The Happiest Man In America

There is always magic in the air (literally) when I fly and my trip to LA was no different. I was offered a seat up front and when the plane was fully boarded, I said hello to the couple sitting next to me.

At first, the banter went back and forth “Where are you off to?” – a filming for the Heroes for Humanity Project.

“And you?” They were on their way up for one of their niece’s wedding. A bit more chatting and it turned out that I was sitting next to Al Wong, named by the New York Times, as the Happiest Man in America, and his wife Trudy.

We talked about love, joy, living in Hawaii, family and a lot more. We shared about heart happiness and how the happiness of our heart plays a central role in our overall happiness. We spoke of the power of a smile and the implicit joy that happens when we say “Aloha” and connect with other people.

Then Trudi shared how Al received the award. It turns out that over the last three years, Gallup has called 1,000 randomly selected American adults each day. The interviewers asked each person about their emotional state, work satisfaction, eating habits, illnesses, stress levels and other quality of life indicators.

Trudi shared that the call was amazing. As the interviewer was going through the list of questions with Al, she suddenly shouted to everyone in the phone room, “We’ve found him! We finally found him!”

“Meanwhile,” she said, “Al thought the whole thing was a joke. He couldn’t even believe that there was really such a search.”

It was truly a memorable flight of the mind and heart as well as getting my physical being to LA for the filming. And the insight gained from this unforgettable few hours? It’s good to reflect about our lives along some of the key indicators…

  • How is your sense of emotional wellbeing? Are you happy during the day or do you have times of sadness?
  • What is your stress level? Do you experience frustration, get annoyed or irritated? Or are you fairly consistently balanced and happy?
  • Do you smile a lot every day? Do you connect with others, even strangers?
  • How is your financial situation? Do you save regularly?
  • Do you enjoy your work?
  • Is your family situation happy? Are you divorced, single or married? And are you at peace with your situation?

Then set some goals for improvement in the areas where you fall short. And HAVE FUN with it! That’s one of the keys to happiness… enjoy your life or change it!

To learn more about the award go here.

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