Episode 3 – Choose Happiness

Show Notes:

“The thief of happiness is comparison.”

Feeling joy can be as simple as a shared smile or an empowering tune. This episode is not just about the big revelations; it’s a celebration of life’s little moments that collectively weave the tapestry of our well-being.

In this episode, I dive into the theme of happiness and gratitude with guest and friend Kevin Headley, a seasoned sales and marketing executive with a history at top brands like Sub-Zero and Whirlpool. We laugh and share wisdom as we discuss the detrimental effects of ‘comparison’ on joy, the simplicity of contentment, and the importance of managing expectations in relationships. Kevin’s positive outlook and the value of savoring the present moment are highlighted, as well as the role of conscious media consumption in nurturing our spirits. The episode leaves listeners with practical tips and the contagious nature of smiles for a happier life.

In this episode:

  • How Kevin stays happy day to day
  • Comparison is the enemy of happiness
  • Setting realistic life and love expectations to enhance contentment
  • The joy of appreciating simplicity and avoiding the small stuff
  • The art of pausing and thoughtful response in parenting
  • Gratitude practices and examples
  • Conscious media consumption’s role in nurturing happiness
  • Uplifting power of music, comedy and positivity in everyday life
  • Smiling at strangers to spread and receive happiness
  • Importance of selective social interactions for sustained happiness

ThirtyFiveSixtyFour is your weekly dose of inspiration for navigating the exciting, unpredictable, and undeniably transformative journey of midlife. Hosted by Karen Stones, founder of 13 Jacks Marketing Agency, avoids the tired cliches of crisis and stagnation. This podcast celebrates the power of play, discovery, and possibility that comes with this unique chapter in life. Join us every week as we delve into the real stories, challenges, and triumphs of midlife. We’ll explore fresh perspectives, practical tips, and inspiring experiences that will help you thrive, not just survive, during this pivotal time. Ready to rewrite your midlife narrative? Head over to www.thirtyfivesixtyfour.com and be a part of the adventure!

Resources:

Kevin Headley LinkedIn
Book: Loving What Is
Study: Beyond Laughter
Oxford Scientist Study: A Smile Can Change the World
Book: Man’s Search for Meaning
thirtyfivesixtyfour.com

Show Transcript:

