick Dunn talking in front of flags

A Perfect Day

My hero, John Wooden, once famously remarked: “You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”Recently, I got to witness a perfect day.I was in Topeka, Kansas, visiting the insurance-marketing company Advisors Excel. It was my third time speaking for the company at its headquarters, and I always enjoy my visits to the city. This time, however, they had a surprise in store for me.After the speech, company executives informed me that they had been inspired by the story I had shared previously of retired NFL running back Warrick Dunn and his incredible journey of healing and generosity.You see, Warrick Dunn grew up as the oldest of six children under the care of their mother, Betty Smothers—a dedicated single mother and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, police officer. Money was always tight, so the family often moved from house to house, trying to save on rent while dreaming of one day buying a home of their own that they would never have to leave. But Betty never lived to see that dream realized. On January 7, 1993, Corporal Smothers was shot and killed in a botched robbery attempt at a bank, and 18-year-old Warrick’s world collapsed.Despite his incredible performance on the field in college, his heart was breaking as he worked to keep his grades high and to step up as the man of the house as he raised his siblings from afar, with the help of his grandmother. The men accused of murdering his mother were convicted and sent to death row, but Warrick still struggled with how to move past the tragedy. Through it all, Betty Smother’s words kept ringing in her oldest son’s ears: “In life, you’re going to face difficulties, but you have a choice. You can either use them to make you bitter, or to make you better. Choose to be better.”In his very first year in the NFL, Warrick decided to he wanted to invest his salary in making the dream of home ownership come true for hard-working single parents—men and women just like his mother. In this way, the Homes for the Holidays program began. Through his foundation, Warrick Dunn surprises a family by providing the down payment, all the furnishings, and a fully stocked pantry, cabinets and lawn-care shed for single parents who have taken financial management classes and invested sweat equity with organizations like Habitat for Humanity. He does it in honor of his mother’s memory.As I stood on that stage in Topeka, I could see how the legacy of Betty Smothers’ words to her children had not only prompted them to choose being better over being bitter, but now she was inspiring others, too. After hearing me talk about Warrick’s incredible story, the employees at Advisors Excel had decided to invest in their own community by helping to build and outfit a home for a single mother of four who works as a home healthcare aid. And they had arranged it so that I would be there when she was handed the keys to her family’s new home—that very morning.As we drove to the site, I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn’t even text Warrick to tell him about the incredible act that his efforts inspired. It turned out, I didn’t need to: When we arrived at the house, Warrick Dunn was waiting there for me with a huge grin on his face! As his foundation looked to expand into more cities, Topeka was on the list, and together, they partnered with the folks at Advisors Excel to make the first house happen.But as incredible as the surprise was for me, it was nothing compared to the surprise of the family when they arrived. They had no idea that their house was being furnished and stocked, and the down payment covered, by a local company and a national sports hero.I was overwhelmed as we presented the mother with her key, and she was overwhelmed as the reality of homeownership became real. “Is this my new address?” she asked with a smile and tears in her eyes. But I think the most telling moment of the whole day was when one of her sons, upon opening the pantry and cheering at the supply of macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, pasta, and other non-perishables inside, remarked: “You know, they’re doing a food drive at the shelter. Now we have stuff we can take!”This morning, 348 children woke up in their own home—with a sense of permanence, security and pride—because of this foundation. In fact, the University of South Florida partnered with the Warrick Dunn Foundation to examine just what kind of far-reaching impact his work might have on the children, and the results were incredible. Two-thirds of the parents were able to pay for more extracurricular activities for their children, more than half reported an increase in respect from their children, 70% reported an increase in their children’s educational performance, and 76% reported a sense of hope for better futures for their children—all after the family took possession of their new home.As I had the privilege to witness in Topeka, the spirit of giving that Warrick Dunn has embraced through his grief has not only changed the lives of the families he has helped, but it has also inspired countless other men and women—and children, too—to pay it forward and to use what they have to bring hope to someone else.Yes, I witnessed a perfect day, indeed.
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Young people celebrating together at Christmas

