Gini Dietrich

Is Happiness the Same As Being Dumb?

By: Gini Dietrich | March 23, 2011 | 

Are happy people dumb?

I just read that phrase in a Harvard Business Review blog and was offended. Because I’m happy. And I’m not dumb. But, of course, it enticed me to read on.

The blogger, Shawn Achor, says,

These sentiments are not uncommon. I believe we have a cultural assumption that happy people are anti-intellectual, delusional, or shallow. We’ve all heard the saying that “ignorance is bliss.” But, in truth, society has a fundamental ignorance about bliss.

Here’s part of the problem. Everyone knows someone who is brilliant and unhappy. And everyone knows someone who is successful and not happy.

Sure. But do they go hand-in-hand? We all know money doesn’t buy happiness. Does this mean, now, that intellect doesn’t mean happiness, either?

My Vistage Chair has a theory: People are put on this earth to have relationships with children (not necessarily your own, or maybe he just tells me that to make me feel better), to have a relationship with some sort of higher being that drives your values and beliefs, and to live your passions. If you have all three, you will be happy.

Achor’s premise is similar. And no, you don’t have to be dumb.

Happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy. Only 25% of your job successes are predicted based upon intelligence and technical skills, though we spend most of our education and most companies hire based upon this category.

The “silent 75%” of long-term job success is based upon your ability to positively adapt to the world: Optimism, social support creation, and viewing stress as a challenge instead of as a threat.

So the question I leave you today is this: What are you doing every day to increase your “silent 75%”? Let’s hear it!

P.S. Erica Allison, did you see “viewing stress as a challenge instead of a threat”? Aren’t you glad you gave up stress for Lent??

* Thanks to 909Sickle for the image

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • KenMueller

    I’d like to think of myself as incredibly happy and at least moderately smart (but you can feel free to call me brilliant, and I think you may have on either Twitter or Facebook on at least one occasion. Feel free to do it again…)

    A lot of it comes down to how you measure: a) happiness, b) smarts, c) success.

    I once met with a “coach/consultant” at the insistence of a mutual friend. I’m still not exactly sure what this particular “coach” or whatever he is, does for a living. He asked me: “What’s your business plan? What are your goals?” My response to him was somewhere along the lines of “I just want to enjoy what I do, make a difference in peoples lives, and be able to provide for my family along the way.” I then ended with “And I’m not here to make a million dollars.”

    He looked aghast at me and his response? “Well then you’ll never be successful!” End of conversation.

    Guess what. A year or so later, I happen to think I’m successful. I’m happier than I’ve ever been, I’m doing what I love, and I’m nowhere near to making a million dollars. And people call on me and hire me because, as they tell me, they like that I know what I’m doing, I love what I’m doing, and I’m…..”smart”.

    For me, it’s all about perspective. I’ve written about this a few times, but how do we view “work”? The word “work” itself connotes drudgery. Drives me nuts when people spend their days bemoaning the arrival of Monday and eying the weekend. I try to view what I do more as a “vocation” or “calling”. Just that little change in terminology and perspective can make a LOT of difference.

  • So being like playdough or silly putty = good thing- I’m all set.

  • ginidietrich

    @faybiz LOL! I would say you’re definitely all set!

  • Jensenborger6

    I think the smartest people realize you shouldn’t take life too seriously.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller That was a very hard lesson for me to learn early on in the growth of my business. i thought lots of employees and big top-line numbers meant success. And it sure does present the perception of success. But we weren’t making any money; in fact, we were going into debt just to make payroll. Having all those people around wasn’t generating profits, but it was creating HR headaches. Now that I’ve figured out what my success means (yes, I do want to make a gazillion dollars) and how to get there strategically and methodically, I’m MUCH happier. There is a very important lesson in there, my brilliant friend!

  • ginidietrich

    @Jensenborger6 But does that make them happy?

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich Yesss! you called me brilliant. and friend (which, by the way is far more important). And while I said I don’t want to make a million dollars, I do want people in my life who make a gazillion dollars…and consider me their friend….and want to share…..

  • ” The “silent 75%” of long-term job success is based upon your ability to positively adapt to the world”

    What!?! Does that mean we’re not supposed to try and change the world! O this is about acceptance, mark of maturity. As I Tweeted to you when I didn’t know what you and Joey were talking about, someone asked me once if I thought I would worry less if I were less intelligent. I remember hearing once that intelligent people worry more. I know my husband, very intelligent, watches the news (so I don’t have to) and he does all the worrying for both of us, until he shares 😮

    What am I doing to increase my silent 75%? Why Life,forinstance, of course! As our famous comedian, Red Green used to say, “we’re all in this together!”

  • I’m not dumb, just happy 🙂

    How do you define happy?