[00:00:00] Kevin Headley: I’ve got a great quote that I heard a few weeks ago. I was actually trading it with that gentleman in the car when he told me about the thief of happiness is comparison. I told back to him, I said, hey, you will never be happier than you are grateful. Your happiness cannot outpace your gratitude.
[00:00:25] Karen Stones: Welcome back to ThirtyFiveSixtyFour, a podcast for the middle. My name is Karen Stones, and I’ll be your show host today. We’re here to talk all about happiness.
I have a dear friend of mine, Kevin Headley, here to share all of his tips. Kevin is a sales and marketing executive, and he’s worked at household brand name companies like Subzero, Whirlpool, and he is a really, really positive person. He actually is one of the rare leaders that I’ve met who knows how to approach issues very positively, but also in a serious manner. So he’s got a real special gift on how to navigate life with happiness. He is married, he currently lives in Georgia, and he has three daughters. He has successfully launched. In fact, he is chilling in an empty nest right now, and he is going to share all the tips on that in a future episode. But I am so thrilled you’re here. Kevin, welcome to the show.
[00:01:44] Kevin Headley: Thanks, Karen. Happy to be here.
[00:01:46] Karen Stones: And you’re. Let’s see. You’re coming in from a town, right? Do people say that anymore?
[00:01:52] Kevin Headley: Oh, everybody calls it a town. No, I’ve actually never heard anybody call it a town, but it sounds kind of cool the way you say it. I think it’s just the style in which you just let it roll off.
[00:02:03] Karen Stones: Yeah. Yeah. I have a secret, a desire to be in hip hop at some point in my life. But I know that you have planned some really good material for us, particularly around happiness. And before you jump into all of that, I have to say, when I met you, there is a good vibe. Is that how we put it? A good aura of true happiness? You’re smiling all the time. People love being around you, and I think every minute or two, there’s a laugh coming from you, even in some pretty tough meetings. So I think you’re an expert at this. I can’t wait to see what you have put together.
[00:02:49] Kevin Headley: Well, thank you, Karen. I do. I don’t really know any other way to live. I’m just a naturally a happy guy, and, you know, I’ve enjoyed meeting other people and. And share it. I feel like. I feel like I share happiness and I get it back. Right. It’s like one of those things there a lot of people think about you know, when you give something, it’s a zero sum game. You have less of it. I feel like when you think about happiness, you. You give it and you get happier. So, yeah, you know, that’s. That’s kind of unique like that.
[00:03:16] Karen Stones: Yeah. Do you think you can tell if somebody’s happy or sad really quickly?
[00:03:22] Kevin Headley: There’s times I don’t even think you have to look at them. You just feel it. Like somebody can walk in a room, and you just feel, like, the weight of them, you know, being in there. And. And I think that’s kind of a sensitivity that gets built up over time, right. You get some experience, and, you know, you get a few years under your belt. There’s plenty of times, you know, that sometimes somebody will come in the room. I don’t even sense that they’re happy. And I’m like, here’s. Here’s Kevin, happy to be here, and. And then I’ll walk out and somebody be like, hey, did you notice? You know, so and so. It’s a good thing you pretended to be happy. I’m like, I wasn’t pretending.
[00:03:53] Karen Stones: Yeah. Well, I want to know what you do to stay happy in your day. Today. You have a stressful job, you have a wife who mostly loves you, and you have all the stressors. We all do, you know, keeping up with your household duties, chores, having all of your obligations with your friends and extended family. How do you do it? Kevin?
[00:04:19] Kevin Headley: Yeah, that’s a great question. One of the things I always say to my wife, and she’s not always. She doesn’t always appreciate it as much as I do. But, you know, I say, honey, if, uh, if you’re not happy, just lower your expectations. You know? If you go. If you go into life with no expectations, it’s pretty easy to be happy. If, on. Conversely, on the other side, if you have really high expectations, you’re probably not going to be very happy. And let me, like, give a case in point, right? I think there’s. There’s happiness in simplicity. We have a family member that we’ll go out to dinner with. Right. And she will. She will order the most customized meal. Like, let me get the. Let me get the sourdough burger. But instead of sourdough, can I get wheat. Instead of a burger, can I get a veggie burger? And instead of this, that, and this thing’s getting rattled off, and as soon as they get to, like, the fourth customization, I’m thinking that’s not coming out right. Right.
[00:05:08] Karen Stones: Yeah.
[00:05:09] Kevin Headley: And I’m not sending it back. I hope you’re willing to send it back. I don’t even want to be part of the table that sends it back. But there’s an example of really high expectations. I’m not saying that you can’t really have expectations in your life. I mean, anybody who’s successful has to set forth expectations. But I think maybe, maybe there’s this idea about the small stuff. Maybe it’s the small stuff that you don’t have really high expectations. And don’t, don’t sweat the small stuff.
[00:05:33] Karen Stones: I think I’ve gotten better as I age with that. You know, the small things I realize I’m not gonna care about in five minutes, ten minutes tomorrow. So that is something that I feel is, is a gem. And you really realize that as you get older. Back to the expectations piece. One of the areas that I feel people have missed expectations is in their romantic relationships and in their friendships. What do you think?
