Secret To Happiness

Posted 29 September By Hanju LeeCopywriting, StorytellingNo Comments

Secret To Happiness

I watched this TV series on Netflix called After Life. Have you seen it? I will try not to give it away too much but it made a lasting impression on me. 

So, it’s about this guy named Tony. He had an amazing marriage and life. He was married to the love of his life (Lisa) and they spent their time truly embracing every moment of every day. Not only that, they were both proud parents of their fur baby…a German Shepherd named Anti. Tony was happy and his life was perfect – until one day, Lisa was diagnosed with cancer. 

The first couple of episodes, you get to see and experience their sweet relationship as she was going in and out of the hospital for treatment. She eventually and sadly passes away, leaving him hours and hours of video she recorded of herself sharing her love for him and also with lots of instructions on how to keep living. Examples like, “Tony, you cannot forget to feed Anti” or “Tony, please, clean up after yourself and for god’s sake, do the dishes once in awhile…”

But after this tragic event of her passing, he slowly loses motivation to keep living life. He stops caring about himself or anybody else. He becomes resentful and angry…even hopeless. He would often go to her gravesite and sit on the bench to be near Lisa. That’s when he meets Anne. Anne is a widow and quite a bit older than Tony. She lost the love of her life as well and she also comes to the gravesite to spend some time with her late husband. After getting to know each other and becoming friends, it leads to this most powerful and significant scene where a transformation happens. Here, you can watch it:

She offers him a profound secret to life in her words. “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they shall never sit in.” Then she says, “Good people do good things for other people, that’s it, the end.”

The rest of the episode shows the slow transformation of Tony. He goes from being an angry, self-absorbed, and grumpy dude to someone others-focused, kind, and gentle soul…he even found a glimpse of happiness and hope in the midst of his pain.

Why do I share this story? Besides it being one of my favorite shows, I also wanted to continue our “Storytelling” series by showing how a great story can be told. Remember, storytelling is one of the most important tools in business…if done right, it will leave a lasting impression on your audience. Here’s a quick review – make sure your story answers these questions (as today’s example does):

  • Who’s the main character in the story? Tony
  • What’s the character’s problem? Tony lost the most important treasure in his life, his wife.
  • What/Who is the guide that the character meets? Anne
  • How does this guide help the character? Anne sees his pain and how he’s reacting to it with anger and resentment…so she gently shares the secret of happiness. 
  • What’s the plan? Live for others
  • How did he execute this plan? He started doing good for others.
  • Did he win? He found meaning.
  • How did the character transform? Angry to gentle, self-absorbed to generous, and grumpy to happy.

As we continue this series, I hope it leads you to find your own story, your own voice, and your own experience of transformation. But for today, you’ll just have to be content with the secret to happiness.

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