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller LOL! I’ll think about sharing.

  • ginidietrich

    @johnfalchetto That’s because YOU are living the dream!

  • ginidietrich

    @Lori Oh crap. Is that why I worry so much?! You come across as a very happy person. You’re always optimistic and upbeat. I’d say you ARE changing the world.

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich think about it? what could you possibly do with a gazillion dollars? Look at it this way: your post is about happiness. Don’t you want me to be happy? And wouldn’t sharing make YOU happy? It’s a win-win! I’m only suggesting this for YOU and YOUR happiness, Gini. This is not about me and being selfish…

  • KGoerlich

    @KenMueller I greatly value your words, Ken and the words of the author of this blog. I recently gave up my potentially “High Paying” career to chase my passions. While going after what I love, I realized it is no longer about the money. I just want to make enough to continue to live in NYC and most of all, give to others what others have given to me. I came to NYC to be a fashion designer, but I’m starting to think I will leave here as a yoga teacher instead.

    When someone constantly complains to me about hating their job and that their company needs to pay more or treat them better, I just tell them that it is no one’s fault but their own. They choose to continue to do what they are doing and where they are doing it. You need to create your own happiness in your career and can’t expect your employer to do it for you.

    PS Ken, I’ve always admired your passion and view you as a very successful person.

  • KenMueller

    @KGoerlich why thank you, Kate! Sounds like a rather expensive Yoga education!

  • KGoerlich

    @KenMueller It has been worth every penny!

  • bdorman264

    Hell yeah, I’m as happy as they come and about as deep as a sheet of paper; I sure do sleep good at night too…………..w/ a smile.

    I avoid unhappy people or at least try to brighten their day. Am I being naive by being too optimistic; am I viewed as being a simpleton………….that’s a rhetorical question………don’t answer………..

    I think some (too many) people take themselves way too seriously. Because of this maybe people think of them as serious-minded, getting down to business intelligent types. I can be as serious as I need to be but it’s my nature to find something humorous even in situations that don’t necessarily call for humor. Yes, my wife thinks I’m goofy at times but I’m ok with it; I mean it is what it is, right?

    I think perception is if you are silly and joking you are not a serious intellect. I might not be the sharpest tack in the box but I can hold my own on many topics (sports, women, sports, football…..) and whereas I don’t have to be the expert I can at least make conversation.

    Yes, as you can see I’m pretty silly (funny in my own mind) but I think people think of me as intelligent at least in a common sense kind of way (don’t ask my wife…..). Ultimately, what comes out of your mouth will be the determinant of your intelligence level.

  • ginidietrich

    @KGoerlich @KenMueller I LOVE this Kate! You’ve learned what takes some people a lifetime (and then some) to learn. I’m impressed!

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller You make a good case…

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich @KGoerlich This is where I proudly say that Kate is a friend of mine, and my personal seamstress. The woman who took the no-longer wearable moosepants and converted them into a moose dog! (yeah, try to figure that one out!)

  • autumnmthompson

    Considering you spend the majority of your life working, you have to adapt to make yourself happy. I’ve worked in some interesting places. Everyone was miserable. Doing what they hated. This bleeds into your personal life whether you want it to or not putting more stress on the situation. Do what makes you happy and the rest will fall into place! Happiness is a state of mind.

  • KGoerlich

    @ginidietrich @KenMueller Still learning! It has been a long hard road but I’m grateful for the hard times. They are what pushed me to learn. And yes, my greatest design project was certainly the moosepants dog project!

  • KaryD

    As an introverted pessimist, I’ll admit…I don’t always get “happy people.” Not that I’d go so far as to say they are dumb, but have thought, “Seriously. How can you be THAT happy ALL the time? What are you ignoring?”

    The reality is probably that I’m jealous of the happy people. And, don’t get me wrong…I have happy. And, I’ll admit that during times when I try to “think positively” well, I feel most positive and…happy. Life really is what you make of it. But, I do believe it’s much easier for some. I love what your Vistage Chair said about children. How inspiring. This post is a good reminder to pay attention to that silent 75% – my kids, my attitude, and what it is that I’m going to fill this life of mine with.

  • @ginidietrich My avatar is happy – it’s because I’m in the bosom of my family (husband to my right, son to my left, daughter farther right).

    Your avatar does not suggest worry my dear! But I think you are very intelligent! (I should know, apparently I am too! LOL)

  • MARLdblE

    Lol! First of all hats of to the person who gave up stress for Lent. I opted for giving up sugar…and I thought that was a tall order.

    Secondly, I had the same exact reaction you did to that statement and was very taken with the assertion that “Happiness is the single greatest competitive advantage in the modern economy.”

