Lessons from The Wizard of Oz

 
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Dear Jane,
I just bought a nice new car, which I’d been saving up for. I felt excited when I got into it, smelled that new-car smell, and heard the engine purr. That was a week ago. Now, even though I’m still proud of myself for attaining this goal, I don’t feel jazzed about the car itself anymore. Why is the thrill gone so quickly? How come I don’t stay happy for very long?

Given the amount of debt we Americans are currently up to our ears in, you’d think that money must buy happiness. But just a few years ago, a landmark Harvard study demonstrated that, although many people believe that a nice piece of jewelry, a larger home, a new car, or more money will make them happy, this satisfaction doesn’t last long.

The researchers found that what makes us happiest for the greatest duration is something money can’t buy: friendship. If we take this conclusion to heart—that what will make us happiest is our connection with others—then we have to believe that our best decisions, the ones that help us thrive and enjoy life the most for the longest time, require nothing more than an open heart.

Often, we’re like the Tin Woodsman or the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz, searching everywhere for what we think is missing when it’s right there inside of us all along. Our capacity for happiness is like that—it’s right there inside us yet we look far and wide for it, often paying a high price to boot.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy a car. I’m saying that you’ll probably be happier if you have someone in it next to you to crank up the CD player and sing with. If you want to own a bigger home, make sure you focus on creating laughter and love in there.

The Jewish people have a saying: It’s better to give with warm hands. What this means is that it’s more enjoyable to share while we’re alive than to hold onto everything until we’re dead, an attorney doling it out to our descendants.

Any material object that we crave will lose its luster once we possess it, while relationships that are joyful and loving never tarnish.

Jane Straus is a trusted life coach, dynamic keynote speaker, and the author of Enough Is Enough! Stop Enduring and Start Living Your Extraordinary Life. With humor and grace, Jane offers her clients and seminar participants insights and exercises to ensure that the next chapter of their lives is about thriving as the unique individuals they have always been and the extraordinary ones they are still becoming. She serves clients worldwide and invites you to visit her site, StopEnduring.com. Here you will find excerpts from her book, more articles, TV and radio interviews, and clips from her presentations.
She is also the author of The Blue Book of Grammar and Punctuation, Grammarbook.com, an award-winning online resource and workbook with easy-to-understand rules, real-world examples, and fun quizzes.
Contact Jane at Jane@JaneStraus.com.

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