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Michelson 20MM founder Dr. Gary K. Michelson was recently invited as a guest on the Positive Phil podcast, a weekly roundtable discussion centered on inspiration, grace, and affirmative thinking. The 28-minute episode is packed with insights for achieving a brighter outlook on life, which could certainly come in handy in such uncertain times. But perhaps one of the most eye-opening takeaways comes when host Positive Phil asks the simple question: are you happy?

Dr. Michelson responds, “I’m more than happy, I’m blessed.” He expounds, saying that his happiness isn’t derived from his wealth, after all, he drives a modest Honda Civic. “Nobody needs to have everything they think they want. They need to want what they have.” He goes on to refer to studies showing that lottery winners, while experiencing less financial stress, often don’t report improved levels of happiness. Life’s all about prioritizing the things that matter and counting one’s blessings which are numerous even if they aren’t obvious. 

When it comes to achieving success, Dr. Michelson offers lessons from what he learned as an inventor. “You don’t succeed on your first try, and you never fail unless you give up.” In fact, just showing up is itself a big win. For those aiming to innovate solutions to challenging problems, there are three things to keep in mind – you need to have a good idea, a ‘can-do’ attitude, and then take action to make it happen. 

Toward the end of the discussion, Dr. Michelson remarks that he’s been afforded many privileges in life, and now at 71, spends a good amount of time trying to create a more equitable world for others. As a retired surgeon, he’s no longer getting up at 5:30 in the morning to get to the hospital. Now, he sleeps all the way until the break of 6:30 a.m., then wakes to have breakfast with his family. After some meditation, he turns his attention to his philanthropic foundations promoting greater access to higher education, prison reform, and animal welfare – or, as he likes to think of it, giving voice to the voiceless. 

Click to listen to the full Positive Phil podcast.