    I’ve never thought about it that way, but I couldn’t agree with the idea more. Ultimately, it’s all about mindset and perspective. It shapes the way you see the world and the way the world see you.

  • Narciso17

    Great Piece, Gini. It Seems to Me That People Get Stuck on the 80’s ‘Don’t Worry Be Happy’ Mantra From Bobby McFerrin….Unfortunately, This Great Song Gets Associated with the Foolhardiness of the Decade (i.e. Not Being Responsible with Money, Health, Etc.)…And, It Seems to Me, That It May Have Trickled Over to Today…Rightfully So:

    – You’ve Got to Be Responsible

    – You Have to Be Smart

    – You Have to Be Quick & Nimble

    BUT, That Should *Never* Get in the Way of Your Happiness. Cause, at the End of the Day, Unless You’re Saving the World, What You’re Doing Should Never Interfere w/Your Happiness. You Should Make Some Room to

    * Smile

    * Laugh

    * Just Shut Up and Dance

    And Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously…Having That Kind of ‘Seriousness’ Impedes With your Intelligence…Making You More ‘Dumb’ In My Opinion.

    So, Three Cheers for the Happy! And Three More for Paying the ‘Happy’ Forward!

    Narciso Tovar

    Big Noise Communications


  • jgwhitt

    What a refreshing post! I like what your Vistage chair said, although I would add one element into the mix – serving others. I also think the order is important. I find I am more happy when I focus on the first two elements rather than primarily focusing on following my passions – for example. I think happy people are less selfish and more willing to give and contribute time, means, talents, etc. Your question about the silent 75% is a great one. It prompts me to want to work on viewing stress as a challenge rather than a threat. When I have done that in my professional life even going so far as having a “bring it on” attitude, I truly have been happier. Thanks again!

  • jgwhitt

    I agree – we all need to make some room to shut up and dance ;)! Thanks for this comment. @Narciso17 narciso17

  • Gini… I love that quote about the silent 75%. Stealing it! Okay, I’ll attribute. 🙂

    Anyway, I’m a half-full guy by nature, but when I get stressed I try to remind myself that as passionate as I am about my job, other things are more important. My wonderful wife, our first baby on the way, these are things that give me comfort. Knowing they’re in my corner makes all the difference.

    –Tony Gnau

  • Maybe you don’t have to be dumb, but I want to put in a plug for asking dumb questions. That is, really simple, “What s really going on here?” kinds of questions. That’s my 75% – wait, I think it takes more of my life than that ….

    (BTW, giving up stress for Lent implies that you enjoy stress. Just a thought. 🙂 )

  • jgwhitt

    Very true about seeing what you do as a “vocation” or “calling.” I too do not get people who are constantly dreaming of their next vacation or as you wrote, the weekend. It is just not worth it. We need to find meaning in what we are doing in the here and now. Thanks for your insightful (brilliant) comment! @KenMueller

  • PeterFaur

    Gini, great post! I hear echoes of Micah 6:8 (to call upon some ancient wisdom): “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

  • I love it! I what call myself a positive person but there’s always times when stress seems to drowned you. At that point I take a deep breath and get all my ducks in a row. I remember what is important, I prioritize and I remember to take break to and have some fun!

  • ladylaff

    Love this post Gini. Happiness is the best revenge – ha ha!! When I’m feeling blue all I need to do is type “Muppet Show” into YouTube 😉

  • @wabbitoid As the girl who ‘gave up stress for Lent’, let me explain (or better yet, check it out in my blog post ( 🙂

    I chose to give it up because it was something that I viewed as holding me back from the things in life I’m meant to do…make that do well. However, you’re right in the thought that there’s a bit of enjoyment there. I think many of us, myself included, get caught up in the ‘busy, busy, busy’ mode and if I’m not busy, I’m not really accomplishing. It becomes what I imagine coming off a drug would feel like….once you’re ‘off’ of it, you almost wonder around looking for it. (Not that I have real life experience with drug addiction or the feeling one may have ‘off’ of it, just imagining here).

    I’ve been very mindful of my stress level during this season of Lent and paying attention to the ‘triggers’ and the feelings associated with it Has it been completely out of my life? No, but I have been much more successful at stopping it early on, rather than letting it take me away like an ocean wave.

    And I’m all for viewing stress as a challenge, rather than a threat!

  • Narciso17

    @jgwhitt Ha! Always Time to Shut up and Dance! I’m Thinking This Should Merit a Blog Entry

  • Wow. If Happiness is the single most competitive advantage in the modern economy, then I have this thing all wrapped up! Seriously, I make it my mission to be happy. I chose to do what I do in life because it makes me happy. I realized a long time ago that doing something simply for the money alone does not equate to happiness. In fact, the more I do something that is purely for the money and has no passion or happiness attached to it, the more I hate it and the less likely I am to be successful doing it. No one wins.

