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Article Archive >> Community

Sharing The Happy Jar

Sharing The Happy Jar
One Lady's Effort in Sharing Makes The Happy Guy's Day
by David Leonhardt

Energizing. Practical. Inspiring. Discover the 9 habits that can change your life! I just delivered a free speech. I am a great believer in free speech, but an even greater believer in paid speech. However, there are good reasons why someone like me would happily deliver free speeches. For instance, to support a charity or a cause I believe in (generosity and sharing). Or if the audience is full of people who hire speakers (selfishness and self-promotion).
If you've ever spoken at a dinner or ran a workshop at a conference, you'll wince when I mention the dreaded "token of appreciation" presented to the speaker. In your head you think, "Oh no, not another T-shirt." I have my share of T-shirts, golf shirts, letter openers, books that do not interest me, sweets, ball caps, and pens. I don't need any more.
Sigh. I suppose that's the price of free speech.
Which brings me to my recent free speech on happiness and self-actualization (Can there be any other topic?), at the end of which I braced myself to face "Dreaded Token". I was presented with a lovely gift bag brimming with colorful paper - the perfect camouflage to conceal "Dreaded Token" until he was ready to pounce. Mercifully, Madam Group President did not make me open the bag in front of everyone. I thought that was the height of generosity.
Sharing a personal effort
As I was preparing to leave, I sneaked a peak inside the bag. To my surprise, there was a candy jar with dozens of tiny plastic smiley faces glued to the lid. Around the lid were foam-rubber multi-colored letters that read "Happy Guy". Wow! It was hand-made. Madam Group President took the time to craft a personal gift. You might call it "The Art of Happiness". How thoughtful. Dreaded Token, you have met your match. Meet Happy Jar.
If you have ever been a parent, valuing more the hand-made card your little daughter scribbles for you than any present she could buy, you understand the pure joy I felt when I met Happy Jar. I can't wait for my daughter to be old enough to draw so I can feel that kind of happiness more often.
In life, little things really do count. You might be tempted to dismiss them, but they are the seeds of daily joy that grow up into the garden of your life. Not all little things are good, but yours can be ... if you are willing to make a little extra effort. Madam Group President could have handed me a T-shirt or a ball cap or leftover fruit cake from last Christmas. (Yes, I was once presented with left-over fruitcake!) But she invested her effort and her generosity instead and I have a tale of deep personal happiness to write about today.
A small, but important, effort
You can fill someone's day with joy just by making that same little effort. I sent an encouraging e-mail to lift a friend's spirits today. It worked. Those carefully chosen words put a smile on her face. I'm sure you can guess how happy that made me feel, too.
When Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of the epic This Is The Place and Harkening, raved to me about the upbeat writing in my book, I felt on top of the world. (It's not the huge $75 royalty checks every three months that inspire authors to write.) She then raved to Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com and a dozen other book review web sites. Do I have to tell you how excited her little extra effort made my pulse race?
I know I am blessed to be surrounded by so many thoughtful, sharing people, but I also know that we reap what we sow. What are you sowing? Are you making the time to give a little extra to people around you? Are you sowing seeds of happiness in your garden of life? Are you sharing?
With the right seeds and a little extra effort, you may find more Happy Jars in your life than Dreaded Tokens. And of course, let us not forget the magic words to keep those Happy Jars coming: "Thank you Madam Group President."

David Leonhardt is author of a self-help happiness book. He also runs a Liquid Vitamins Store and serves as a SEO/SEM website marketing consultant.

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