25 Gifts of Happiness

As holiday gift-giving approaches, we hope you’ll join us in giving the gift of happiness. A gift of one’s own time, talent or regard, a gift from the heart (instead of the pocketbook), or a gift that gives back creates lasting happiness for both you and your loved ones. To get started, the Live Happy team shares this—our list of 25 gifts of happiness:1. Give your family the gift of a best friend–with four paws. (Happiness truly can be a warm puppy orkitten.)2. Give the gift of charity to your children. Ask them to choose toys and clothing that they’ve outgrown and give them to a children’s charity, explaining that they have so much and others don’t have enough.3. Invite a friend, neighbor or coworker who would be spending a holiday alone to your holidaydinner.4. Gift from your garden or the local fresh market. Making jam from the season’s produce is its own reward; giving it to others doubles the bounty.5. Pay someone a compliment.6. Use your talents to do or make something special: Teach a friend yoga, a grandma how to tweet. Make a one-of-a-kind book of photos for your son, a collage of a friend’s selfies.7. Give a coupon book of favors that you’ll deliver during the year. For a husband, a car wash, his favorite pie and an evening with his buddies. For a friend, time with you, running Saturday errands and a latte at the office.8. Just be there. Make the effort to visit relatives, especially your grandparents. All they need is you!9. Give together-gifts. Meals you’ll cook together, sunrises you’ll get up to see together, books you’ll read before bedtime together.10. Give the gift of talent. If you can sew—offer to sew on buttons, make new pillow covers. If you can paint—offer to paint a room for a friend. If you know IT, clean up your friend’s computer.11. Be an angel investor. Help fund a small loan for someone who is building or growing a business—it will improve lives. Kivais a micro-finance website where your contribution gives again and again. Once a loan is repaid, your dollars can be lent again.12. Give an experience off someone’s bucket list. You’ve always wanted to skydive, right?13. Give an experience for the future. Planning a trip together, whether it’s to the café round the corner or a more ambitious weekend in the mountains, means you’re giving your time and attention.14. Plan an unplugged weekend. No cells, no TV, no computer. Just each other.15. Give an experience in the moment. Call faraway friends with a surprise serenade of holiday carols.16. Connect the dots. For example, give a friend a lasting memory of her beloved mother or father. If the mother loved flowers, give a gift of flowers to your friend.17. Write an accomplishment list for your spouse (or child!). Read it to him or her. There’s nothing like knowing your special someone knows just how special you are!18. For yourself: Pay attention to the moments that bring you the most joy for a week. As they happen, write them down. Commit to having more of those kinds of times in days ahead.19. Be a workout buddy. Sign up for an exercise class together and hold each other accountable to attend. Support someone who has a hard time getting active. Be ready with a quick SOS pep talk.20. Adopt a relative at a VA hospital or retirement home for theholidays.21. Leave hugs. Before you say goodbye to family and friends, give big hugs. Everyone needs to stock up on hugs!22. Start the day with a positive thought—pass it along.23. Bring the show. Homegrown entertainment is appreciated by all. Encourage your kids to sing, play instruments, or put on a play at family and friends’ gatherings. No doubt others will join in.24. See someone who needs help? Be the one to offer it.25. Look within yourself for happiness. It’s there waiting to be discovered!
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Book Image of Flow

Happiness Library: Flow

2008 Harper Perennial Modern Classics This classic text by one of the pioneers of positive psychology defines the term “flow” and explores whether we can slip into this blissful state of consciousness at will, or at least more often. By its very nature, flow is difficult to adequately describe, yet many of us have experienced it. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ph.D., tells us that flow is an ecstatic state of mind, achieved when one is joyfully absorbed in a task. Often artists and other creative workers are able to enter flow, but almost any task, hobby or other pastime can inspire it. By understanding flow better, we can learn to beckon it more often. Prospective readers should know that Flowis not a casual read. Its 240 pages require concentration, but if you are able to enter the flow state more often, the commitment is worth it.—
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Significance: What Creates Happiness