    Life really is too short. Far too often, people view my approach (and the one you’ve written about here) as being naive or even self-centered. To which I reply, heck yeah, it’s self-centered. If I don’t look after my happiness, how can I pass that on to my kids, my husband or anyone else in my life? It’s like the standard speech given to us on airplanes before take off: If you’re traveling with children or someone who needs assistance, and it’s time to put the oxygen mask on, take care of yours first!

    Naive? Maybe, but I prefer to view it as adventurous and possessing a zest for living. Thanks for including me here @ginidietrich ! I’m honored for the mention!

  • meganbeausang

    If I were in the office I would give you a big hug. I love that happiness is “the silent 75%.” Coming out of the financial services industry, I can tell you, it is so true. No matter how much money my old colleagues made, they were the most miserable people on the face of the planet. There is a reason my old company doesn’t exist anymore. 🙂 Thank god I am at a place that makes me happy! Success is right around the corner!

    To answer your question, first of all, I made a huge gigantic career change last year. But on a daily basis, I try to learn one new thing about our industry and/or how to better myself in my role. Every day i ask myself – what am I going to learn today?

  • rustyspeidel

    @ginidietrich @KenMueller Where I live there are a LOT of really rich, successful people living out early retirement in beautiful mansions overlooking the mountains. Many are easygoing, pleasant, and appear happy. Many others are arrogant, demanding, always disappointed with one thing or another, and constantly worrying about what everyone else is up to. Many are truly brilliant and have built everything they have themselves, many never had to work a day in their lives.

    My point? The money has not affected their basic personalities or decisions to be happy at all, it seems. Rather, it seems to amplify whatever tendencies they already had. I have noticed that their expectations of others seem to increase, and their patience for mediocrity reduces, but overall the happy ones appear to have close families, solid marriages (or comfort in not choosing that path), and good health. Now, what caused what?

  • If you’re happy and you know it, don’t be afraid to show it 😉

    What am I doing to be happy Gini? I think the biggest key is focusing on giving as much value to other as possible, and then letting the chips fall as they may. Relationships—that’s what makes me happy.


  • @ginidietrich Gini, well I am living my dream but happiness means different things for different people.

    I think happiness really depends on how one defines it.

  • GoBeyondIdeas

    I’m thrilled to see this post! Being someone who is generally optimistic I’ve had people presume that there was something I wasn’t ‘getting’ about life. The contrary is true imho; I’m here to be, not do – as long as I can I simply choose to be a positive version of myself, rather than a negative one. Thanks!

  • jackielamp

    I love this post!

    In my mind, happiness is a choice. I’m not saying you need to force it where it’s not, but there is an upside to everything. And sometimes you need to CHOOSE to see it. Bad things happen. Life is stressful. We can’t win them all. But do you dwell on that, or do you find a way to move forward? It’s about accepting situations, knowing who you are, and living life accordingly.

    It’s also about perspective. If you’re unhappy, maybe you haven’t taken the time to put things into perspective.I had a terrible health issue requiring some very invasive surgery. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. But you know what? There are people out there suffering much worse. There are people who don’t have family and friends supporting them through those times. Or people who don’t have the means to even get the surgery to solve the problem. Consider it that way.

    Instead of complaining or being unhappy and asking, “why did this happen to me?” we should consider asking “what can I do to change the things I’m unhappy about?”

    And now I will step down off my soapbox. Sorry for writing you a book in the comments.

  • jessostroff

    I love this. I struggle with a close friend who believes that being ‘content’ is more important than being ‘happy’ because happiness comes and goes. He believes that when you

  • jessostroff

    I love this. I struggle on a daily basis with a close friend who believes that I’m ignorant for striving to be happy all the time, and that being ‘content’ is more important than being ‘happy’ because happiness comes and goes. He believes that if you are content with your day-to-day the way it is, then you’re happy. But I believe that you need to strive for that extra thing that makes you feel amazing, whatever it is. I don’t think he has experienced true bliss because he never pushes for more. It’s partly ignorance, but mostly fear. Because when you’re really happy, you’re afraid to lose that. But I think as long as the happiness outweighs the sadness, you’re doing just fine.

  • jessostroff

    I love this. I struggle on a daily basis with a close friend who believes that I’m ignorant for striving to be happy all the time, and that being ‘content’ is more important than being ‘happy’ because happiness comes and goes. He believes that if you are content with your day-to-day the way it is, then you’re happy. But I believe that you need to strive for that extra thing that makes you feel amazing, whatever it is. I don’t think he has experienced true bliss because he never pushes for more. It’s partly ignorance, but mostly fear. Because when you’re really happy, you’re afraid to lose that. But I think as long as the happiness outweighs the sadness, you’re doing just fine.

