Happy Shoes

Posted By on Nov 4, 2013 | 7 comments

I met with a friend this last week, and we talked about a lot of things going on in life. This person is experiencing a number of different issues. Some of them are personal, some are financial, and some are professional.

As our discussion went on, I started seeing that there was a pattern to the things going on in this person’s life. With their job, the finances, and their personal relationships, they seemed to do a lot of band-aid fixes for everything.

If you were to lose your job, what would you do? Try to find another job, likely in the same line of work you were in before, even if that job didn’t really make you very happy? If you needed money, would you try to sell some of your extra stuff on eBay?

Going back to my friend, I dug a little deeper into the conversation. I wanted to know why they couldn’t start up their own business, maybe try something new. I even suggested the idea of writing a book about her experiences.

They told me that they didn’t know enough about anything to write book and that they were mediocre at everything they did in life. I thought that statement was funny because I found myself saying those exact words about mediocrity less than a year ago.

I explained to my friend that no one really knows how to write a book. While hundreds of thousands of people have done it, if anyone knew how to do it there wouldn’t be books on how to do it, courses teaching it, or people constantly trying to figure out and streamline their process. I told them that the only thing they needed to do was share their story. Just get it out there. My books are far from perfect. They probably need to be proofed again. But if I waited for them to be perfect, I wouldn’t have shared my stories with tens of thousands of readers yet.

Worry about the details like editing, publishing, and all that stuff later.

Life is too short to spend it believing that you’re mediocre and merely accepting that as your lot. It isn’t your lot. You can do something you have always wanted to do. What’s holding you back?

Maybe it will help if I share some of the deep inner beliefs I have to continuously overcome:

I believe that I am mediocre. I believe that tremendous success is for others but not me. I believe that anything I try will fail.

Fighting through these limiting beliefs is critical. They are what keeps you from living a life you would absolutely love, rather than accept.

As our conversation was drawing to a close, I decided to say something about an gray-haired man who was sitting next to us. He was busily working on an iPad, had several papers stacked on the table, and had a huge smile on his face.

I looked down at his shoes and pointed them out to my friend. I told her that he was wearing happy shoes. She asked what I meant. The guy overheard us and listened in to my explanation.

I told them that he was happy with his work. Those shoes looked very comfortable, and he was dressed casually. He had a smile on his face and was working out of a coffee shop. I told my friend that if you look at that man, he look like someone who is happy with the work they do.

They guy smiled even more broadly. “You’re an observant guy,” he commented. He went on to tell us that he was self employed and loved every minute of it.

The point to all of this is that you can do something you want with your life, or maybe even something you didn’t know you wanted or could do. Do not accept mere mediocrity as the role you have been given. You can do more. You can live more fully.

And you can wear happy shoes.



  1. What we are equal to in our minds shows up in our experience.

    Thank you Ernie for reminding us that each and every morning we have a choice of footwear. I choose Happy Shoes.

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  2. I love this, Ernest. Seven years ago, I chose to put on my happy shoes and start my own business. I had no idea how to do it. I had always worked for someone else and thought I would forever.

    You make such a great point about writing books. Who really has all the answers before they start? I certainly did not! It was actually CJ who made me stop editing and get it out there in the world. It sounds like you may have done that for your friend!

    Happy shoes – what a great concept!

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  3. Even Dylan McDermott would be inspired!!! I love it and I will definitely start choosing my Happy Shoes!!!

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  4. I loved this. If everyone had on happy shoes, there might not be as much trouble in the world and people may just get along better.

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  5. You seem to be describing a world where everybody who needs a full-time job in an appropriate field can get one, nobody has to end up applying for food stamps and/or moving in with a relative (or into a car) if things don’t work out or some piece of very bad financial luck comes to pass, and most books are not only published but make money. The “go for it and don’t worry about whether you’re good enough” message is useful, but pieces like this one can be crushing in their denial that anything bad that could ever happen to the *reader* if he/she does these things. (On the flipside there’s the denial of the reader’s inner reality: if you’re not starving [which you don’t have to worry about happening?], what do you have to complain about?)

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    • Great comment, Amanda.
      You bring up a great point about failing. Failure is part of the process, but it doesn’t have to be the destination. And it certainly shouldn’t keep someone from pursuing a career or line of work in a field they love.
      I have failed more times than succeeded at things. I went through a foreclosure in 2009 and had to move in with a friend. It was that or my parents. 🙂
      I’ve started multiple businesses that didn’t work.
      All along, I’ve kept my day job to help minimize that risk until things reach a point where I can walk away.
      Thomas Edison failed at creating the light bulb over a thousand times. But he kept going until he got it right.
      There are seven billion people in this world now. Many are okay with working a job in an office, a factory, or any number of other places. There is nothing wrong with that.
      This blog post, and a few others, are for those who are unsatisfied and seek something more fulfilling than just a paycheck.
      I’m not telling people to up and quit their jobs if they are unhappy. I believe in starting something new while you still have a job. There are lots of ways to do this.
      But you cannot be afraid of failure.

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