Certain songs have always struck me as being part of the soundtrack of my life. Years ago, around the time I was getting Bob Abbate Marketing off the ground, I decided that my personal soundtrack should have fewer songs like Huey Lewis and The News’ “Workin’ For A Livin’” and more tunes like James Taylor’s “Secret ‘O Life”. To me, “Some days won’t end ever and some days pass on by, I’ll be working here forever, at least until I die” just wasn’t sounding like the life I wanted to build for myself. But James Taylor’s lyrics, including “The secret o’ life is enjoying the passage of time” and “The secret of love is opening up your heart”, well, that sounded more like the life I wanted to live during that next chapter. So, I created a business that would provide me with time to savor the passage of time while allowing me the space to open up my heart.

Which brings me to this thought provoking article by Arthur C. Brooks, just published in The Atlantic. In it, Brooks states “Success in and of itself is not a bad thing, any more than wine is a bad thing. Both can bring fun and sweetness to life. But both become tyrannical when they are a substitute for—instead of a complement to—the relationships and love that should be at the center of our lives.” I’m not stating that the path to happiness is populated by slackers. Slackers don’t survive in the ad biz.  I consider myself successful, and I am happy… and driven. But I’m not drunk with drive, or, as Brooks says, so obsessed with the pursuit of achievement that I am distracted from the deeply ordinary activities and relationships that make life meaningful. Check out the article. Are you a success addict, or have you found your perfect balance?

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