  • jessostroff

    I love this. I struggle on a daily basis with a close friend who believes that I’m ignorant for striving to be happy all the time, and that being ‘content’ is more important than being ‘happy’ because happiness comes and goes. He believes that if you are content with your day-to-day the way it is, then you’re happy. But I believe that you need to strive for that extra thing that makes you feel amazing, whatever it is. I don’t think he has experienced true bliss because he never pushes for more. It’s partly ignorance, but mostly fear. Because when you’re really happy, you’re afraid to lose that. But I think as long as the happiness outweighs the sadness, you’re doing just fine.

  • MimiMeredith

    @EricaAllison @wabbitoid

  • MimiMeredith

    I’m so happy you wrote this. And I think your Vistage chair is brilliant!

  • MimiMeredith

    @EricaAllison @wabbitoid sorry for theblank comment. What ireally need here is a “like” button! I’m off to read the post!

  • jgwhitt

    Absolutely! @Narciso17 @jgwhitt

  • mdbarber

    Such a great post. I’m reminded of my mom who always said to keep smiling as it takes a lot less energy and makes people wonder what you’re up to. I find it’s just so much easier to go through the day with my glass half full than empty. It’s exhausting to do it the other way. Can’t say I always do this but it is a goal.

  • @wabbitoid make that ‘wander’ around, not wonder…geez! 🙂

  • Narciso17

    @mdbarber Yepper – Being a Grouch Takes ALOT of Work…Makes Sense Why The ‘Angry’ Have Ulcers…Bad Vibes Can Wear a Person Down…!

  • HowieSPM

    Yes, Happiness technically is being Dumb and Ignorant. Not really Dumb. But if you read the Tao Te Ching or Tao of Pooh we complicate our lives through education, learning etc and thus bring ourselves misery. It is the only thing about Taoism I do not agree with!

    That said the example from the Tao of Pooh makes sense. They say watch a toddler open a door for the first time. They will be amazed. They will do it over and over for hours laughing at it. And how we are incapable of such amazement in a general sense. Most of us get swept up in so much data and things in our lives we don’t stop to be amazed. So glad I do not have this problem. But then I am Taoist.

    My issue with education is I love to contemplate from the universe down to the microverse in wonder and not sure if I could do it the same way if I was uneducated. Though I would say the Jehovah Witnesses would have an easier time when the come by to talk with me.

  • Narciso17


    What’s More, You Can Get Some Moments Of Happiness Throughout the Day…

    – with a song

    – cool glass of water

    – saltwater taffy

    – gentle breeze

    Doesn’t Have to Be Quite So ‘Big’ … Little Things Go a Long Way…!

  • Narciso17


    Ohh…My…Goodness…!…the Muppets Rock!

  • Narciso17


    And Here it Is on Method + Moxie –> ‘Three Cheers for Being Happy’

  • Narciso17


    Great Point, Kary! You Can Have Happiness in Little Things Thoughout Your Day…

    – with a song

    – cool glass of water

    – saltwater taffy

    – sounds of your kids’ playing

    Doesn’t Have to Be Quite So ‘Big’ … Little Things Go a Long Way…!

  • Narciso17


    Three Cheers for Being Silly! I’m With You – Negative People Can Bring You Down, Oftentimes Without Them Even Trying…Try to Avoid em’ As Much as Possible.

  • Lisa Gerber

    I completely agree with @jackielamp – happiness is a choice. I tend to get all Buddhist when I start talking about happiness. Sorry in advance. I struggle all the time with wanting more, bigger, better and then I stop myself and remind myself that I am grateful for what I have. Life is an adventure, and we make the choices in our lives to be happy. It especially hit home with me, because I left wonderful to come work with you, @ginidietrich ! for even MORE and BIGGER wonderful, and greater challenges. Some good thought provoking things here. : )

  • Such a great post! I’m mostly happy (and sure as heck not dumb) and use stress and negative situations as drivers to learn from. At the same time, sometimes I wonder, am I delusional? Ha. I’ve found that whenever you’re positive, even the worst situations work out. Always. So why waste time freaking when things are beyond your control? This is just my POV, one person. And it took me a long time to get here and I’m stayin’!

  • rustyspeidel

    @Lisa Gerber @jackielamp @ginidietrich I also see more of Lisa’s “more, bigger, better” affliction in the larger cities.

  • rustyspeidel

    @HowieSPM Brilliant. I love those books.

