Do your best. Then, don’t worry; be happy in my love.
– Meher Baba, Indian mystic and sage
From Indian mystic to the one and only Bobby McFerrin —
In every life we have some trouble
When you worry you make it double
Don’t worry, be happy……
The song is kinda fun, whimsical.
But as a philosophy of living … are you kidding me? Rubbish. This positive mental attitude stuff is so superficial. Don’t worry; be happy; and shazam all’s good?
Turns out … (sheepishly) … kinda yes!
Daniel Gilbert, a Harvard psychologist, conducts research on happiness. He’s learned that our human brain actively works to create happiness, despite our circumstances and the situations we find ourselves in.
It seems once we stop worrying/doubting/resisting and start accepting and committing; we work — subconsciously if not consciously — to be happy.
Now that clearly has change management implications … in fact, isn’t that really what change management is? Help people move past anger, worry, and fear into a new normal …
Of course it is. Not rocket science, I know. Pretty standard organization development fare.
But let’s consider this notion in terms of long-term life relationships.
Like a marriage.
Psychologist Gilbert was having a casual conversation about what he’s learned about our brains working to make us happy, and he was met with this response —
“So marriage isn’t something you do to signal your commitment and love; it’s something you do to create the commitment and the love.”
Now ponder that for a minute or two.
Gilbert did; he went home and proposed to the woman he’d been living with for 12 years.
Isn’t that interesting?
* * * * *
I recall a conversation I had with a co worker a long time ago, when I was engaged to be married. I remember him challenging me, “How can you possibly know that you will be happy being married to her for the rest of your life?”
I remember saying something along the lines of “It’s a leap of faith. I don’t know; is it even possible to know?”
It’s thirty-five years later.
Of course I knew! (grinning…)
No. I think Gilbert is mostly right.
And that mystic/sage. And Bobby McFerrin.
Don’t worry. Be happy.
Things will be okay, because it is in our nature to work to make them okay.
Isn’t that what a marriage — or any long-term relationship — is all about, really?
Happy Anniversary wife!
Be happy in my love.