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From Trauma to Triumph: A Journey to Happiness

November 06, 2022

From Trauma to Triumph: A Journey to Happiness
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In this podcast, host Jake Pearson interviews David Stanley, a health trauma survivor who has had two bouts with cancer and several pulmonary embolisms. David believes that one of the secrets to happiness is recognizing that everything in life is uncertain and that we must make the most of the life we have. He believes that by practicing acts of compassion, one can improve the lives of others while also feeling better oneself. David suggests that listeners who are struggling to find happiness should use their bodies and go out and practice acts of compassion to find joy and fulfillment in life.

What Makes David Stanley Happy?

In this 5-minute episode, I sit down with David Stanley, a Teacher, Writer, and health trauma survivor who had two bouts with cancer, and several bouts with pulmonary embolisms, to discuss the ins and outs of his happiness.

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Podcast Summary: 


  • Introduction of the podcast "What Makes You Happy with Jake Pearson"


  • Interview with David Stanley, a health trauma survivor and a relentlessly optimistic person


  • David explains that the key to his happiness is his realization that life is short and everything one does matters


  • David explains that he finds happiness in practicing acts of compassion and helping others


  • Jake expresses his awe of David's words and agrees that helping others leads to happiness


  • David's advice to people struggling to find happiness is to use their body and go out and interact with others



Happiness, Health trauma, Cancer, Pulmonary embolisms, Uncertainty, Compassion, Joy, Fulfillment, Acts of kindness, Well-being, Inner peace, Overcoming adversity, Embracing change, Giving back, Selfless acts, Trauma, Triumph, Mental health, Physical health, Finding happiness, Positive psychology, Life lessons, Inspiring stories, Personal growth, Healing, Mindfulness, Gratitude, Stress management, Coping with illness, Mind-body connection.



Jake Pearson  00:00

Are you trying to figure out the secret to happiness? We're here at What Makes You Happy with Jake Pearson. We want to make that happiness more accessible for you in your life. So stick around as we interview everyday people, inspirational leaders and your favorite celebrities on what makes them happy.


Welcome back to the podcast where we ask the question, what makes you happy?


My name is Jake Pearson. And today we have with us a health trauma survivor, two bouts with cancer, several bouts with pulmonary embolisms. We've got David Stanley from Flint, Michigan. David, thank you so much. How are you?


David Stanley  00:43

Jake, it's such a pleasure to talk to you. As we were talking a few minutes before you hit record, there's so much interesting going on in your life down there in Victoria and Australia. I'm excited to have this chance to chat for your viewers.


Jake Pearson  00:57

We do appreciate you coming on from the other side of the world. And as much as I'd love to talk, because that's what I love to do today. It's all about you and what makes you happy? Could you start with a little bit about that?


David Stanley  01:10

One of the key aspects- And I am by the way, as a friend of mine put it relentlessly optimistic. I am really happy. And one of the reasons why-- And this isn't true for everybody. One of the reasons why is I've almost died, and not just once but twice. And that moment when you realize that everything changes and can change dramatically, we have no guarantees and not the conceptual- Oh, I know I'm going to die, you know, my grandma's 87 and she's just passed away. You know, not that kind of thing. I mean, like you, Jake Pearson! You're going to die. Once you do that, then everything kind of shifts into focus, because you realize that everything you do matters, and you can create so much good in your corner of the world. When you come from that, it seems like it might be a position of weakness to say, I'm going to die. What's the point? No, that's exactly 180 degrees wrong, you're going to die. 


