A Serious Conversation On How To Be A Success And Happy At The Same Time (Part One) – by Gary S. Smolker


My friends keep me constantly engaged in honest and heartfelt conversation – via e-mail – about serious and fundamental things.

The author of each e-mail gives pointers (shares his or her ideas) on how everyone who wants to enjoy success and happiness should “follow-through” in performing a few simple tasks in their daily lives.

Below are redacted copies of a few of those e-mails.

The first of the redacted e-mails that follow gives the bare outline of what the author sincerely believes one ought to do to be a success and happy at the same time.

The other redacted e-mails which follow in this article contain comments on the ideas expressed in the first e-mail (copy below) and expand upon the ideas set forth in the first e-mail.

Below is a list of the dates and subject matter of each of the redacted e-mails shared with you in this article.

Table of Contents & Index to the Smorgasbord of Ideas Exchanged in the Copies of E-Mails Which Follow

First E-Mail (dated January 27, 2015) sets forth, in less than 100 words, “Golden Rules for Success.”

Second E-Mail (dated January 27, 2014): Praise of the “Golden Rules for Success.”

Third E-Mail (dated January 28, 2015): Supplement to “Golden Rules”

Fourth E-mail (dated January 28, 2015): The need to have a purpose in life

Fifth E-mail (dated January 28, 2015): “Love what you do”

Sixth E-mail (dated February 4, 2015): What an individual needs to do to achieve great things and to build a stronger future

Seventh E-mail (dated February 4, 2015) Asks the question: “What better fits your busy schedule, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

Eighth E-mail (dated February 4, 2015): Devoting Time To Your Real Passions

Ninth E-mail (dated February 5, 2015): Taking Chances

I. “Golden Rules for Success”

E-mail sent Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 8:12 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (PST) to GSS:


One doesn’t need 9,600 words to describe or explain how to be a success and be happy at the same time.. God told us to Obey Him and leave all the Consequences to Him… He also said that we reap what we sow, more than we sow and later than we sow…  We basically have 2 choices in life… follow the Flesh and reap all of it’s “rewards” which are temporary, or follow the Spirit and reap His rewards that are long (eternal is a long time) lasting .. one cannot serve two masters.. one can’t be on two opposing roads at the same time and once cannot serve someone or something (I know there were 2 double negatives)… you might call it yin-yang or good vs evil but we cannot be in two different and opposing places at once…  So sow success – be generous and kind and trustworthy and happy towards others and you shall reap success which will bring happiness.. and more than you sowed!


II.  Compliments on Job Well Done

E-mail sent Tuesday, January 27, 2025 at 8:48 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST) to GSS

Mo says it so well.!


III.  Comment on Job Well Done and My Experience with Mo


Mo is brilliant.

Mo gets right to the point.

Mo identifies the issue, explains the choices and comes to a “rational”/ logical conclusion.

I totally agree with Mo’s point that the first requirement for becoming a success and happy is to have a reason for getting out of bed in the morning, i.e. it is necessary (a) to have a purpose in life, (b) to have a purpose for living.

I also totally agree with Mo’s second point that it is necessary (a) to have a positive outlook, (b) to see yourself as a work-in-progress, (c) to be willing to deal with difficulties, (d) to be an individual who believes he or she can change and grow, and (e) to believe that the more you labor at something the better you get at it.

The reasons I totally agree with the points made above is because I believe:

  • The mind is a learning machine.  
  • We are agents of our own development.
  • People may differ in intelligence, talent and ability, but great accomplishment, and even what we call genius, is typically the result of years of passion and dedication and not something that flows naturally from being born “smart” or with a “talent.”

My first interaction with Mo occurred 30 years ago. 

I called Mo out of the blue to discuss a problem.

Mo did not know me, but knew the person who had given me Mo’s name and phone number.

In spite of not knowing me, Mo was kind and generous towards me and made it clear that she was happy to help me.

About twenty years later, I had my second contact with Mo.

Since then I have had many pleasant contacts and interactions with Mo.

Mo has always been kind and generous towards me and has always expressed her genuine happiness to be doing whatever I asked her to do.


IV.  Work At What You Love And You Will Love Your Work

E-mail sent on January 28, 2015 at 8:40 a.m. PST to GSS

Sounds good and I believe he’s correct.

I also preach “work at what you love and you will love your work.”

It does not matter much what one chooses to do for their life’s work as long as they love what they are doing, they will have a happy life and enjoy their work.

When that happens success happens and when success happens happiness happens.

So, be happy in your work, love your work and you will enjoy life.

Being helpful and generous to others brings great joy to the giver.

It’s not all about “me me me.”

Share your happiness and success!


V. “Love What You Are Doing”


I couldn’t agree more with you.

You have to love what you are doing.

Here is what Basketball Hall of Famer John Stockton, has said about that:

“Much of my success has come from many hours of hard work, but I readily admit practice was most often fun, and never a drudgery for me.

