A Common Sense Strategy for Happiness: Are You Feeding Your Ego or Higher Self?


I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know:

the only ones among you who will be really happy are those

who will have sought and found how to serve.

Albert Schweitzer


Recently I was on a flight from New York to Portland, Oregon. This doesn’t happen too often, but the service was exceptionally good.  There was one flight attendant in particular whose attitude stood out from the rest.  His smile was genuine.  What I mean is that I had a sense that he smiled because he wanted to, not because it was expected of him. Believe me I can tell the difference.

What really impressed me was the manner in which he introduced himself to everyone as they were entering the first class cabin.  “Hi, my name is Jeff and I will be serving you this morning.  If there is anything you need, please don’t hesitate to ask.”

Throughout the entire flight he went out of his way to make sure that everyone’s needs were taken care of.  At the end of the flight, he approached each row and said, “Thank you for flying with us today.  It was a pleasure serving you.”

As everyone was deplaning, I approached Jeff and thanked him for the great service.  His eyes lit up like a Christmas tree.  “You really love what you do, don’t you?”  I said. His reply, “Mr. Rizzo I’ve been doing this for over a year now and I can honestly say that I couldn’t be happier.  I love to travel, I love people and I love to serve.

He went on to tell me that before he was a flight attendant he was a Tax Attorney.  “The money was great.” He said, “But I was miserable.”  Now I wake up every morning with a smile on my face.  Now I honestly believe I’m fulfilling my purpose.

Here’s my point dear reader.  Sometimes what we think we want in life isn’t what we really need to be truly happy and successful.  More often than not, what we want feeds the Ego.  When we fulfill our needs, we feed our Higher Self.  Which one are you feeding?


Please feel free to share your thoughts and insights. I welcome all comments.

  1. Steve, I know from firsthand experience that your comments are right on the button. 15 years ago I had a successful business career and then I was diagnosed with primary progressive multiple sclerosis in 2002. My life changed dramatically in that year. I began using a wheelchair and before long I could no longer drive. Essentially, I was confined to my home and wherever I could go with my power wheelchair. My wife and I moved into a retirement community even though we were both technically too young to live there.

    Looking back, I was dreading the move. The average age of the community when we moved in was over 70 years old. We were roughly 20 years younger. Our neighbors were old enough to be our parents. What the heck was I going to do in this community? My mind was as good as ever but my body was deteriorating quickly.

    Easy. I put my mind to work. It was a great opportunity to practice and use the skills that I had learned in the workforce over the past 20 years. The first thing I did was create a neighborhood directory. Everybody’s name, address, and phone number. Something simple that would bring us together.

    As the community grew, I started making newsletters and then community calendars. It was also a great opportunity to practice the leadership skills I had learned in my career. I started an entertainment committee and it flourishes today. Physically, I can’t do much of anything but that’s OK because the committee takes care of that part. My role is creativity, leadership, and communication. I am also the community Technology Answer Man. We have an organized computer clinic every two weeks. The neighbors bring their devices and/or questions and we work together to address all of the concerns. I also two one-on-one technology tutoring for any one that needs special attention. Just yesterday I spent a couple of hours introducing one of my neighbors to his first iPad.

    Steve, 16 years ago I had a six figure salary. Now I am on disability but the internal rewards associated with the opportunity to enhance the lives of dozens of senior citizens, my friends and neighbors, is priceless.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>