A Joyful Story: The Monk

Joyful story the monk

Here is my Joyful Story:

Shortly after becoming a successful CEO, I realized I had completed most of the goals I set out to achieve. I had success, money, and status — but I still wasn’t happy. In fact, I found that I was more miserable than I had ever been before. It didn’t make sense to me. I always put off my own happiness, thinking that the payoff would be even greater in the end. It wasn’t true.

Disillusioned with life, I went to the Pha That Luang temple in Laos. There, I hoped to find clarity on what was missing in my life. And I did, just not in the way that I expected!

I was on a tour of the temple when a monk who was interacting with many of the guests came to talk to me. He said to me, “You look like someone who is searching for something.”

I told him that I was. I explained to him my life and how I came to be unhappy.

He smiled at me and took a deep breath. Finally, he said, “If you come here tomorrow, I will tell you how to be happy and free from worry.”

I couldn’t believe my luck!

I came back the next day. Before making it to the entrance, I saw the monk outside. He was looking around for something. I asked him, “What are you looking for?”

“A ring,” he said. “I have lost it.”

“I can help you search for it if you like,” I told him.

We searched for a long time. We walked up and down in front of the monastery. We searched along the tree line. No matter what, we couldn’t find it.

Finally, I asked him, “Do you remember where you dropped it?”

“Yes,” he said, “it fell off in my room, in the temple.”

“Why are we looking out here?” I asked.

He looked at me with a hint of a grin. “This is the solution to your problem, too.”

The monk walked away, leaving me to contemplate his words. It took me a while to understand his lesson, but it gave me a new perspective on happiness and how to frame how I think.

by Douglas Miller

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