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2005: Issue 6

The Pursuit of Happiness

The great teacher and philosopher, Aristotle, believed that happiness is our chief end and the highest good we humans can ever reach. And indeed, we are born happy. Like the biblical Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, when very young, we have no shame, regret no past, fear no future. We experience no guilt because we carry no duty. We awaken each day to discover a new idea, a new game to play, a new world to explore. Our lives, all innocence and forgiveness, have not yet become stories of conflict, loss and sadness. And so it goes for each of us.

What happens next is likewise found in everyone’s personal story, a story told over and over throughout recorded history, a story everyone knows – the story about how happiness is lost. The details of how and when we lose our innate happiness vary from person to person. That we lose this happiness, on the other hand, is universal. Adam and Eve “fell” from grace i.e. were booted from Paradise, when they ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. This story, like that of Prometheus stealing fire (illumination) from the Greek gods, describes the dawn of human self-awareness, human self-consciousness, and its terrible price. For once we have eaten from this, the most famous of all trees; we have knowledge of the difference between good and evil and are hereafter and for all time responsible for the consequences of our choices and actions.

In the Genesis account, God spells out quite clearly the consequences of eating from the Tree of Knowledge: “From now on, you’ll have to eke out your living from the soil. Nothing will come easily, not even childbirth. And one day, you will die.” Not only die, but unique among all creatures, only man can ponder and dread his inevitable demise. Not merely suffer and die, we know that we will one day suffer, and one day die. Such is the cost of self-knowledge: it robs us of our original innocence and happiness.

Observation:
This universal story of happiness lost is one of the themes that bond all humans together. What happens next, however, varies widely for each of us.

Assessment:
The quest to rediscover and reclaim the happiness we have lost becomes our mission. Yet, we find true happiness to be elusive. We are teased and tantalized by the prospect but are genuinely perplexed about our next steps. What to do? How do we proceed?

Prescription:

  1. Begin one step at a time, experiencing moments of happiness everyday.
  2. Be grateful and express gratitude.
  3. Identify a minimum of 5 things that give you momentary happiness. Write them down, and mentally commit to honor them everyday.
  4. Smile, even when no one is looking.
  5. Read upcoming editions of Tiberius Rx for more thoughts on how to find authentic happiness. 

ABOUT Extra Ordinary Living

Taking their learning from 20+ years in corporate healthcare, Janet Crawford and David Scheiderer, MD formed Extra Ordinary Living, Inc. in 2003 with an intention of helping physicians, other healthcare professionals and their organizations identify possibilities and opportunities, remove obstacles, and ultimately, optimize results.

Usually the first question we are asked, is why Tiberius? Our trivia friends usually can identify the references……yes, Tiberius was the 2nd Roman emperor, and yes, Tiberius is the middle name of James T. Kirk from Star Trek. One of our life mottos and business principles is “to learn from the past, look to the future but live in the present;” thus, Extra Ordinary Living.

As Executive and Professional Coaches, we are trained to listen, to observe and to customize our approach to our client's needs. We provide tools, support, structure and accountability to help our clients unleash their full potential and optimize results. There are so many reasons for physicians in particular to feel disenchanted with their chosen profession, their calling. Having a coach helps them get back in touch with their passion for being a healer.

The best thing about coaching is that it is all about you and what you want. We may share our opinions and give you advice, but it is up to you to pick and choose what you want to accept. We suspend judgment and will support you in your decisions.

As Professional Speakers, our messages are inspirational while imparting useful, practical and memorable information in a fun and dynamic way to help you in your pursuit of authentic happiness, and the enjoyment of deep life experiences.


UPCOMING EVENTS

April 8, 2005
David will be presenting The Pace that Kills to participants attending the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses annual conference. For more information, click here, www.ispn-psych.org.

April 11, 2005
David and Janet will be the headline presenters at the Virginia Medical Group Management Association’s spring conference. Come hear David speak on the HEART of Happiness and Janet on The HEART of Leadership. For more information, click here, www.vmgma.org.

April 13, 2005
David will present The Pace that Kills for staff of Danville-Pittsylvania County Community Services. For more information, click here, www.dpcs.org.




Tiberius Rx ... written by a physician for physicians and those who love them, work with them, or befriend them, and want to enjoy deep life experiences while more effectively pursuing a life of happiness.

But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads?

- Albert Camus


UPCOMING ISSUES

Issue 7   
What’s Your Story?
 
Issue 8    
Creature of Habit