Brian used to be the night doorman at my building a few days a week. He would come there straight from his other job as a super from a building across the way near Flatbush and 7th. Some days he probably put 12, 13 hours of work in. Let me tell you, Brian always had the brightest smile on his face and was always so kind and friendly, “everything alright” he would ask me in his thick Jamaican accent. His graying dread locks flowing. “I’m alright Brian, I would apply. At times he could tell that I had something on my mind, he would say “everything gonna be alright mon”, as he was dribbling a soccer ball. Rain or shine he plays soccer every weekend. One day on my way to work, I passed Brian on the street throwing away trash from his building at around 7 am. He had already been at work for a couple of hours, but there he was the bright smile and the always present, “hey, you alright mon?” I said yay, but I got a question. I asked Brian, what’s the secret to your happiness? He put his hand on my shoulder, laughed and said, “just be happy mon”.
As I walked away I didn’t necessarily fell like I had gotten the in depth formula for happiness I was foolishly hoping for. Later in the day, I had a meeting with my boss. He had wondered why I did not complete an assignment, I gently reminded him that I had not received the passwords that he said he was going to send me in order to log on and do the assignment. (Which by the way I did not have the passwords because my position was not authorized to have the passwords meaning I was being asked to do my bosses job.) My boss then reminded me that I needed to be more resourceful and that this was the dreaded “top priority”. My boss’s tone had become tense and I could see the impatience in his eyes. He then reiterated how unhappy he was with me because I did not complete the assignment. At this point I was getting agitated. However, instead of letting myself get frustrated, I took a couple of slow deep breathes, especially taking my time on the exhale. Then I thought about what Brian had said, “just be happy mon!!” So instead of getting all bent out of shape, I decided to make the decision to “just be happy mon”. Instantly, I felt a shift inside of me. It was almost as if my negative feelings had evaporated and now I felt a certain calm and ease. My boss’s comments just didn’t have the steam they had a few minutes prior.
I understood what Brian was saying; happiness is a choice that you can make over and over again. It is a personal choice that doesn’t always require a deep formula or external events to go perfectly. In fact if you wait for external events to go perfectly, happiness may never come. This small situation with my boss was the first time I began to understand what is meant by happiness comes from within. Thank you Brian Mon, everything alright!!