Narrative connections

Smile From Within

Smile From Within

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I have no issue with someone who wants to try new things like dieting or traveling more. These are admirable initiatives, but you cannot change how happy you are without committing to tried and true values of the past. New experiences matter but the values of kindness, hard work and honesty go back to the dawn of time.

As you might imagine, having me as a father is no picnic. It seems as if I am always preaching to my kids about life and lessons. It has to drive them nuts but I am hopeful that they know it comes from a place of love. All the eye rolls and the sighs will be worth it as long as a couple pearls take hold in their lives.

So, as is customary, I wrote each of them a little note to start the year off with encouragement. As I was reminding them of what’s really important in life, I realized how cathartic it was for me. After sharing and encouraging them, I was starting to feel pretty good. So, maybe there is something to the idea of serving others or, at least, putting the focus on others resulting in good feelings for ourselves.

The message to the kids, and now to all of you, is that your life is getting exciting and doors will open as long as you live according to two beautiful rules. First is the “Attitude of Gratitude,” which reminds us to look at things through empathetic and hopeful eyes. In turn, believe that good things are ahead and be thankful for everything that you have in life.

An attitude of gratitude allows you to smile from the inside out. In other words, when you engage the world in a positive way and serve others, you feel it in your heart and others will see it in your eyes. So, while it is not a new concept, maybe 2022 offers us a chance to start smiling from within. My hope is that embracing gratefulness will change the world—it most certainly cannot hurt.

The second point, which is remarkably redundant for all of you, is to strive for a better version of ourselves each and every day. Being the buffalo—a constant mantra from me—means that you have to want the ball in the final seconds. It means that you are endeavoring to grow physically, mentally and spiritually when nobody is watching. It means that you are willing to charge through a storm by taking action and dictating the narrative of your life. And you’ll be on the other side of disappointment, anger and frustration sooner rather than later.

As an example, my daughter recently had a goal she has worked tirelessly for ripped away at the eleventh hour. Needless to say, she was feeling pretty low through the holidays. After allowing her some time to feel sad, I came back to her with one of my silly analogies that emphasized how we must shake ourselves off and step forward. No matter what pain or setback we face in 2022, it is best to view it as a test of both our attitude and our resiliency, otherwise known as our “buffaloness.”

My message for the new year is not to resolve for new habits, but rather to engage with principles that have worked over the course of time. Instill values that matter, think about others and enjoy the resulting happiness. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how frustrating the last couple years has been, but it still is not permission to carry ourselves too heavily. We can carry ourselves lighter, look after one another and smile from the inside out.

Happy New Year

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Mark Potter

Founder / Consultant

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