Last fall, I attended a gathering of entrepreneurs, artists, intellectuals, scholars and other movers and shakers from the United States and Canada. The gathering was private if not top secret, and I’m not at liberty to say who was hosting it or who was there. (I attended not because of my own moving or shaking, but through the largesse of a friend who works in national politics.) The attendee list was intriguing in its diversity—a variety consisting not so much of class or race, but of occupation. At each meal, fashion models would break bread with politicos, and Oscar-nominated filmmakers would share coffee with quantum physicists. Multimillionaires would chat with social justice pioneers who live among the extreme poor, and scribblers like me would talk to technologists who are shaping the future of media and business. What held this disparate group together? Two things: Nearly everyone in attendance had achieved some measure of success—often a staggering measure—and each adhered to a common faith. Outsiders looking in would not have seen the gathering as religious in nature—I didn’t see a Bible all weekend or hear much prayer—but if they listened to enough conversations, they would have realized that everyone seemed to have arrived with a certain warning in mind, one delivered by a certain itinerant Middle Eastern prophet 2,000 years ago:What good is it to gain the whole world and lose your soul? That’s what motivated this discreet gathering—the danger of soul forfeiture. All of these high-flying folks had gone out into the world and made stuff—music, films, clothing lines, businesses, ads, schools and in several cases, gobs of money. Most of them weren’t done making stuff, but they were far enough along to realize that unless their stuff served some greater purpose, it was just, well, stuff. As we gathered in groups, I found that the liveliest conversations were the ones filled with practical ideas for serving and saving the world. From ambitious plans to provide clean water to developing nations to homegrown small businesses that encouraged the rich to buy from the poor, these folks were creating world-changing mechanisms. They were determined to spend their lives doing lots and lots of good. Some of them regarded their careers as side projects. I learned that asking, “What do you do?” would ensure robotic responses, while asking, “What do you want to do for the world?” inspired precise, energetic discourse about the significant work being done on behalf of people and places in need.I’d never experienced anything quite like it—a collection of people with enviable careers and incomes who got together to talk about how to avoid achieving everything you want in life only to realize that you have nothing you need. Success Without Soul—that was their primary fear, and the reason they were dreaming up powerful and practical ideas for renewing the world. Success Without Soul is a common condition. An entire tabloid entertainment industry depends on it—from Charlie Sheen to Tiger Woods, Americans are familiar with characters who self-destruct, at least for a season, on the other side of fame and glory. And the problem is not unique to our era. The most notorious court case of the 19th century was the adultery trial of Henry Ward Beecher, a celebrity preacher in New York City who risked everything for a dalliance with a friend’s wife. Americans have always been captivated with the scandals of the successful. But at the gathering I attended last fall, I saw how our culture is rethinking success. We are not questioning the basic pursuit of success—dreaming of a better future will remain a core American instinct—but we are asking anew what success isfor. How can we be successful in ways that do no harm to ourselves or others? How can we make our success matter not just for us and our families, but for the world? Since Steve Jobs, the founder of Apple Inc., died in October 2011, much of the conversation about his legacy has concentrated on how his products reshaped commerce and culture. But commentators have also focused to a surprising degree on the quality of his personal life and character, which were viewed dimly in Walter Isaacson’s authoritative biography published in the wake of Jobs’ death. Jobs authorized the biography in part so his kids could get to know him—Apple’s success had so entirely consumed Jobs’ life that he needed a writer to introduce himself to his children. Eric Karjaluoto, the prominent designer and founder of the digital agency smashLAB, has written that the Jobs biography inspired him to stopworking evenings and weekends: “I admire Steve for the mountains he climbed. At the same time, I wonder if he missed the whole point, becoming the John Henry of our time. He won the race, but at what cost?” (John Henry, in case you don’t know, was a 19th century railroad steel-driver whose strength was legendary. He and his crew broke through miles of rock during construction of American railways. The story has it that when the railroad company introduced a steam-powered hammer, Henry challenged it to a race. He won, but then died on the spot with his hammer in his hand.) People like Karjaluoto are not attempting simply to reduce their workload. They’re trying to avoid Success Without Soul. In recent years, many of the nation’s largest sports radio hosts—Mike Greenberg of ESPN, Jim Rome of Clear Channel—have begun to leave room in their interviews with top athletes for the players to pitch their causes. Legendary quarterback and CBS football analyst Boomer Esiason may take to the airwaves to chat about the NFL season, but he’s also determined to use his clout to encourage fans to support his foundation that fights cystic fibrosis. He wants his success to translate into something significant for the world outside football. Other celebrities and high-wealth individuals are finding ways to make their success soulful away from the limelight. Justin Mayo is the founder of Red Eye Inc., a nonprofit that connects cultural creatives with opportunities to serve others. When most nonprofits look at successful culture makers—actors, musicians, dancers and artists of all kind—they see money and a platform. They see the funds required to make a mission work, and they see a big, popular, public platform they can climb onto to spread their own message.While much good may come from relationships between celebrities and nonprofits, Mayo’s model is different. First, he likes to befriend successful individuals, especially young, up-and-coming creatives, with no motive beyond friendship. If these individuals express a desire to give of their wealth or time, Mayo offers what he calls “private humanitarian settings”—he helps them find ways to give that don’t attract public attention to their giving. Mayo’s clients don’t serve his pet causes, and they aren’t celebrated for their generosity. The giving is an end in itself. That kind of giving, says Mayo, seems to heal these givers—to show