[00:06:03] Kevin Headley: You know what? You’re absolutely right. I think that, uh, whether it’s romantically or platonically, expectations, uh, can be managed with communication. How many times is it that you, you hear about somebody and, you know, I was talking to somebody at a church setting a while ago, and I asked the question, well, have you talked to them about it? Well, no. They should know, you know, they should know this stuff. Right. Well, maybe start by communicating, right? Communicate in a way, you know, you genuinely want to be happy. Right. In a relationship, whether it’s friends or, or romantic, and they want to be happy, too. And if you start with communicating, I think you’ll get somewhere.
[00:06:40] Karen Stones: I think what I hear you saying is communication is also one of those skills to build up, to better manage your expectations, thus being happier.
[00:06:52] Kevin Headley: Yeah, I think it’s not just verbal either. Right. How many times are you nonverbally communicating in a way that, you know, you’re frustrated, angry with. With what somebody else is doing? And I think having the skill to step outside yourself and say, hey, well, why, why are they feeling like that? Right. And how can I. How can I adjust or change my communication, whether it’s nonverbal or verbal, to understand them so that we have this communication open so that we can get back to being happy?
[00:07:21] Karen Stones: You really have to step away from your ego quite frequently on a regular basis to stay above all of this stuff.
[00:07:29] Kevin Headley: Yeah, it’s funny that you, uh, that you mentioned ego. Uh, this is one of my, one of my ways to, to get happier. And it’s really tied, tied well to ego, and it’s, it’s really about your ego is. Is really about comparison, right? You think about your ego. Your ego gets power or loses power as you see that you’re better in some way or another than someone else. Right? Or you. You’re better or worse. My egos hurt. They’re better than me. My. I feel really great because I. I beat them. Right. You know, and you think about this comparison, mindset and comparison. This is a quote I heard from, uh, one of the gentlemen I work with, uh, just a few weeks ago. He said, Kevin, comparison is the thief of happiness. And I thought about that a lot. I was like, whoa, that’s pretty heavy. You know, you think about how often we compare things. How many times have you compared something? You’re like, you know what? That makes me feel good.
[00:08:18] Karen Stones: Yeah. Well, I gotta tell you, I’m an expert here, and not in a good way. In fact, this may be shocking, but I remember I was going through my divorce, and I was on Facebook, and I absolutely felt gutted. Every time I opened that social media platform, I saw a bunch of my friends who appeared to be, you know, extremely happy in their relationships and really, the highlight reels from everyone’s lives. And I was going through such a difficult time, I actually made the decision to delete my Facebook account. I knew that I didn’t have it within me to not play the comparison game. And you know what? I never went back. I’m not on Facebook. And I do have an Instagram account, a personal one. And I post maybe once a year with a Christmas picture so people don’t think I’m dead. But I have mastered comparison, and I know that I have to put limits and guardrails on myself so I can maintain a really great level of. Of happiness without that day to day comparison going on.
[00:09:32] Kevin Headley: I love that you post a Christmas picture because you don’t have to do any planning. You don’t have to print anything. You don’t have to mail anything. You just go on Christmas Day, post a Christmas picture, you’re good to go. That’s awesome.
[00:09:43] Karen Stones: Exactly, exactly. And every parent knows Christmas pictures are hell. You know, getting everyone to the location with an outfit that looks decent. So we already know that that is a contrived picture. So, yes, I participate once a year.
[00:10:00] Kevin Headley: Jeff, I love that. Yeah, that’s maybe one way not to be happy, right? We can all be equally frustrated when we go try to take the family photo, which connects to one of my other ways to get happier, which is go outside. You know, how many times are we sitting in a meeting, in meetings all day long under fluorescent light in the glass rooms or at the conference table, and you get a chance to go get a break and you go hit the restroom and talk to somebody in the hallway. You know what? Go outside. Find your way outside. Get into the sunlight, get the fresh air, take a breath. I found for me, it’s made a huge difference. I come back, I feel more centered. I feel happier. Right. And, and I think if you take that to the next step, which is, are you getting outside often? Are you finding ways to, to go work in the yard, to go take that hike, to go ride the bike or surf a wave? Right. I mean, not, not out here in the ATL, but maybe out there in the OC, you can, you can ride one of those.
[00:10:59] Karen Stones: Yeah. What would you say to people? And I’m going to use the classic example, Portland, Oregon or Seattle. You know, they are in dense rain so frequently. How can they get outside and kind of absorb nature when the weather is absolute crap?
[00:11:18] Kevin Headley: I feel like there is happiness in variety. And I think if you’re not in the, like, if you’re out in Arizona, I lived in Arizona for a few years with my family, and people would literally, like, beg for the rain. Like, give me some rain. We want the monsoon to come in. We want the clouds to come cover. We want to feel the rain. And so I would guess that you can still get outside. You can still get that fresh air. I mean, it’s green all the time up in Seattle. Right. And you can breathe that, that cool, crisp air and even when it’s raining. But if that gets to you all the time, you might have to schedule a trip to get somewhere else and, and drive some variety in there. Right. That just might be it.
[00:11:55] Karen Stones: You know what? That’s a great idea. And there’s this book I recently read, and I am just not remembering the author, but it’s called loving what is is. And it goes back to whatever the situation is and you are in right now. Embrace it, because it is what is happening and it is meant to be because it is now. It’s a really, really big book, really powerful. I really recommend it for people who are struggling with expectations, struggling with happiness, and just finding themselves up against a wall every turn they make. This book in particular, helps you dive into questioning your thought patterns, which can, you know, you ruminate, you think this is the worst, and you go to worst case scenario. It’s a really fantastic book. I’ll make sure to drop that in the show notes. For those of you who are interested.
