Momentarily Happy

Momentarily Happysm

By Douglas D. Germann, Sr.
(c) © Copyright 2000, Learning Works, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

“Payroll is tomorrow, and we have less than half what we need!”

The words strike terror in your heart as the owner of a small business.

Or, “Sorry to wake you, but Dad just went into the hospital—it’s serious this time.” Wouldn’t that get to you?

Is there any way to survive in the face of such crises—maybe even be happy? I’m beginning to think there is.


What are your goals? What do you want of life? Let’s say you answered “more money.” (I’ll bet whatever your answer I can get you to change it in a minute.) Why more money? “Because it will buy me more leisure, a nicer house, a better car.” Well, then why do you want those things? “So then I will be happy.” Aha! There we have your real motivation.

Happiness is one of our most underrated goals.

If happiness is so basic to our desires, why keep it subliminal? Instead let’s be audacious and give it its due place … expressly.


Did it ever dawn on you, you can make yourself happy, now?

For at least the last 10 years, I’ve counted dollars as I went through the day: When I recorded each little slice of billable time, I’d also record it on my daily calendar in dollars. That way I could see how well the day was going by simply adding up the dollars, and comparing to what I needed each day.

So much logic. So much help in reaching my goals. So much immediate feedback.

So much pressure.

Every time I’d get “interrupted” by a client call for non-billable help, I’d resent it and get angry.

If I was “interrupted” 2 or 3 times in short succession, I’d start letting the receptionist know how I felt.

It was not a happy time for anyone. Secretaries got discouraged. I felt guilty for the way I’d treated my co-workers. And my stomach complained to the doctor about it several times!

It must have affected my head, too, because it took me 10 years to figure it out.

I still don’t know what made me zero in on dollar counting, but I dropped that practice, cold turkey.

Funny thing: I didn’t immediately go broke. My co-workers started smiling at me. (Maybe they knew something I didn’t?) Even my stomach stopped dragging me to the doctor as often. And that made me happy.

Do you count things? Sales calls? Some other daily activity?

Maybe you’d be happier abandoning the drill. Happiness can free you to be more creative and productive.


In this country we live 90% of our time in the future (“Payroll is tomorrow…”, “How will I ever get it all done?”, “What will they think of me?”); 9.5% in the past (“If only I had…”, “Why did it happen to me?”); and only one half of one per cent in the present.

By our thoughts of past and future, we keep ourselves unhappy in the present. If we keep it up, we’ll never reach happy.


Truth is, we cannot control what happens, will happen, or did happen to us. But we can control our responses. In that lies total control of our lives. We can be happy if we choose. Choosing is the key.

In fact this little moment, as you are reading and as I am writing, is all we ever have, it’s all we can control, and it’s the only place we can be happy.

Try it: chuckle out loud—it’ll make others wonder about you. It’s our little secret. And you were happy for that moment, right? See?—it works.

The past exists only in memory. The future exists only in imagination. Only this moment is real. Our whole life is only a string of present moments. The moment is the only thing permanent.

Therefore, the only way to live to the fullest, more abundantly, is to live fully, more abundantly, now.

Happiness is only in the moment. Be happy momentarily.
Dare to try it! Live more richly. Paint your canvas from the whole palette. Be happy now.


  • Tip number 1: A few years ago, we had a particularly stressful day in our office. There were too many deadlines, too much overtime, for too many days in a row. I called Linda: “It’s an emergency! Get some noisemakers and party hats!”

    Twenty minutes later, my inventive wife showed up with those items, some confetti and streamers, and a birthday cake. (It wasn’t anybody’s birthday).

    We closed the door, put on our hats, and buzzed everybody to come to the conference room.

    The surprise made the day! We partied cacophonously for 10 minutes, and went back to our tasks rejuvenated. The glow of our fun lasted many days.

    So the first tip for those of you wanting to be happy momentarily is, throw a party! You don’t need a reason—or even an excuse!

  • The second tip is be more aware. Stop. Really see your surroundings. Bet you can find something truly amazing (and fun!) inside of 10 seconds.

    What’s that smell? Look how colorful the fly is that’s buzzing your computer screen. Notice the profusion of plants, flowers, and animals around a river or park next time you drive near one.

  • Tip number 3: Seek out things to be happy about. Thank your spouse for the wonderful dinner he provided. Tickle your child/grandchild/spouse/boss. Look at the stars in the nighttime sky with someone you love.

    Need some clues? Look for the 6 Ws always around you: Who, What, Where, When, Why and Wow!

    In short, be happy on purpose.

  • Tip number 4: See the happiness in tough situations, too. There is no law you must have a long face in trying times. A smile on your face might make the load lighter—or even reveal a hidden blessing.

    I recently read about a father called away from work to his son’s auto accident scene.

    The father arrived in time to climb into the ambulance with his son. On the ride, he told his son that he didn’t know what the future held, all they had was now. He had his son try out fingers and toes to see what worked. Then they talked over things they could be happy about: having time together; having a loving mother and wife, the pain allowing the son to concentrate on the conversation. They did some relaxation exercises together.

    When they got to the hospital, they realized they had grown closer by what they had shared: Even an ambulance ride gave them a happy gift.

  • Tip 5: Be grateful. Be thankful for all you do have: Two good arms, 10 wiggly toes, people who love you.

  • Tip 6: Just be. Stand in the present and observe. “Wherever you are, be all there.”

  • Tip 7: Make the people around you happy. It rubs off—see if it doesn’t!

    Replace “Have a nice day” with “Make it a happy day.”

    Saint-Exupéry wrote: “We are the children of the age of comfort, yet we are filled with an inexpressible happiness when we share our last crust with others in the desert.”

    We are most profoundly happy when we are helping others, making them happy. The only in-depth, lasting happiness is to share it with others, and to be happy in God’s presence.


You can never be happy until you’re happy now.

Start the day deciding to be happy. Each moment you think of it, decide to be happy just for that moment.

Practice being momentarily happy. Let me know what happens.

Douglas D. Germann, Sr. works with people who want more meaning in their lives and with organizations who want to grow their leaders. For permission to reprint contact Doug at 574/291-0022, or e-mail Doug AT

Published in: | | on September 5th, 2005 | No Comments »
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