Recently, I walked through a little beach town in Southern California, looking for a cup of coffee and a place to catch up on some emails. I noticed that most people on this particular street where smiling and that this coffee place, that seemed very hip, had a nice energy. It seemed very comfortable. The young girl that took my order was smiling, laughing, and extremely nice. This made me pause… and instead of jumping into my emails, I decided to just observe.
Immediately, some things became obvious. Most of the people coming in seemed to visit this local coffee shop everyday. Most seemed to know each other. The barista knew what drinks they would order, and got them started when the people rolled in. The smiles were big. I thought, people are here because this is just a happy place. The smiles and laughter of the employees were contagious, and everyone was happy to be there.
As I continued to absorb this very positive-vibe environment, I started to wonder how many more happy places I would visit that day, on my normal day of business meetings, various company offices and yes, even more coffee shops in the afternoon. Then, not wanting to project, I couldn’t help breath a little heavy. The reality is, not much of the rest of my day would be taking place in happy places. How can that be? The economy is prospering again, we recently got an inch of rain in Southern California, and there are even two full moons this month.
The reality is, most people are not working and existing in a happy place. Shouldn’t every place be a happy place? Shouldn’t your work and home be a happy place? Absolutely! Is there a reason that they are not? Absolutely!
Could it be that we have forgotten that our coffee shop, our work place, our home, should all be happy places? Could we have forgotten how important the “happiness factor” is in our life, and how it feels to be happy?
Recently, I was telling a friend how a 3000 person office that I did consulting for still had 70s-style cubicles. They where even that same darkish, weird, orangey color. OMG! One day, while in this office, I went in search of a plant. There were none to be found. Yup, no plants to give off fresh oxygen either. Now, yes, this is the extreme. But what percentage of corporate America lives in this type of environment for 160 hours per month? I am not sure, but my feeling is that it is more than we care to admit.
Health and sustainability are really important components of what our innovation team is working on over the next 6 months of 2015. It is such an important point, and I would invite anyone reading this to join in, because happy people will be healthier. Happy people will not harm others or be mean. Happy people will not pollute. Happy people will be more productive and more successful. Happy people will make more happy people, and more happy people means we will not have the social challenges that we do today.
So what can we do to extend the “happiness factor” to everything around us? We start with ourselves. We have to remind ourselves what happiness feels like. We have to find one happy place—everyday—to experience that feeling of happiness. Where is your personal happy place?
Make one place in your home and your office happy with a plant, with a color that you love, or just start building out your happy places… use music, candles, smells, whatever it takes. What can you put in your car, right now, to make it happy? A stuffed animal you love, a picture or a color? Maybe a word or a card someone gave you. Get started today and watch your “happiness factor” start rising, and your smile getting brighter. Yes, we can do this. And we will, together! I’m looking forward to hearing any of your thoughts and suggestions.
Oh, I forgot about the coffee shop I started this blog with… anyway, I try to stop by the happy coffee shop everyday. It is incredible how the lines are growing and growing, and, for the most part, all day there are not many seats left to sit down on. But, people don’t mind waiting for their coffee or waiting for someone to get up. It’s now becoming part of the vibe of the place and it is all working. YEAH! Because they are suppling much more than caffeine, they are suppling a necessary dose of happiness.