[00:12:54] Kevin Headley: I love that. It reminds me of the story of Viktor Frankl. Right? And Viktor Frankl’s a Holocaust survivor and he wrote a book. I, I’m, I’m gonna blank on the name of his book, but, but he talked about the way he survived the Holocaust was that he could not choose his situation. He could not choose what was happening to him. He could not, you know, make a lot of choices. And he said that that mindset really brought a lot of people down and, and took happiness away. Right. And took the will to live away. But, but what he said was he could choose one thing that nobody could take away from him at any point, and he could always choose how he responded to what was happening to him. And so there’s this, this, this space between stimulus and response. And when we take a minute to just think, all right, something happened to me, right? I got a divorce. My friend really, you know, pissed me off, whatever, right? I just got hit. My car just got hit. Now I’m pulling over to the side of the road. There’s that space between stimulus and response. I can’t choose my situation right now, but I sure can choose my response. And, you know.
[00:13:56] Karen Stones: Yeah, yeah, it’s funny you mentioned that. I have this new thing that I’ve been doing. When I get cut off, or there’s some insane driver in front of me doing something strange, instead of yelling some, some curse word or something absolutely rude, especially when my kids are in the car, I’ll say, peace be with you. And it is the opposite of you wanna, what you wanna say to these people. Right. And it actually turns the table on that irritation and anger really quickly. And I laugh almost every single time. It actually just happened to me almost 2 hours ago, someone cut me off, which happens all the time right here in So Cal on those freeways. But it. You do have the choice, and it’s almost like a split second on how you’re going to react. And if we can just get a hold of 20% more of those split second reactions, I really think that that can increase the quality and the level of happiness that we experience on the regular.
[00:15:05] Kevin Headley: Yeah, for sure. How many times have you regretted how you responded when you didn’t take that split second to think about your response? Right. How many times have you looked back and gosh, I could have handled that better, I could have responded differently or something like that. Right. Especially with my kids. I’m a dad of three girls and they’re awesome girls. And there have been times where I’ve looked back and gone, gosh, I could have handled that better if I’d have taken an extra beat, thought about what I said, and then said it instead of just saying what I wanted to say.
[00:15:35] Karen Stones: Yeah. Yeah. The reactionary parenting, that’s something I think we all struggle with. If you’re a parent or you’re in the situation of caring for someone younger than you, it is hard not to be reactive. Kevin, when you think back on your life, what age do you think you’ve been the happiest?
[00:15:57] Kevin Headley: Hmm. Well, you know, my wife and I say this a lot, but there’s a great quote on the office. It says, how come you don’t recognize the good old days when you’re living in them? Right. And I think naturally, we, as people, we tend to look in the past and have a more fond view of what happened. Right. There’s. There’s happier things that were happening in the past. You know, I think about. I think about the time my wife and I purchased our first home, right. We were living in California. It was a big deal to buy our house. We’d always lived in, you know, somebody else’s house that was usually a lot older. And the first home we purchased, it was a brand new home. Nobody. Nobody lived in it. I was excited to tell all my friends, hey, nobody has used this toilet before I did.
[00:16:41] Karen Stones: Oh, my goodness.
[00:16:43] Kevin Headley: That was like the epitome of arriving. And that was, you know, our kids were super excited to get into their rooms, and, you know, we were making a home, and that was a really happy time. Right? And as I really think about it, there were also some real difficulties. Right. And there were some things going on that weren’t as much. But when you. When you think back to some of these happy times in your life, you’re like, whoa, that was. That was pretty cool. And I didn’t write this down, but since you asked me the question, why not think about some of the things that have gone on in the past that you’re really happy about? That’s a great tool, a great thinking tool to give yourself perspective on your situation and what you’re dealing with and add some happiness.
[00:17:25] Karen Stones: Yeah. I think that might parlay a little bit into gratitude. And as I make my way into that piece, I know this is something that you hear over and over and over and over. You should keep a gratitude journal. Make sure that you’re grateful for everything you have. If you’re struggling, you need to just say, thank you for the water coming out of my faucet and my blanket and my tea. And as cheesy and as silly as it sounds, if you force yourself to start a list, even if it’s five things a day, it changes your whole perspective. I’ve had terrible days where I don’t even know what to say. Thank you for oxygen. And it just parlays into something else. Something else. And before you know it, you’re finding things that you never thought you were grateful for. The smile from the cashier at the grocery store. The onion ring in your french fries. Little surprises that make your day just a little bit better. I do think gratitude is a big, big thing. Is. Do you have a diary? A gratitude journal?