  • LynLomasi

    Awesome post! I am very happy, not dumb, and I fit the Vistage theory. I’m living my passions, doing it for the kids, and loving life. So it just might be right. My personal motto is this: “Onward and upward…all forward thinkers are welcome in my elevator!” 🙂

  • @HowieSPM Unlearning isn’t the same as being dumb or ignorant. It means letting go of a lot of cultural baggage – prejudices and assumptions more than knowledge itself. It also means not kidding yourself and being able to accept things as they are first and foremost. From Rosenthal’s translation of Tao Te Ching 81:

    The sage seeks not to have a store of things or knowledge,

    for he knows, the less of these he has, the more he has,

    and that the more he gives, the greater his abundance.

    The way of the sage is pointed but does not harm.

    The way of the sage is to work without cunning.

    But your emphasis on being amazed works for me, too. The world is amazing in its own ways – which are very good to get to know for their own benefit. It’s when people are awfully sure of how right they are that things tend to break down a bit. 🙂

  • @EricaAllison I was only teasing … usually people give up something that is dear to them for Lent – a sacrifice. Giving up stress seems like the opposite of a sacrifice, and there isn’t a clear antonym in this case. 🙂

  • HowieSPM

    @wabbitoid You are a wise Sage oh Mr. Erik!

  • HowieSPM

    @meganbeausang not in the office? You missed A-D amateur Bagpipe day?!

  • HowieSPM

    @wabbitoid @EricaAllison She read the book upside down. Shh it seems to work don’t ruffle things Erik!

  • janbeery

    Great Post Gini! What we’re doing each day to increase our “silent 75%” is to remain relevant and roll with the environment. How do we stay ahead of the curve for our clients? How does this position us as leaders/experts in our category to navigate with and for our clients and our own brand?

    Shoot, if Katie sees this post, I’m going to be hit with blog topics to write about!

  • @johnfalchetto @ginidietrich Well, define it this way: happiness vs. pissed off and angry. Which do you prefer?

    Sorry, happy people have a gift, not a choice.

    To see clearly at all times and have the power to choose happiness over circumstance dominating whether you”re happy or miserable

  • @johnfalchetto@ginidietrich

    Let’s define it in this manner John – happiness in the context of contentment, fulfilled, joyful / or misery in the context of hating life, being pissed at the world and dejected.

    Happiness is not a choice, it’s a gift.

    If there really were a choice, wouldn’t everyone choose happiness?

    After all, being miserable is a pretty sad way to exist, yes?

    Do you really believe people would choose misery over happiness? Not if they have clue and aren’t sniffing glue.

    People don’t have the power to choose whether they’re happy or not – their circumstances have them so mind twisted it’s just enough to breath air and exist another day. They are dominated by external things they can’t control and are empty vessels void of life on the inside… and not by choice.

    Short of a miracle for someone who’s miserable, that person will always be miserable.

    I have seen people change completely in the 45 years I’ve been on the planet… 3 or 4 maybe?

    And these didn’t simply make a choice; they fought their demons and overcame significant circumstances to take control of their life.

    Miserable people are not in control, they’re blind and being robbed of everything good in life. Just one simple adjustment on how you perceive life can turn misery into joy.

    It’s a very fragile line.

  • ginidietrich

    @janbeery Looks to me like kbkmarketing should be asking you for three blog posts from this one comment!

  • ginidietrich

    @LynLomasi Twice in less than a week?! Woo hoo! And I’ll get on your elevator any time!

  • ginidietrich

    @abarcelos No, you definitely are NOT dumb!

  • ginidietrich

    @Lisa Gerber Well, we certainly have a bigger city and more restaurants, but Idaho has skiing. And snow. And skiing.

  • ginidietrich

    @rustyspeidel @Lisa Gerber Interesting, Rusty. I’d never thought about it as a big city kind of thing. That’s interesting.

  • ginidietrich

    @rustyspeidel @HowieSPM I love those books, too. But I don’t think they state that being happy is technically being dumb or ignorant. Happiness is a state of mind that has nothing to do with your intellect level.

  • ginidietrich

    @mdbarber Or my mom who sings, “If you chance to meet a frown” as often as she can. It drove us crazy as kids. Now we just roll our eyes at her. But both of our mothers are very wise.

  • ginidietrich

    @MimiMeredith Some days he’s brilliant, Mimi. 🙂

  • ginidietrich

    @Narciso17 @jessostroff Saltwater taffy! YES!!

  • ginidietrich

    @jessostroff I’d actually be really interested in having a conversation with your friend. If it helps, *I* don’t think you’re ignorant for striving to be happy all the time. I think that makes you the smartest of us all.

  • ginidietrich

    @jackielamp You know what makes me happy? Shoes! And you know what else makes me happy? The shoe closet code I’m about to share with you! I’ll tweet it to you later today. I love your perspective, too. You’re right – when you put things in perspective, life doesn’t seem so bad after all.

  • ginidietrich

    @GoBeyondIdeas I love, love, love this attitude! So much, in fact, I’m going to refer back to it when I’m having a bad day. I’m with you – being optimistic has nothing to do with not “getting” it.

