Happiness at Fort Detrick
It's a simple idea really; happiness leads to success. The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Development Activity recently hosted a seminar led by Brad Montgomery to discuss "The Science of Happiness". Montgomery uses ‘laugh-o-nomics' to convey the simple message that connecting happiness at work will lead to business success.
Kathy Berst, deputy director of acquisition for USAMMDA, acknowledges the need for a motivational and inspirational speaker for the team.
"USAMMDA has an active training and development program that also includes professional speakers. We added a ‘Resilience in Leadership' training course for our mid and senior level managers but we needed something for the larger team so I started searching," stated Berst.
Dr. Wendy Dean, technical advisor for the Tissue Injury and Regenerative Medicine Project Management Office at USAMMA, had known about Montgomery as a speaker for many years, and recommended him to Berst.
"His perspective seemed particularly appropriate for the audience at Fort Detrick," said Dean.
At the event, the Fort Detrick auditorium was almost full, and yet there was a sense that no one really knew what to expect. Berst made opening remarks and introduced Montgomery. Berst in fact reminded everyone, jokingly, that they were not there for their annual mandatory Army Substance Abuse Program training.
The auditorium, as a room itself, is mostly looked at as a place to go for trainings or official ceremonies. This is an example of how the stigma that we attach to things, changes our entire perspective. The joke Berst made about everyone expecting training, supported the idea of Montgomery's entire speech. Once we can change our perspective about the ‘room', we can find enjoyment in the reason we are there, instead of dread.
Montgomery discussed the topic of perspective, and how and why this is the key to happiness. Our perspective can change everything.
Montgomery shared the USAMMDA mission statement with the audience, "Develop and deliver quality medical solutions to protect, treat, and sustain the health of our Service Members."
"This is AWESOME! You're doing amazing things," exclaimed Montgomery. "WOW!"
The idea that every day there are challenges and the workload is sometimes overwhelming, but when you change your perspective and simply realize the big picture, that lives are being saved because of this work being done, you will begin to find joy and happiness amidst the stress.
Berst believes that happiness is a choice. "There are many frustrations in our line of work but we have the honor of supporting this amazing mission and we have the opportunity to adjust our perspective in dealing with those frustrations," said Berst.
"I don't know that the talk is one that will change things overnight, but more that it embedded ideas that will simmer for a while and change culture over time," added Dean.
Perspective and happiness go hand in hand.
Change your perspective; choose to be happy; change your life.
"You are awesome," Montgomery exclaimed.