You may read or hear results, from time to time, regarding national surveys designed to identify “The Happiest People in America.” Numerous credible publishers, as well as regional and national media organizations annually conduct such surveys using a variety of tools, methods and resources.
Surprising to many people, the results of these surveys more often than not point to people of the Amish faith as the “Happiest People in America.” This conclusion seems totally contrary to modern-day logic and aspirations regarding “success.” This conclusion literally flies-in-the-face concerning the way most American’s believe, live (action speaks so much louder than words) and strive to become happy, fulfilled, content and “successful.”
How could people, who go out of their way to avoid most modern-day conveniences and technology, be the happiest people in America? How could people who intentionally endure a 2 hour buggy ride that can be accomplished in 10 minutes in an automobile be the happiest people in the world? How could people, most of whom reject electricity, radios, TVs, computers, BlackBerrys, the Internet and automobiles be the happiest people in America? How is this possible?
The answer, I believe, is all about values. Regardless of how you feel or what you think regarding the Amish faith and the Amish people, one thing is crystal clear. Every aspect of their lives is carefully and intentionally intertwined with and evaluated based on the values they believe are most important. You may disagree with their values and priorities, but most Amish people have clearly identified and are totally committed to their clearly articulated values.
I recently had the opportunity to spend some quality time in and around one the largest Amish communities in America. Everything is not perfect for sure. They have their problems and issues, as we all do. However, I found the Amish to be very friendly and very happy people. From little children to old men and women, they have a smile on their face, a song in their heart, an enthusiastic spark in their step and a sincere and welcoming greeting for all who treat them with dignity and respect. They seem at peace and very content with the life they have chosen… including all the ramifications of that choice. Strikingly different from what one finds in most communities across America and around the world. Strikingly, and obviously very different in a number of positive ways!
So what about you? Do you have crystal clear values and priorities to which you are totally committed? Can you articulate those values and priorities as if you had written and totally committed to them yesterday? Do they permeate, dominate and literally drive your personal, professional and organizational life and actions? Are they the basis on which you evaluate your personal, professional and organizational life? Are they the basis on which you determine your success, or lack thereof, and your contributions and value in life?
Be assured that your values and priorities do indeed permeate, dominate and literally drive your personal, professional and organizational life. Your values and priorities do indeed determine your success, or lack thereof, and your contributions and value in life. The only question is… have you very carefully and thoughtfully chosen… and then committed to the values and priorities most important to you? Have you chosen and committed to those values and priorities that will take you to where you want to go… to who you want to be… to what you want to accomplish… to the legacy you wish to leave?
Regardless of how you feel or what you think of people of the Amish faith, you can learn a lot from them… as you can with all people!
And now of course… it’s up to you.