“I’m never happy” How using his strengths helps Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy

You can learn a lot about a person in less than a minute. Consider this interview with Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy between the first and second quarter of the fourth game of the 2009 NBA Playoffs against the Philadelphia Seventy-Sixers:

Reporter: “Defensively are you happy?”

Stan Van Gundy: “No. I’m never happy.”

And he wasn’t kidding, he doesn’t ever seem to be happy. Emotional yes, upset yes, happy no.

Do you know people like this, that no matter what good happens, it’s not enough, they’re never happy? I bet you do, and there’s a part of me (and perhaps you) that’s like that too.

Happiness research tells us that we all pretty much have our pre-set level of happiness. Stan Van Gundy’s is set pretty low. Does this mean people like Stan lead a bleak existence?

The answer is no, thanks to the power of strengths. When you use your strengths, you enter a state of flow. You are lost in what you are doing, there is no self-awareness until after you have left that state. When you’re in this zone, you are actually in an emotion-less state. You are all-consumed.

When Stan Van Gundy coaches, he’s lost in the moment. He’s in the zone. He’s using his talents to be at his best. He’s not happy, but he’s fulfilled.

This is the beauty of strengths – their power is available to all of us equally, to use and make our lives richer regardless of our preset level of happiness. If you know someone who’s never happy, focus on their talents and help them put them into action. If you’re not feeling happy and want to take a break from feeling that way, focus on your talents. A powerfully rich life awaits.

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