Time. Happiness. Anyone Want More? – by Paul Alves

I’ve been more focused on time recently. It started when my Mother passed 14 years ago. For the first time, I realized we often think we have more time than we might. I was one that always looked forward to the next thing, the next goal. The more expense car, the bigger home, to more luxurious vacations. I now understand my Mother was spot on when she told me, “You know Paulie, that’s all just a bunch of stuff” when referring to the material things I desired to achieve “success.” My Mother was an incredible woman—a brilliant restaurateur, artist, a Woman for All Seasons. I hope she’s looking down and can see that I finally got it: the race to acquire more “stuff” is a sure path towards unhappiness. The acquisition of stuff requires an “expensive” tradeoff of time to work and pay for it.

So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about time, stuff, and happiness.

Recently, I took an opportunity to take some time off. At first it was awesome. Summertime in Jamestown, RI where I live is spectacular. The plan was to take a few weeks to rest, relax, do lots of reading and yoga, go to the beach with my beautiful wife Shannon, and then I’d get back to it. After all, I had to reach that next goal, didn’t I? Maybe I’d buy that new snazzy convertible I’ve had my eye on. Well, a few weeks turned into a few months. I was astonished, because the conventional wisdom was that I’d have been going stir crazy without the professional goals I had always thrived on. Shannon told me I needed the rest and she was right: I hadn’t realized how hard I’d always pushed myself. Smart woman my wife.

I wondered, would I be just as happy with a lot less “stuff” and more time with my family? Turns out the answer was absolutely yes! Thanks Mom.

That fall life presented us with the biggest challenge of our lives. My older son, Noah, came down with Mono, which then developed into a condition called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. So it was a blessing that I had a lot of time, because it took every shred of my and Shannon’s physical, mental and emotional energy to help Noah back to health. I am beyond grateful that he’s made a full recovery and is healthier than ever. It was during the darkest hours of his more than yearlong recovery that I thought a lot about time and its relationship with happiness. Was my time with my beautiful son going to be over much too soon? Was I only going to get 16 or 17 years with him? Alas, we too often foolishly think we have more time than we do.

Boy, you really just don’t know. My Mother was 64, in seemingly good health, and POOF, just two weeks later she was gone. Noah was a typical high school kid—one minute full of energy and passion for life, the next, he’d lost 35 pounds, was exhausted and depressed. You really just don’t know, do you…?

It got me thinking a lot about time; more importantly, how important it is to maximize time. Not for efficiency, not for the purpose of reaching goals and acquiring “stuff,” but for the opportunity to create and maintain happiness. Our family had it for so long that we began to take it for granted. Well, no longer. I’d had it and lost it; I was going to get it back, and this time I was going to guard it with everything I had.

So I Googled “happiness,” and off I went on my quest to discover what makes people happy. Why are some, who seemingly have it all, miserable, while others, who have nothing and seemingly have every reason to be miserable, enjoy each day as if it were a gift from God? Well, my interpretation is that the happiest people take advantage of time. They enjoy being in the present, they don’t worry about what may or may not happen in the future, they don’t fret about the past. Ever wonder why dogs are so happy? They are totally present. I recently heard my younger son, Hayden, tell Shannon, who was worrying about something that “could” happen, “You know what Dad says, ‘worrying is like praying for something you don’t want to happen.’” Who knew he was listening? What a great moment.

The big lesson for me, having had, lost and gained back happiness, is cherish every moment, even the more challenging ones, because each moment presents the opportunity for happiness and joy.

It’s your decision.


After selling QuotaFactory to my business partner in 2016 and spending the time since helping companies grow by optimizing their sales and marketing engines, I’ve joined forces with the PropFuel team. After seeing first hand the power of a highly engaged team, I’m thrilled to be a part of PropFuel whos mission is to help companies improve all aspects of their organizations through facilitating business conversations that drive positive business outcomes. The PropFuel platform leverages weekly ‘pulse surveys’ via email to create a tight feedback loop enabling high levels of engagement, collaboration & innovation. The result is a team who feels more involved in driving toward a shared company mission. This level of inclusiveness creates team members who are happier and more productive. You can connect with Paul at LinkedIn, and Twitter.

“A healthy culture is earned through doing fulfilling work, not by stocking the fridge with beer and snacks and buying a ping pong table.” -Paul Alves


Get your free preview of Chapter 1 from Selling Fearlessly.

Check out the 86 reviews for Selling Fearlessly at Amazon.com.