Tony Hsieh (pronounced shay) is the CEO of Zappos, an incredibly popular online shoe site. In his book Delivering Happiness, Hsieh walks through his entrepreneur career in an informal and biographical way that draws the reader (or listener) in and is very encouraging to anyone hoping to bet on themselves and find success. Hsieh’s journey to a current net worth of $840 million is not purely a tale of “hard work pays off” nor is it the story of “the underdog winning the championship”. Hsieh’s business biography up to the point of this writing is exciting and stems back to his youth. As a dad of two young boys I wonder if I have the courage, and trust, to let my sons experiment with success the same way Hsieh’s parents allowed him to try several money making ideas before even graduating high school.
It feels to me as though there are two themes that hold true throughout this book. The first being that wholeheartedly committing to your dreams is worth it. The second being that pursuing happiness and commitment to helping others find happiness is a good model to achieve success. I was occasionally mocked through high school and college for my frugal nature and can make a pair of shoes last many years beyond being considered fashionable. This being said I was tempted while listening to this book to contact Zappos and try out a new pair of shoes. It was not a flashy deal, or hot sale that caught my attention, but rather how Hsieh describes the effort the Zappos culture encourages to take an extra step to make the customer happy that had me considering a new pair of kicks.
Coupled with reading The Happiness Advantage earlier this year, I am really buying into this notion that to achieve happiness, as Shawn Achor puts it, “the formula needs to be flipped”. Rather than striving for a big paycheck (or some kind of higher material status) and then hoping to end up happy, we should be doing what makes us happy and will end up a success because of this focus on doing what we enjoy. Each of us has a tremendous amount of value to add to the lives of those around us, and it would be great to make a difference in some way, each and every day. Find what makes you happy and pursue it with all you’ve got! Peace.