For my latest podcast out this week, I sat down with bestselling author and thought leader, Arthur Brooks. Arthur is president emeritus of the American Enterprise Institute.
For over an hour, we discussed a variety of topics centered around a popular topic of worldly conversation:
When I think of the subject matter, I think about an unforgettable trip I took to Jakarta, Indonesia, many years ago for a speaking engagement. If you’ve never been there, it has some of the worst smog of any city in the world. My eyes burned, and breathing was difficult after being there for only a short time. The traffic is notorious. Imagine Los Angeles and New York combined and multiply all of that by a factor of 10. The living conditions in many areas are deplorable.
I was sitting in the back of a luxury sedan that had been sent for me. Part of the route to my hotel went down a dirt road through a run-down section of Jakarta. Somewhere along that rutted, dusty path, the Lord spoke to my heart. “Look out the window.”
I saw about six boys in tattered clothes playing with dented Coke cans in a black pool of water. “Those poor kids,” I thought.
Until I saw the smiles on their faces.
Despite their circumstances, they were having a great time, floating their cans through the murky water.
As we rolled past them, I heard the Lord say to my heart, “I see their joy; what’s your problem?”
Arthur Brooks and I discuss what he calls the “macronutrients” of happiness – enjoyment, satisfaction, and purpose.
He sets up the conversation with a fascinating and heartbreaking story about eavesdropping on an intimate conversation that he overheard on an airplane.
Although he didn’t know it at the time (the man was seated behind him), the gentleman was a hero of Brooks, an accomplished individual who the world sees in a lofty light. But this man was confiding in his wife that perhaps the world would be better off without him.
“I had a window onto his soul and I thought, okay, is he an outlier or is there some correlation behind the success addicted, super successful workaholic and the inability later in life to achieve happiness?” Brooks reflected.
I hope you’ll “eavesdrop” on our conversation – I promise it will leave you more encouraged and inspired than Arthur’s airplane incident.