[00:18:39] Kevin Headley: I don’t have a gratitude journal. Everybody’s a little bit different. Me, I’m pretty religious. And there’s times where I take, you know, for my morning prayer, I will not ask for anything. I will. I will go through all the things that I’m grateful for. And I think that that process in of itself, like you just said, it shifts your mindset. You know, a minute ago, I talked about comparison, right? And comparisons. That zero sum game. What do. What do. I don’t have? What’s. What’s wrong with me? What, all of that, the. The antidote to that is literally gratitude, right? And when you think about gratitude, your mind changes. I think. I think there’s actual chemical changes in your mind when you become grateful for things that you have or grateful for things that other people have or have done, that changes you. I’ve got a great quote that I heard a few weeks ago. I was actually trading it with that gentleman in the car when he told me about the thief of happiness is comparison. I told back to him, I said, hey, you will never be happier than you are grateful. Your happiness cannot outpace your gratitude.
[00:19:42] Karen Stones: That’s a good one. That’s, that. That is good. It’s almost impossible to have a limit on gratitude. Really. You can go all day long, every single minute, finding something to be grateful for, even in the worst of circumstances. So that. That is good. I like that. Who is this friend? He needs to come on the podcast.
[00:20:04] Kevin Headley: Well, it wasn’t his. It wasn’t his quote. But. But you think about, like, you know, we just. We just ended the holidays, right? And you think about the stories around Christmas, and you think about Scrooge, right? And when we think about Scrooge, we think about the beginning part of Scrooge, and we’ll even say, ah, you bah, humbug. You Scrooge. But we don’t always think about ending Scrooge. How Scrooge ended it, right. He was all about himself. He was not grateful. And then he went through these experiences. He became grateful for the things that he did have, and then he celebrated with others and. And extended that happiness and what a big change it was. Right. And, you know, that story, that redeeming story plays out in so many different movies and books and things that you see today, I think you think about that story, and it makes me happy. Right? Makes me happy that tiny Tim got what he needed and Bob Cratchit got a raise and all that fun stuff.
[00:20:59] Karen Stones: Definitely. Well, one of the things that I’ve realized, Kevin, is my happiness also closely correlates to the media that I’m consuming. And that even includes podcasts. I am a podcast junkie. I listen to them all day, everywhere, all the time. And I was listening to this podcast, and it was super negative about relationships, why they’re so hard and they suck, and good luck finding somebody. And I started realizing I was absorbing a lot of these concepts and ideas. And then I started thinking, what kind of music am I listening to right now? And I know you love music. It can change your mood. If you’re listening to something that’s dreadfully hardcore or angry or even really sad, some sort of sad country song. I have found that my music changes my mood, too. Even the tv shows and the movies I’m watching, all of those things have this, like, low level influence on how I make my way through the day. And there’s some sort of study, and I don’t remember which one. I’ll drop it into the show notes, but it suggests watching comedy every single day. What do you think about that?
[00:22:26] Kevin Headley: One of the things that’s been making me happy recently is my wife and I have been watching just episodes of Seinfeld. You know, it’s on Netflix. We’ll watch 20 minutes. And it’s just. It’s comedy, right? It’s just. It’s written for comedy. And you can’t not laugh at basically the whole 22 minutes episode. But you bring up a really good point about media, right? You talked in the beginning of this podcast about social media and the comparison effect that you. When you see everybody else having such a great time and you’re not, it almost like it magnifies that, right? And then all of a sudden, you. You get on these podcasts or you watch this. This show that. That is really dark and really down, and maybe. Maybe has depressing aspects. Not that you can’t watch those shows. Cause I think there’s still. There’s times where they’re entertaining and, you know, you can come back, but that type of stuff has an impact on us. Right? We. We’re exposed to content from the minute we wake up in the morning to the minute we go to bed at night. And watching that, choosing the content specifically for what we want to do, I mean, that’s one of the great ways to improve performance. You think about, you know, you think about the athletes that just played in the Super bowl, right? And do you think that they were listening to music to prepare to get out onto the field and just go crush it? You know, was. Patrick Mahomes? Did he have his headphones on? You bet he did. Right? I mean, there’s power in that. I’ve made a lot of sales calls and done a lot of presentations, and I do love listening to kickstart my heart by motley cru. Right. There’s just something about the beat, and it just gets my blood pumping, and I’m ready to go, right. And I go in and I’m there. Conversely, you’ve, you know that with everything that’s busy and going on, and I’ve actually kind of come back to an old school tune. It’s a bill Withers tune. It’s called lovely Day. Lovely day is just. It’s one of those songs that, you know, you just. You can’t not smile and feel good.
[00:24:19] Karen Stones: Yeah, I know somebody, a friend of mine from way back when at a high tech company I worked at, his name was Alex, and he was young and up and coming sales guy and dating, really trying to find the right gal to settle down with. And he told me before every date, he listened to eye of the tiger and actually, like, pumped himself up in front of the mirror, and he said he could go from, like, a b level energy to a plus. And I thought that was a pretty. Pretty unique thing that he did, is cheesy, but kind of cool.
