Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.
~ Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica
Twenty years ago, I stood on a hotel balcony high above a beach in Mexico, despondent. Down below, I saw my friends frolicking. I had many reasons to be happy – the sun was shining, the mood was festive, and life seemed full of possibilities. Still in my twenties, I was a self-made multimillionaire with a loving family and a promising future. Up to that point, I had always thought that I’d arrive at material wealth and find abiding happiness waiting for me, a natural by-product of my success. However, while standing on that balcony, I felt an unmistakable emptiness inside, and I couldn’t understand why. I had all this money, I had all these skills, I had this incredible résumé… but I was miserable. As I stood there thinking of what to do, I suddenly realized that my belief that happiness accompanied success wasn’t true. I thought of Thomas Aquinas’s words in Summa Theologica, quoted on the chapter title page. What, then, would I have to believe, desire, and do to be happy? To understand where I wanted to be, I knew that I had to reflect on my life to better understand where I was. And since this book is the essence of what I learned then and since, I will briefly share my story……….
And despite all this, there I found myself, standing on that balcony in Mexico, with a lifetime of award-winning transformational change and breakthrough capabilities development experience at the highest levels. How ironic, I thought, that I had spent a career transforming organizations and their people by helping them develop breakthrough capabilities to achieve transformational change, and here I was, not happy with my own situation and needing transformational change myself. My own experience had now confirmed that happiness wasn’t merely a by-product of material success – it had to be consciously pursued on its own. So, I resolved to make happiness my primary life goal going forward, there and then. But how would I make happiness my primary life goal when I had always been primarily driven by achievement, advancement, and material success? How could I make such a transformational change in myself?
I knew that principles of human behavior in organizations could also be applied to human behavior in general because organizational behavior/management was one of my majors when I received my Master of Business Administration (MBA). And then I had an epiphany – I would use my proven expertise in successfully achieving transformational change and breakthrough capabilities improvement in my employees, developed throughout my career at various world-leading companies, to my individual situation. I would personally go through transformational change by learning and developing the pertinent breakthrough capabilities to be happy for myself the same way I had for others. I believed that since wealth hadn’t produced happiness, I had to pursue happiness independently, and that path would diverge from prosperity, just as the path to prosperity had diverged from happiness. I was fine with that because I felt I already had enough money for my needs, and what I needed instead of more wealth was happiness. I was ready to make the tradeoff between wealth and happiness. However, along the way, I unexpectedly learned that when you make positivity and happiness as your ultimate goals, superior performance and success in attaining other life goals – such as prosperity or career advancement – are often the unintended by-products. In addition to finding mostly abiding happiness and contentment, I went on to, and currently lead, a group of 22 companies in precious gem–mining services, including mine construction, operations, drilling, explosives, reclamation and remediation, logistics, general, bulk, and heavy-haul freight, and aviation, which won back-to-back Pinnacle Awards for Business Excellence from Excellence Canada on behalf of the Governor-General of Canada. I also own, or have owned, companies in mining, real estate, construction, recycling, refining, 3D printing, sports, advanced manufacturing, and management consulting. Greater success has followed my quest for happiness.
Okay, enough about my life for now. Believe it or not, I rarely talk about it this much, but it was necessary to set the stage for the book, and in many cases, it is necessary in the context of what the book teaches! Now that we have learned about my background in transformational change, we’ll soon get into the details of how I achieved and applied it in my life, and how you can in yours. But before that, I would like to share one last thought. During my twenty-year journey to happiness and writing this book, I also learned that improving happiness, success, life satisfaction, life experiences, performance, and results had much more to do with multiple specks of gold, rather than one big gold nugget or catch all solution, as brought home best by the fascinating Parable of the Gold Prospector.
THE GOLD PROSPECTOR
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE PARABLE BY MIRZA BARLAS
During the Klondike gold rush, a young man named Jack went prospecting for gold. His destination was a river reputedly full of big gold nuggets. After a long and arduous journey, he finally got to the river. Full of excitement, he raced to the water, immediately dipping his pan deep into it. But instead of large nuggets, Jack brought up only rocks. He threw the rocks away and dipped his pan into the river again. Once again, all he got were rocks. Although he kept at it diligently, he found no nuggets, endlessly bringing up only rocks.
Hours turned into days, days into weeks, and weeks into months.
Jack didn’t find a single gold nugget. Eventually, convinced he’d failed, he decided to quit. Just as he was leaving, an old prospector showed up, carrying an enormous pouch of gold. As they chatted, Jack complained that he hadn’t found a single gold nugget.
The prospector felt sorry for Jack, and he decided to help him. He told Jack to dip his pan into the water again. Sure he’d find nothing, Jack obliged. Sure enough, he came up with only rocks, just as he’d expected. He was about to throw the rocks back into the river when the old prospector asked Jack to give him two of the rocks.
Curious, Jack handed them over to him. The old prospector smashed them hard against each other, and one of the rocks cracked open. Inside, glinting in the sunlight, were several specks of gold.
“I know there are bits of gold inside the rocks, but I’m trying to get nuggets like you have in your pouch,” said an exasperated Jack.
The old prospector smiled and opened his bag. When Jack leaned over and looked inside, he was stunned. There were no nuggets – instead, specks of gold filled the entire bag. The old prospector said, “My son, you’re so busy looking for the large nuggets of gold, you’re ignoring the almost unlimited supply of these precious specks. They can fill your pouch just like they fill mine. These little specks have brought me great wealth and can bring you the same.”
6 Mega Life-Transforming Hacks: Maximize Your Life Satisfaction, Experiences, and Results, comprises the pertinent “specks of gold” to maximize your happiness, success, life satisfaction, experiences, and results. Each chapter teaches a specific breakthrough ability and associated mega life-transforming hack. You are shown exactly how to go about it not only at the highest theoretical level, but practically, in a methodical, step-by-step manner that is easy for anyone to understand and execute…….
At the end of every chapter are the chapter’s “specks of gold” and the relevant “mega life-transforming hack” to capitalize on the breakthrough ability taught in the chapter. You are also provided with yet further resources for you to advance your learning even more, because, as the saying in martial arts goes, “A true master never thinks themselves a master.”