My first big opportunity in the auto business came in the summer of 1986 when my father, determined to avoid the nepotism so prevalent in family-owned businesses, purchased a tiny Ford dealership in Honor, Michigan, and commissioned my brother and me to run it by ourselves.

We were thrilled at the prospect of being among the youngest dealership owner/operators in the country. And since it was so small–-we opened with seven employees–-we personally connected with nearly every customer who walked through our doors; in fact, we came to know some of them like family over the years.

I recall one soon-to-be-retired couple from downstate who purchased a Ford pickup to haul their newly acquired travel trailer. After years of vacationing in the area, the husband, employed in a blue-collar job for the same company throughout his entire working life, shared how much he was looking forward to retirement. “The last few years have been a grind,” he said, “but when I retire and never have to work another day in my life, then I’ll finally be happy.”

Sadly, within four years after his retirement party, the happiness that this hard-working man so looked forward to was short-lived: he died of a heart attack.

Stories like this are all too common. They illuminate an important perspective shared by people who live well: happiness is never a destination.

Yet for most of us, that’s what we’ve been taught our entire lives. It’s the doctrine of the American dream: If you work hard then you will be successful and only then, once you achieve some milestone in your life like graduating from college, earning a good income, getting married, becoming a partner in your firm, or, in my customer’s case, retiring, then and only then can you lay claim to the elusive treasure of happiness.

What is the illusion of happiness?

How are researchers studying the ‘science of happiness’?

In what ways is the field of Positive Psychology introducing a new approach to cognitive health by focusing on and measuring factors like optimism, hope, and compassion?

And how can practicing five simple actions for just 2 minutes a day for 21 days literally rewire your brain?

For the answers to all these questions and much more, check out my full article in the February/March 2021 issue of BAYLIFE Magazine! Pick up your copy from local newsstands or read the digital version now.