[00:24:54] Kevin Headley: I love that. You know, he’s. He probably liked the Rocky movies, right? So he watched Rocky, and. And every story of Rocky, Rocky’s, he. He trains, then he experiences some hardship where he loses or something, there’s some problem, and then he trains harder again, and that’s when the song comes out, and then he goes to fight, and he eventually wins. Right? And. And that’s what we want to align ourselves with. And I think today it’s more becoming to be. To be more careful and selective of the media, because how many movies are being produced? Like. Like Rocky was, I think I think the media is just producing more and more depressing, angering, saddening things that are out there that. That you gotta find balance. You know, I talked about that variety. And in the weather, hey, people love the rain, but, you know, maybe. Maybe you need to fly somewhere else and. And climb. Climb a mountain in the snow, in the sun, or. Or hang. Hang your feet out in the water, at the beach. Right? I think there’s variety that’s needed in. In media, music, movies, podcasts, books. You need to find those ups and downs that. That can actually help you.
[00:25:59] Karen Stones: Do you think there’s such thing as excessive positivity?
[00:26:05] Kevin Headley: I think that there’s inauthentic positivity, and I think people see right through it immediately. Right. If you have some ulterior motive to be positive, I think people sense that and see it. But I do think that if you’re not feeling good and you’re down and you’re trying to be positive, I think there’s an authenticity in that, that people recognize, and they’ll actually help you. You know, let me. Let me share this with you. I’m a pretty positive guy, like you said. And I’ve actually had managers tell me about this, and people I work with tell me, they’re like, hey, you know, you’ve. You’re always so positive when you’re having a bad day. Everybody knows there’s, like, no hiding when you’re having a bad day. And I feel like I have people, like, they come up to me, they want to give me a hug. They’re like, hey, what’s going on? How can I help you, man? Keep your head up. It’s going to be all right. And so, like, you know, I said it earlier, but you put this positivity, this happiness out, and you’ll get it back. Like it’s. It’s coming back, right? All the time.
[00:27:03] Karen Stones: Yeah. I did this experiment, Kevin. I read about this, and it said, a smile can change everything. And I’ll link that article in the show notes so you can take a peek. But wherever you are right now, whether you’re driving or you’re folding laundry or you’re at the gym, smile to the next five people you come in contact with, even if you don’t know them, even if you’ll never see them again, I am telling you, it is contagious. I did that experiment in about 30 people that I smiled at. They started chatting. You know, the lady at the grocery store in the checkout line was telling me how she was a cancer survivor, and then I smiled at a parent when I was picking up my kids, and she said, hey, you know, my name is Lisa.
I’ve never met you before. So have you ever done that or done something like that?
[00:27:58] Kevin Headley: I love that you bring this up. It was a couple months ago. I’m flying home, and my flight was delayed, and I’m coming into Atlanta, and it’s after midnight, and the people movers were not moving. So it was a hike. Right? I was hiking from, like, the e terminal or d terminal all the way to a to leave. And when you leave out of the Atlanta airport, there is a long hallway, and then you’ll walk by one TSA person that sits in that hallway to try to keep people from. From going back. Right? And I’m walking down this long hallway. I see her sitting there. She’s got her head down. She’s really not. Not doing it. She didn’t look that happy. And I’m like, you know what? I’m going to give her, like, a big old smile. So I’m smiling at her. She’s still looking down. And kind of, at the last minute, she looks up, she sees me smile, and this cracks this huge smile across her face. It was late. I kept walking, and I thought, you know, I don’t know if that made a difference for her, but it made a difference for me. Just to see her smile made me even happier. And I’m like, I hope she tells that story or something like that. But I love that you’ve noticed when you smile, you make eye contact. You have this rich interaction with another human being. You feel good. You put the happiness out, and it just multiplies. And the whole of your happiness is greater than the sum of its parts of alone. That if you hadn’t shared that. I love that.
[00:29:21] Karen Stones: Morgan, we’ll give it a shot and let me know how it goes for you. I do think you’ll be surprised. So one of the things, Kevin, that I’ve seen in my personal life, and I identify as a pretty positive, happy person myself, is I need to really examine who I am, spending time with the people, and, you know, my friendships, I can choose and in other aspects of my social life. But sometimes you work with really difficult people or you have a crazy mother in law. How can people maintain this kind of base level of happiness even with really irritating people?
[00:30:06] Kevin Headley: Well, I was sharing you. Sharing with you, an irritating family member who manages to customize every order at every restaurant we go to. And that’s pretty rough for me, but I think the way to do that, Karen, is that everybody has some redeeming qualities right there. The people that have more, and we want to hang out with them the most. Right. But even that, that mother in law that you’re struggling to deal with or some co worker that’s just a snake and wants to backbite you all the time, you can find some redeeming quality and go, you know what? I can appreciate him or her because of that. And when you think of that, you can, you could be grateful that they have that quality. And that grateful can spur on your happiness. It changes your mindset. It moves from the things that you’re upset about or even angry about, and it moves it back to that gratitude that we talked about earlier that I think opens up that space between stimulus and response so that you can act in a way that you’re glad, that makes you happy.
[00:31:03] Karen Stones: Do you think there’s a big difference between happiness and joy? There’s a lot of conversation around that right now in the self help realm.