  • ginidietrich

    @Marcus_Sheridan Um, I think it’s…if you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! LOL! Relationships DO make you happy. That’s very apparent in your online dealings. And the fact that you showcase your adorable kids on your blog.

  • ginidietrich

    @meganbeausang Success had better be right around the corner or I’m going to end up killing someone (likely myself). OK. Not really. But if we remember our #3 value I think we’ll all remain happy.

  • ginidietrich

    @HowieSPM @meganbeausang Howie, Meg is still on maternity leave. 🙁

  • ginidietrich

    @Mark_Harai @johnfalchetto How many people do you know that sniff glue?! And you’re right, Mark. Who the heck would CHOOSE to be miserable?! We can all choose to be happy, though!

  • ginidietrich

    @bdorman264 And you’re happy because the Brinks truck delivers to your house. You know, it’s funny you say this because I’ve been thinking A LOT lately about whether or not I’m “too” approachable. I’m silly and I don’t take things as seriously as, maybe, some other business leaders, and I think, sometimes, that’s to my detriment. But then I think…would I miss out on the fun I have with people like Bill if I were a little more serious? And that wouldn’t be any fun. Besides, I’d love to see you hold your own on the topic of women.

  • ginidietrich

    @Narciso17 I have a question…why do you initial cap every word? Isn’t it hard to type that way?

  • ginidietrich

    @autumnmthompson I agree! And, to @Mark_Harai point, why the heck would you choose to be miserable?!

  • ginidietrich

    @KaryD You kill me! You don’t come across as a pessimist AT ALL! In fact, you’re one of the funniest people I know (notwithstanding nylons of course). NO ONE is as funny or cynical as she is. Being introverted does not mean you’re pessimistic or unhappy. It just means you get your energy from places that extroverted people (who tend to SHOW their happiness).

  • ginidietrich

    @MARLdblE She totally did give up stress for Lent! I thought she was joking, but she really did.

  • ginidietrich

    @Narciso17 Why didn’t you name your blog post yesterday Shut Up and Dance?!

  • ginidietrich

    @Narciso17 I will have you know you got that stupid song stuck in my head all day yesterday. I will not let you do it again today!

  • ginidietrich

    @jgwhitt Absolutely serving others should be in there! You know, I think you are right about happy people being less selfish. That’s a really, really interesting point that I’m going to ponder.

  • ginidietrich

    @T60Productions Hey! Congrats on your Tellys! That should make you happy!

  • ginidietrich

    @wabbitoid I don’t think simple questions are dumb or make you dumb. In fact, I think quite the opposite – I think asking questions and drilling into people’s answers makes you highly intelligent.

  • ginidietrich

    @PeterFaur Amen, Peter! Amen!

  • ginidietrich

    @rachaelseda It’s funny that I wrote this post yesterday and had such a terrible. day. At 4:00, I called it quits because I was so miserable. So yes, stress does seem to drown you. But go to bed and wake up on the right side the next morning. It helps!

  • ginidietrich

    @ladylaff LOL!! I’m totally going to do that next time. HA!

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison I’m with you…people think I’m naive. And maybe I am. But Mr. D is as smart as they come and he ALWAYS sees the best in people. Always. It’s something I’ve learned from him. It may be naive, but it sure is a nice way to live.

  • @ginidietrich @johnfalchetto Well that’s the point. autumnmthomp Nobody would choose to be miserable… nobody. Why don’t they just choose to be happy? Pretty easy, yes? No, it isn’t. It’s as if it’s not available to them.

    That’s why I stated happiness is a gift more than a choice. It’s almost as if it were determined in your DNA and you’re just going to be according to what’s inside of you. There is no choice if that is the case… You are what you are in this case, yes?

    I did mention I’ve seen some folks change. But everybody notices the change and as I mentioned, it’s as if a miracle opened their eyes, their heart and capacity for joy. They have become a different person.

    I like your attitude on this topic Gini – that would be awesome if people really did have the choice to be happy. But I have never seen that to be the case, and I agree with you; nobody would choose to be miserable.

  • @janbeery You’re busted!! Take those questions and turn the answers in to blog posts!

    Gini, I love this post. As a glass-half-full kinda gal (who is not dumb, might I add), I am a firm believer in “attitude is everything.” Of course, we’re all human and there are days when our attitudes are less than perfect. That’s why it’s so important to surround ourselves with people who are also happy :).

  • rustyspeidel

    Here is a really good blog to keep this state of mind into the future.

  • rustyspeidel

    Good blog about happiness and how to maintain and manage it:

  • rustyspeidel

    @Lisa Gerber @jackielamp @ginidietrich Just more of a focus on career status, money, and the accumulation of expensive stuff as a measure of success.

