Anthony talks to us about his passion for helping others, shares the story behind Roar for Good, and fills us in on why he believes we choose our happiness.
Anthony Gold is an investor, author, and parallel entrepreneur. He is also co-founder of ROAR for Good, an amazing organization weâ€™ll learn a little more about later.
Anthony has a bit of a different perspective on the question â€œWhat makes you happy?â€ He doesnâ€™t believe that anything external can make us happy or create our emotions. He believes that, happy or unhappy, we choose our emotions. Anthony remembers when he was younger, peopleâ€”including himselfâ€”using the phrase â€œYou made me angry.â€ This prompted him to ask himself â€œWhat does that mean?â€. He basically understood that if someone could “make” you angry or unhappy, than youâ€™re saying your happiness is dependent on someone else. Not a way he wanted to live his life.
So letâ€™s instead talk about what Anthony really enjoys that leads to his happiness: working with people and helping them to discover their passions. This involves seeing what makes them tick, and helping them connect with the right work, initiatives or activities. You knowâ€”the things that marry someoneâ€™s personal passions with something that is needed in the world.
Where many people would say â€œThis makes me happy.â€, Anthony would instead use the phrase â€œI enjoy this.â€ Why so much emphasis on the word enjoy? As a society, Anthony believes there is too much pressure on wanting the things that will eventually make us happy. â€œWhen I have this job, this much money, etc., I will be happy…â€ is something you might hear often. And then said thing happens for that someone and they realize it doesnâ€™t feel as great as they thought it would. For this reason, he believes there are things that can excite us, that we can appreciate, that bring us wonderment but not necessarily make us happy. On the other hand, he does believe that the things that make us feel positive emotions can lead to us being happy.
Anthonyâ€™s passion for helping others started during his career as a software engineer and hardware developer at Unisys. Back then, it was normal to stay with a company for 20 â€“ 25 years. When a few of his colleagues started seeking employment elsewhere, not getting responses, he would help them by reviewing their resumes. He found that they didnâ€™t articulate their skills in a way an employer could immediately see what benefits they could bring to a company. When they were going on interviews and not getting jobs, he helped by providing practice through mock interviews, helping them to articulate their skill-set verbally. This prompted him to help these colleagues and eventually he started to help women learning coding skills at the nonprofit Girl Develop It to get jobs.
You can say helping people fell in Anthonyâ€™s lap. He mentions he wasnâ€™t doing anything major, besides working with computers, until he realized the positive impact technology could have on the world. It was then that he noticed his actions, that seemed selfless to the world on the outside, really helped him feel good. In other words, he gets so much joy from helping people that he never says no to anyone who asks.
We asked Anthony why he thinks people stay at a job when it makes them unhappy. He tells us that, from his own experience, itâ€™s often easy to stay at a job that is mediocre. Some workplace circumstances are overtly awful, but others pay well, provide security and other elements that make it okay to stay. He thinks that a really good recipe lies in asking yourself the following three questions:
- Am I following my passions? (What makes me happy.)
- Am I utilizing my skills? (What Iâ€™m good at.)
- Am I doing something the world/company has a need for?
From there, itâ€™s all about aligning the three to create what Anthony refers to as fire.
Discovering this fire or spark is an amazing feeling, Anthony says, and there are a few ways to do it. He suggests putting together a worksheet, listing skills and asking yourself â€œIn the past few years, when was I the happiest?â€ He also suggests you reach out to your network or people that you trust and know you well, aside from family, to ask them what they think youâ€™re good at and what roles they see you in. We are often our worst critic and donâ€™t see our value the way others do. This helps to get the adrenaline pumping and feel excited about giving yourself permission to do what you love.
Anthony also loves books that motivate and move you to think differently. One of his favorites is Victor Franklâ€™s Man’s Search for Meaning, the story of a man who had encountered experienced personal atrocities in his life, had every right to be angry, but never lost his peace. He wrote, â€œBetween stimulus and response thereâ€™s a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. In that choice lies our happiness.â€ Anthony believes we all have the potential to recognize that space and have peace. He doesnâ€™t claim to be there or have that ability himself but itâ€™s something he aspires to. He does know that what often holds us back is giving situations the power to make us unhappy.
This includes anything we dedicate a lot of time to, work included. If youâ€™re going to spend a lot of time on something, Anthony believes it could be much more powerful it were meaningful to you. In what he calls his limited scope of understanding, you sometimes have to experience difficult or impactful life situations in order to recognize what is holding you back.This doesnâ€™t necessarily take a certain type of personality type, but it does take self awareness. As he believes we are our own worst enemies, he says Itâ€™s important to be introspective and understand what role weâ€™re playing in our lives so that we can move forward.
Anthony believes you can begin to be introspective by recognizing that you are giving everything meaning. He shares his thoughts that we are responsible for the way we see a situation, how we react to it, and why we choose to keep it. Once you peel back the onion and recognize no one can make you happy or unhappy and ask yourself â€œWhy is this making me feel unhappy? Why is this making me feel angry?â€ Itâ€™s a lifelong process of shortening the gap between stimulus and reaction. When he has bad reactions, itâ€™s a great teacher. Not so that he focuses in on the bad moments but so he can ask himself how he can keep from reacting that way in the future. His ultimate goal is keeping his life peaceful.
Anthony enjoys having the ability to look at his developmental opportunities, not to be called weaknesses. He looks forward to figuring them out, whether that be in this life or the next, and touching people with his insight and guidance.
What helps Anthony to be happy? His grandfather – the happiest person heâ€™s ever known, memories of playing football as a kid, and going to happy place which is within himself. You can learn more about Anthony by visiting his website, Anthonyâ€™s Desk, and Twitter. Roar for Good was born to help create a safer world for women. After a trip through South America and finding out that one of her neighborâ€™s was brutally raped just steps from her home, Anthonyâ€™s business partner and co-founder of the company, Yasmine Mustafa, wanted to find a way to keep women safe. So, they are doing that by creating fashionable jewelry that emits a signal to their friends, along with a GPS location, when they are feeling unsafe. You can pre-order yours here.
Links / Read / See / Hear
Jason Zappolo for editing and mixing this episode; follow Jason on instagram.
Orly Margulis for social media support; follow Orly on linkedIn.
RocÃo CastaÃ±eda for ongoing support; follow RocÃo on instagram.