“Happiness radiates like the fragrance from a flower and draws all good things towards you”. –Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
The title of this book “The Happiest Piano Teacher in Town” begs the question, what does it mean to be happy?
This is the definition from vocabulary.com:
“Happiness is that feeling that comes over you when you know life is good and you can’t help but smile. It’s the opposite of sadness. Happiness is a sense of well-being, joy, or contentment. When people are successful, or safe, or lucky, they feel happy.”
I like this definition. Let’s pick it apart and see how it could pertain to our job—the job of piano teaching.
“when… life is good and you can’t help but smile.”
I know this feeling. It’s the feeling you get when your student has a great performance. It’s the waves of joy that wash over you when a parent thanks you for all you have done for his child. It’s the warm glow of accomplishment you get when a student talks about how you have made a difference in her life. It’s the feeling you get when you are just about to turn out the lights in your studio after a long day of teaching, exhausted yet exhilarated because you know you have a job that matters.
“Happiness is a sense of well-being…”
For me, “well-being” would be the absence of conflict in my studio. Well-being is the sense that my business is running smoothly and I can meet my financial needs. The sense that my students are learning and their parents are happy. I look forward to meeting with them each day. I genuinely like them and I feel that they like me as well.
“… a sense of joy or contentment.”
For me, this is really important. I conservatively estimate that I have taught 47, 250 lessons so far in my lifetime. That’s a lot of lessons! I am still teaching and plan to for a long, long time! Having a sense of joy means I love what I am doing. But it is a choice that I make every day. I choose to seek reasons to feel joyful rather than feed feelings of frustration, overwhelm or just plain boredom.
A sense of feeling successful
I believe success means that I am doing my job well, getting paid fairly, and positively impacting my student’s lives. It means that I am able to do my work and lead a balanced life. I also feel that I have the respect of my colleagues, my students and their parents, and most of all I respect myself.
A sense of feeling safe
Feeling safe is not just being free from harm. Feeling safe is also about feeling secure. To feel secure is to feel confident and free from worry. It is the inner-assurance that tomorrow will be OK. For me that means that I will have plenty of students, I will be well-regarded in my community. I will find new and innovative ways to get through to my students. If a problem should arise, I will be able to figure out how to handle it.
A sense of feeling lucky
Lucky, hmm… That’s a tough one to unpack. But let’s try. My Italian grandfather had a saying: “You make your own luck.” In fact, he told me this quite often. I am certainly blessed by many things that I did little or nothing to earn or deserve such as good health, family and friends, and the fact that my parents sent me to piano lessons. I am not sure I believe in luck. What I do believe in is perspective. I do believe I choose my perspective—that is, how I see and react to everything in my life. So do we make our own luck? I believe the answer is yes. Every time I choose a positive perspective, I am opening the pathway for a positive outcome.
Stay Tuned the book. “The Happiest Piano Teacher in Town” is coming soon.
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