them that they have a profound role to play in a world with limitless need. Mayo says he grew up with a sharp sense of how isolating success can be because of his surname—he hails from the Mayos of Mayo Clinic fame. “People who never talked to me would suddenly act as if we were friends when we were at an event where my mom was speaking,” he recalls. People were affectionate toward him because they wanted access to the Mayos, not to Justin. He says that gave him a sliver of insight into what it must be like for people of notoriety, especially successful culture creators and families of influence. Red Eye started in Hollywood but now has chapters in New York City, London, Paris and Sydney. When I spoke with Mayo, he was at John F. Kennedy Airport waiting for a flight to Saudi Arabia, where he would speak at an event hosted by a Saudi Arabian princess. The week before, he had attended a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., followed by 30 hours in Los Angeles—just long enough to host Skid Row Karaoke, a benefit where models, musicians and actors spent part of their weekend with the homeless, and to throw a big Super Bowl party. That combination of events captures the scattershot benevolence at the heart of the Red Eye mission—it requires sleeplessness on the part of Mayo and his team (thus “red eye”), and it combines posh, cozy social events with unusual humanitarian efforts. For Mayo, the key to soulful success is being outwardly focused. He is skeptical of today’s spirituality and self-help practices that focus only on finding inner peace and self-renewal. “We believe that you won’t be truly happy until you’re living for something greater than yourself,” he says. Of course, the threat of soulless success is not unique to the very famous or very young and talented. Brian Lockhart, the founder and chief investment officer at Colorado-based Peak Capital Management, manages financial portfolios for hundreds of high-wealth individuals. He works with people who are beyond what he calls “the accumulation phase” and are looking to protect and grow their wealth. Lockhart says that his clients often run into the same problem: “People who succeed tend to be exceptional at some niche,” he says. “But once they’ve met that challenge and they transition from trying to be the best to defending what they’ve earned, they experience a lot of frustration.” Successful people are often well-built for identifying and embracing a challenge in the marketplace, but less prepared for how to handle life once the challenge has been met. And the crisis they experience is not simply emotional or psychological, but physical. “Early in retirement,” says Lockhart, “many people get diagnosed with problems they’ve never had before. When people are finished with something that gave them significance, we see physiologically a deterioration in health that occurs almost immediately.”Lockhart believes the secret to a healthy retirement is to find significance outside of whatever it is that has made you successful. He cites the example of Thomas Monaghan, founder of Domino’s Pizza. In 1960, Monaghan and his brother, James, bought a tiny pizza joint named DomiNick’s for $500, most of it borrowed. James soon left the business behind, leaving Thomas as the sole owner. Monaghan opened his first franchise in 1967, and over the next decade, experienced rapid growth. The chain had 200 stores in 1978, and soon began to expand into Canada and beyond. By the mid-1990s, Domino’s was a worldwide pizza brand, and Thomas Monaghan was one of the wealthiest men alive. Monaghan eventually sold his company to Bain Capital for $1billion. By then, however, he had long been focused on giving away his fortune. Years earlier, he had lived the life of a self-made king—he owned a Gulfstream, a helicopter and a renowned collection of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture in addition to being principal owner of the Detroit Tigers. In the early 1990s, Monaghan read an essay by C.S. Lewis on the problem of pride and was inspired to give away his possessions. Monaghan has been seen as a polarizing philanthropist because he has spent much of his fortune on conservative Catholic causes, but he has also donated much of his wealth to the poor in Central and South America. In 2010, he joined The Giving Pledge, a charity drive by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to inspire American billionaires to give away the majority of their wealth. Lockhart sees Monaghan as a model of how to transition from success to significance. “His transition was easy because he found significance in what he was trying to do to help people in Latin America. The key to making that transition is to findsomething,” says Lockhart, that can help you avoid Success Without Soul. So how do you find thatsomething? Just as Monaghan had his conscience pricked by C.S. Lewis and Red Eye’s friends find inspiration in Justin Mayo, you may need to find someone to help you discover your path to significance within success. The private gathering I attended last fall is an event that grew from a group of friends who got together once a year to ask each other hard questions about the purpose of their lives. Your friends, if they know you well, may already know what you need to do. If you don’t have a soul-saving companion close at hand, try some simple experiments—call your local food pantry or soup kitchen and ask what their most pressing need is, or read the daily paper for a couple of weeks with an eye toward local, national and global crises that need your help. And most importantly, listen to yourself. Chances are if you think about it for a few minutes, you’ll find that you already know how to avoid soulless success. You just need to say “yes” to that nudge that’s been inside you all along. With that “yes,” you just may experience the happiness you always knew was on the other side of success. Patton Dodd is the managing editor of Patheos and the author ofThe Tebow Mystique: The Faith and Fans of Football’s Most Polarizing Player.
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Book Image of Flourish

Happiness Library: Flourish

March 2013 Atria Paperback You don’t have to get very far in Flourishto glimpse the practical applications of positive psychology. Author Martin Seligman, Ph.D., writes on page 20: “We scientists have found that doing a kindness produces the single most reliable momentary increase in well-being of any exercise we have tested.” Seligman’s latest book explores how we can increase feelings of well-being and why it’s vital to do so. Reading this book is a good way to catch up on important milestones in the positive psychology movement like “post-traumatic growth” research on soldiers. Martin, who introduced the world to positive psychology as president of the American Psychological Association in 1998, is required reading for those who follow this field.
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