So this is the only life you get, use it, make a difference, lift people up. And when you do that, and I know you know this, because I watched a couple of your podcasts, when you need that boost of I'm having a down day. If you do something nice for somebody, if you practice an act of really conscious compassion for them. Son of a gun, you feel better. I mean, there's a reason why in all those surveys, Nepal and Bhutan are the happiest countries in the world. Because as part of their faith as Buddhists, they are just honorbound to always practice Acts of Compassion. And it's just incredibly liberating. And it's really powerful. And it's creative, because there's lots of different ways that you can do good things for other people. And it's, Yes, a little selfish, because when you do it for somebody else, you're doing it also because you're making yourself feel better. There's nothing wrong with that, you can own that right down to the ground, I'm doing this for this guy, I feel better. And he's going to have a better afternoon as a result of that homeless guy that I see outside of all the-- That I always take the bottle of Gatorade and a couple bags of beef jerky too [phonetic 03:18] on my way out of the store. Yes, I'm doing it a little bit because he's homeless, and I wish I could solve his problem. I can't, but I can help him a little bit. And he's going to have a better day, he's been recognized as a human face to face. You know, we take a couple minutes, we talk, there's some genuine human interaction there between us. And we now know each other. And again, I can't solve this problem. I'm not that wealthy. I mean, I can't buy homes for people. But I can give him 20 minutes with this ice cold Gatorade and a little bit of genuine human interaction where somebody's focused on him and recognizes that he's a real person. It's just an amazing event to be able to do that for somebody.


Jake Pearson  03:58

I was just in awe of listening to you speak. Thank you for sharing what makes you happy David, that was genuinely beautiful. And I really agree a lot of people have on this podcast that they found happiness and joy when they're compassionate and just kind of giving to other people. Even if it is a little selfish. It's okay to feel that way. It's okay to feel good after helping someone, you're not expected to feel bad or negative emotion. It's good to help other people. And I'm glad that you find happiness in that too.


What would you say to our listeners right now that are struggling to find a little bit of their own happiness in their lives?


David Stanley  04:35

For me and for a lot of other people that I talked to about this issue- Because I'm a blogger, I have a pretty- I mean, I'm not a big influencer per se, but I'm in touch with a lot of people because of the writing that I do. I think one of the key things that you have to do is you have to go out and use your body. There's that old biblical phrase it says beautifully and wonderfully- and wondrously made. I have yet to see anybody feel worse about themselves after they go out and they play, get their heart rate up, use their body. I don't even like to say get some exercise because it seems for so many of us that had negative connotation. I mean, I'd love to workout. I mean, you will find, I tell all my friends do not text me, message me, whatever, between 4:30 and 06:00 in the afternoon, I will not respond. Because that's my time. And whether you're out with a backpack and you're rocking, or you're on your bike, or you're playing Frisbee, golf, I don't care what you're doing. When you get out there, especially outside, and you can suck some of that up, you're going to be happy, and it lasts and it's a very addictive feeling, that good feeling after exercise. I know you're a personal trainer, so you know exactly what I'm talking about. And I recommend that as like step one for nearly everybody. If you practice an 'Act of Compassion', use what you have been given. And if you are heavy, I don't care. You do not have to have 7 [phonetic 06:05] percent body fat to get outside, shoot a couple baskets, play a little netball, kick a soccer ball round with whoever just move around and feel how we're good at this. I mean, we're people we're very good at moving. I mean, watch gymnastics, watch basketball, whatever, watch soccer or Aussie [phonetic 06:24] I love Aussie Rules Football. Get some fresh air, get out there and play.


Jake Pearson  06:30

Beautifully said and it's something that's really accessible to majority of us living on this planet moving. We do it naturally every day. But instinctively, making time to just go in actually use our body for nothing essential but just to move and engage our endorphins, our chemicals in our body and move our muscles and stretch our body. It is one of the most underrated things that you can do for your happiness. And I really resonate with what you said there, David so thank you so much for coming on the What Makes You Happy Podcast to share all things, your happiness.


David Stanley  07:08

I am @DStan58 on Twitter if you want to connect with me and I will follow you back unless you're just an incredible mor**


Jake Pearson  07:16

We will put all those links for you to connect with David, new podcast episode description below so they can connect with you very easily because I know when you hear someone using them, and then you keep listening and then you forget so we'll make that accessible for you guys listening at home. 


So David, it's been an absolute pleasure to chat about your happiness with you. 


Thanks for listening to the podcast. We hope it gives you something to think about on your quest to discover what makes you happy. Make sure to check out to connect with today's guest and follow us on all our social media platforms and to stay up to date on what's happening next and what makes you happy. Don't forget to share this episode with a friend and we'll see you next time!