[00:31:13] Kevin Headley: I do. I do think there’s a difference between happiness and joy. I think. I think happiness can be, it can be fleeting, right? Like if you jumped off a cliff for a few seconds while you floated in the air, you might be happy, but you’re not going to experience long term joy. Right? That’s going to be, there’s going to be an end to that same, same thing with relationships, right? I mean, you know, you hear about people, they cheat on a spouse, right, or on a partner, and I’m sure during the process they might have experienced some sort of happiness in that process, but in the end, they’re probably not happy, and they’re certainly not happy with the partner that they put through that. And I think that’s how you start to figure out what the difference is between happy and joy, you know? Like, sure, I’m happy that I got a new guitar, but I’m much more joyful when I get a call from our daughter, who we just dropped off at college, and she’s like, oh, I had a great day at work. I accomplished these things. I felt really good. Wow, that’s different than, you know, playing my new guitar. I mean, playing my new guitar is great, but having those calls from your kids or from a family member or a loved one that, that just rocks your world makes you really happy. I think that’s kind of, that’s maybe a better definition of joy versus just kind of fleeting happiness.
[00:32:29] Karen Stones: Yeah, definitely. Well, Kevin, do you have any final thoughts here on, on how to be happy in this interesting age. Middle age.
[00:32:39] Kevin Headley: Yeah. Yeah, for sure. You know, uh, as. As a middle ager, whether you’re 35 or 64, anywhere in between, you know what? If. If you want to be happy, go serve somebody. You know, go serve somebody else. Look outside yourself. There’s plenty of things to do. And you just mentioned some. It’s as easy as a smile. It’s as easy as holding up a. Holding open a door, uh, for someone else. But you know what? Depending on your situation and where you’re at, it might be donating your time. You know, there’s. There’s a. There’s a great charity here, uh, in Peachtree City, Georgia, called Harvest Food bank. And, and we go down there with youth groups. We’ve gone down there with work groups, and you go serve. There’s no better feeling than coming out of there. You just. You feel great. And I think when you stop focusing on, again, the comparison of yourself and. And maybe what you don’t have and start focusing on someone else or some other people or some other cause that you’re working toward, it makes a huge difference in your life.
[00:33:37] Karen Stones: Kevin, one of the things that I like to do in every episode is end with some of my really terrible humor. So I’ve got, you know, your old when comments, and I want to see if you believe they’re true, if you found this true in your life. So, are you ready?
[00:33:59] Kevin Headley: I am ready. Let’s go.
[00:34:01] Karen Stones: You know your middle age when you won’t text somebody after 09:00 p.m. But you will text them as early.
[00:34:09] Kevin Headley: As 06:00 a.m., oh, man, I totally do that. I totally do that. Like, text that, come in at night. I mean, sometimes I’ll get to them. Usually I’ll put them away. And I’m on the east coast, so I’ve got a good friend. He’s in New Mexico. And sure enough, I’ll. I’ll be up in the morning and see something as I’m getting ready, and shoot, I’m sending it out before 06:00 a.m. And he’s getting it even earlier. And, you know, I’m like, hey, you don’t have to wake up to it. I mean, you don’t have to do that.
[00:34:34] Karen Stones: Yeah, yeah. See, I think that’s pretty true. I don’t know about you listeners, but that is something tried and true. There’s this, you know, line, and I think there’s a Seinfeld episode about this, about calling after nine. If I remember correctly, there’s some sort of comedy or sitcom about that. But that one I can almost guarantee most of you agree with. Are you ready for number two?
[00:34:59] Kevin Headley: I’m ready for. I’m ready for number two.
[00:35:02] Karen Stones: Not only are you strangely talking about, but you’re almost obsessed with the weather. In fact, you even look at the Doppler radar.
[00:35:13] Kevin Headley: Wow.
So me, I’m not. I mean, I. Weather. Yeah, I look at the. I’ll look at the weather if I need to. Like, if I know I’m gonna do something where the weather’s involved, I’ll look at it. But I am not looking at the weather. Right. I mean, shoot, I’m. I’m looking at sales figures before I do anything in the morning. I’m like, what orders came in yesterday? Where are we at with our sales numbers? Before I’m looking at the weather. But that’s just me.
[00:35:39] Karen Stones: Yeah. Yeah. I was just telling somebody, I used to pick up purchase orders off a fax machine. That’s maybe, you know, your old one.
[00:35:48] Kevin Headley: You know your old.
[00:35:48] Karen Stones: Picked up purchase orders on a fax machine.
[00:35:51] Kevin Headley: Yeah. Yeah. And it. And it didn’t fall on the floor because you had to tear it off the roll of paper. That’s when you know you’re old, when you’re pulling that off a fax machine.
[00:35:59] Karen Stones: Oh, man. Yeah. Goodness. All right, well, thank you, everyone. Thank you, Kevin. It is so good to have you here. We can’t wait to have you back, and we will chat with you soon.
[00:36:11] Kevin Headley: Thanks, Karen. Loved it.
[00:36:14] Karen Stones: And that brings us to the end of another episode. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. Okay, so if you haven’t already, make sure to hit that subscribe button so you never miss another episode. If you’re loving what you hear, I would be incredibly grateful if you took just a moment to rate and review this show on your favorite podcast platform. It helps others discover us, and it’s a great place to share your thoughts, suggestions, and ideas for future episodes. For even more exclusive content and detailed show notes, check out our website at thirtyfivesixtyfour.com. As always, a huge, huge thank you for spending time with me today during this episode. I appreciate that you tuned in. I’m going to leave you the same way I do every episode. Remember, it’s not too late, you’re not too old, and you’re definitely not dead. Okay, until next time, friends.