  • KaryD

    @ginidietrich Wow…to be in the same sentence about funny as nylons is just crazy. She is way outta my league! Anyway, I don’t think all introverts are pessimists, but, I am, for the most part, an introverted-pessimist. I like to think I’m “high-functioning,” in that I do ok in society, and, I claim “online extroversion,” which is probably where you get the happy vibe from me. 🙂 In all seriousness, though, I do try to not let my cynicism bring others down and make conscious choices about the people I surround myself with (very important as an introvert) so I can stay as sane and positive as possible. Full circle? In a way, I do think ignorance is bliss, but, I don’t think smart folks are doomed to a life of misery. In fact, that seems a little arrogant. Life is what you make of it and happiness is a choice.

  • janbeery

    @KatieFassl yeah yeah!
    FYI, Katie is not only the blog Nazi, she’s our “well, at least the sun is out” person in the office!

  • janbeery

    Dang it! Whose side are you on?,@ginidietrich

  • jenzings

    Pfft. Sounds like a certain stock trader needs a hug. There’s plenty of evidence that happiness drives success:

    One of my favorite blogs, The Happiness Project, addresses just this question:

    What do I do to increase my “silent 75%”? I read and challenge myself with scintillating content, on blogs like Spin Sucks. 🙂

  • jenzings

    Hm, my links got all chewed up.

    Happiness project, as referenced by Rusty–addresses just this topic:

    And what I do to increase my “silent 75%”? I read compelling content, like Spin Sucks!

  • bdorman264

    @ginidietrich And I had to smile because I just pictured you typing this with your serious face on being all business-like….no more joking………I mean it, I’m serious now…………..:).

    Approachable is not a bad thing; I think you will generate more credibility and customers the more approachable you are. At the end of the day the more you can be your real self the better served you will be; which isn’t always easy in a corporate world.

    I think your passion and your expertise shows through whatever game face you happen to be wearing. That goes a long way. I would be surprised if you changed it would produce better results.

    Let’s just agree to be serious enough………………

    Having grown up w/ 3 sisters (2 older) I learned a lot and it was never a bad day when they had slumber parties…………………….:). Dorman, you bad………..

  • bdorman264

    @Narciso17 Being approachable is a good thing, not a bad thing. I think people will trust you more and this gives you credibility. Life is way too short to be negative……………….

  • @wabbitoid I think it’s also asking the dumb questions like, “how did I get myself here today?” It’s remember the simple things that make you happy, and remembering how lucky you are. Like what you said, it’s the simple things that make me happy, and realize that our first world problems really aren’t that bad 🙂

  • @mdbarber Part of that was my yearbook quote senior year of high school 🙂 It goes along with it takes a lot less muscles to smile than to frown.

  • @abarcelos Absolutely awesome point: why waste time on things you can’t control?

    That’s been the biggest key to aiding in my happiness as well as my outlook and approach to life. Makes things a lot easier!

  • @Narciso17 @jessostroff It’s always good to have a list of small things that make you happy so you can always bring up your mood! Can I add puppies to that list? 🙂

  • LynLomasi

    @ginidietrich Aww you’re definitely welcome! 🙂

  • mdbarber

    Our mothers are (or in my case was) wise. When I’m talking with my own kids and find myself using her phrases, it is a constant reminder of the foundation we have. Pretty lucky, I’d say. @ginidietrich

  • mdbarber

    You get so much further with honey and sugar…

  • @ginidietrich @Marcus_Sheridan Hey that’s what I was singing in my head too lol :)! But what if you’re dumb and unhappy? hehe

  • @ginidietrich @EricaAllison People often mistake happiness and friendliness as being naive. Seeing the good in people is having a positive attitude towards life. It means giving people the benefit of a doubt if there is one. There’s nothing wrong with that. You can be friendly, you can be happy and you can be cautious when your gut tells you to be. Mr. D is right.

    And you my dear Gini are everything but naive!!! Being nice (genuinely) doesn’t mean you’re dumb. It means you have values and principles and that you’re comfortable enough with yourself.

  • ginidietrich

    @rustyspeidel This keeps getting sent to me! Weird.

  • ginidietrich

    @KatieFassl @janbeery My college roommate would throw the shades open every morning and exclaim, “Good morning, Mr. Sun!’ Every. Morning. I pretended I hated her for it, but I secretly loved it.

  • ginidietrich

    @Griddy Poor Griddy. Dumb and unhappy. It’s so sad to be you.

  • ginidietrich

    @Griddy Oh I’m naive. But I’m cool with it.

  • @ginidietrich LMAO!!!!!

  • @ginidietrich Yay – we finally found something you and I can disagree about ;).

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