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  • Writer's pictureMarty Jalove

The AHA Moment

Board full of nails - Master Happiness with Marty Jalove

When I was little, my dad used to pound a handful of nails about a quarter way into an old piece of wood. It was a way for me to practice hammering. I would sit on the ground carefully trying to knock those nails all the way in. I had to hold that hammer with both hands and swing with all my might. I missed the nails almost all of the time, hitting the wood and sending it flying. I really wanted to drive them in, but I just couldn’t see how.

When I got frustrated, my dad would stop what he was doing and squat down next to me. He would reassure me that I was doing a great job. He said that it was going to take patience and practice, and the stronger I got, the easier it would get.

Pig with Hammer - Master Happiness with Marty Jalove

He also spoke about positive anticipation. Imagining and picturing hitting the nail on the head and feeling a little extra happiness and success with every swing. He explained to me that when we miss, it’s easy to become frustrated. And the more frustrated we get, the easier it is for us to miss. When we allow ourselves to get frustrated, we focus on the negatives, potential failures, and anticipated mistakes. We focus on missing the nail and missing the nail is what we do.


Years later I found myself the Customer Service Manager at a small manufacturing company. We didn’t use wood and nails there; we used sheet metal and screws. One day, I had to have a difficult conversation about damaged products with an obviously irate customer. I just knew it wasn’t going to go well. The more I thought about this meeting the more frustrated I became. I didn’t want a fight, but I was sure that I was in for one.

I went to his office prepared for him to fly off the handle. He looked at my scowling red face, and to my surprise, politely asked if everything was okay. He told me that he had asked for me specifically because I was usually such a happy guy and was anticipating a friendly conversation. He said not to worry about the problem, he was sure that we could solve it together. He just didn’t understand why I was so upset and wanted to know if there was anything that he could do to help. I really misread him.

It was then that I had my AHA Moment (Anticipate Happiness, ALWAYS!). We will always face difficult tasks, tough conversations, improbable obstacles. Facing them with a defeatist attitude will never help. Worrying doesn’t solve the problems of tomorrow, it just robs us of the joys of today. In every interaction that we approach, we can envision the outcome negatively or positively. Anticipating happiness doesn’t always solve the problem but it always makes the problem easier to solve.

It takes patience and practice to learn this skill, but I believe that you can nail it.

The AHA Moment

As seen in Stroll, Hawthorn Woods CC Magazine. Follow “Bacon Bits with Master Happiness” on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, Audible, or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.

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Marty Jalove of Master Happiness is a Corporate Coach, Business Consultant, and Marketing Strategist that helps small businesses, teams, and individuals find focus, feel fulfilled, and have fun. Master Happiness stresses the importance of realistic goal setting, empowerment, and accountability in order to encourage employee and customer engagement and retention.

The secret is simple: Happy Employees attract Happy Customers and Happy Customers come back with Friends.

Learn more about Tackle, Table, Teach, or Trash at Master Happiness:

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