  • Mary Cook

    Mary Cook, also known as “MC” and “Mother Mary,” is heralded as one of the world’s few content whisperers. She is the creative force and Marcom Director at ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Armed with a degree in English from UCLA, Mary is not just your average wordsmith—she’s a grammar nerd with a penchant for storytelling that captivates and resonates.

    Born into a big, close-knit family with seven siblings, Mary is committed to keeping family connections and gatherings alive with boisterous fun and games. Mary brings a lot of energy to everything she does. She’s as dedicated to her role as Marcom Director as she is to her role as favorite auntie to her 22 crazy, loving nieces and nephews.

    A life-long athlete, Mary’s passion for sports has transformed into a love for the adrenaline rush. When she’s not weaving words for our podcasts, you’ll find her carving waves on a jet ski or navigating desert trails in her RZR. Mary’s adventurous spirit is as diverse as her ability to craft compelling narratives for our audience.

    In a world that often craves attention, Mary thrives behind the scenes. Her meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence are the driving forces that elevate our Marcom strategy. As the wordsmith-in-chief, Mary ensures that every piece of communication reflects the essence of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour.

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About the Author

Mary Cook, also known as “MC” and “Mother Mary,” is heralded as one of the world’s few content whisperers. She is the creative force and Marcom Director at ThirtyFiveSixtyFour. Armed with a degree in English from UCLA, Mary is not just your average wordsmith—she’s a grammar nerd with a penchant for storytelling that captivates and resonates.

Born into a big, close-knit family with seven siblings, Mary is committed to keeping family connections and gatherings alive with boisterous fun and games. Mary brings a lot of energy to everything she does. She’s as dedicated to her role as Marcom Director as she is to her role as favorite auntie to her 22 crazy, loving nieces and nephews.

A life-long athlete, Mary’s passion for sports has transformed into a love for the adrenaline rush. When she’s not weaving words for our podcasts, you’ll find her carving waves on a jet ski or navigating desert trails in her RZR. Mary’s adventurous spirit is as diverse as her ability to craft compelling narratives for our audience.

In a world that often craves attention, Mary thrives behind the scenes. Her meticulous attention to detail and commitment to excellence are the driving forces that elevate our Marcom strategy. As the wordsmith-in-chief, Mary ensures that every piece of communication reflects the essence of ThirtyFiveSixtyFour.

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