” You have to love what you are doing.

According to Stockton, in his teenage years that meant, “you’d rather give up going out on Friday night to go shoot the ball, even if it’s by yourself at the gym or on the courts at the park.

“I spent many lonely Friday and Saturday nights shooting, sometimes in a snowy driveway.

“I made many, many mistakes during games and you have to see past those as a leader.  You can’t say, ‘Oh my’, and pout about how poorly you shot or what kind of pass you made.  You have to look forward and then try to share that with your teammates if they start pouting.  I’d say ‘Come on, we got the next one; pick us up.’

“I was able to forget my mistakes and other people’s mistakes and continue to advance.

“My dad’s philosophy on life remains key; ‘It’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up that matters.’

“It’s those kind of traits that you can’t teach.  And really, that’s the key, you love it so much you want to stick with it.”

Stockton entered the Hall of Fame in 2009.

Stockton was on the 1992 and 1996 Olympic gold medal U.S. basketball teams.

He holds the NBA all-time assist record –

  • 15,806 assists, the most in NBA history,
  • 1,164 in one season, still tops, and 
  • 14.5 per-game assist average in one season, also a record.

Here is what his coach Frank Layden at Utah Jazz has said about Stockton, “Nobody thought he was going to be this good.  But the thing was, nobody measured his heart.”

VI.  What Individuals Must Do Achieve Great Things And To Build A Stronger Future

E-mail sent on February 4, 2015 at 9:49 a.m. to GSS


I believe everyone is capable of achieving great things.  

We are all part of a large and diverse society which has achieved magnificent things in the past couple of thousand years.

Everyone can find something productive they are good at and they enjoy doing.

I believe if we are to build a stronger future there are two things that have to happen before we can truly achieve a state of serenity.

First and most importantly, I think we need to accept that the mold of how to be successful is presented to us at a very young age may not always be the right path for everyone.

This mold of do well in high school so you can get to a good college and make something of yourself is an illusion which sets a standard that not everyone is willing or wanting to meet.

I myself have friends with masters degrees in different fields and they regret going down that path and getting into all this debt for the promise of a better future which is not necessarily true.

We need to understand and accept that everyone has a different outlet and that we are not all the same.

Let our kids choose who they are.

We have no right making these decisions for them.

What I propose is once a student reaches 11th grade, let him choose a field (arts, design, engineering, etc.) and prepare them to become successful in this field.

Give them classes that will prepare them for their college classes in that field or for that field itself.

The second step to making our society stronger is really valuing our education and its power and effects.  

We currently live in a society where one may put off getting an education because of the expense of it.

If we want a stronger future, we need a better education system that educates everyone.

Take a note from other countries that pay their students to go to school and be educated.

This is a very rough idea of what we should do to better our future.

I truly believe that if we all try to make this world a nicer place to be in every day, then trying “to save the world” may not be as difficult as we make it seem.

Thank you for your time.

VII.  What Better Fits Your Busy Schedule – Exercising One Hour A Day Or Being Dead 24 Hours A Day?


Thank you for your reply to my question, “How can we build a stronger future?”

I throughly agree with what you have said:  Everyone deserves to receive an appropriate education, including giving children in school an opportunity to flex their intellects.

Although the goal of education in the U.S. is for all children to maximize their potential, the focus of funding has primarily been on the most vulnerable children, such as those with disabilities, who are rightly guaranteed a free appropriate education.

Today researchers, policy makers and teachers pay little to no attention to high-achieving students.

Many such students spend their days in school unchallenged – not being stimulated, or “learning” material they have already mastered.  They are bored to death.

This country, and the world, needs to develop its human resources to the full.

The failure to develop talented students means that fewer of them will become future innovators of products and services; creative thinkers to solve major social, economic, technological and environmental problems; or performers writers directors set directors musicians, etc. to entertain, inspire and soothe our souls.

If we are to nurture a cadre of capable leaders, we must commit to gifted education instead of assuming that academically gifted children will be successful no matter what their educational environment.

Lucky for me, I was in high school in 1957, when Sputnik took the world by storm.

The launch of Sputnik (by the Soviets) prompted the U.S. government to fund extra educational enrichment programs which infused attention and resources to talented youth – through the National Defense Education Act.

I benefited from that.

While in high school, in Palm Springs, California, through the National Science Foundation, at no expense to me or to my family, I attended a summer program at Cal State Northridge, at which I met other high school students from all over the state of California – one of whom became a life long friend.

Also, while in high school, at no expense to me or my family, I attended a National Science Fair competition in Albuquerque New Mexico, at which I met other high school students from all over the United States.

I was given special educational opportunities while in college: I was provided with a laboratory in which to work on my “own” research project at the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley, California while I was an undergraduate attending the Berkeley campus of the University of California.

Additionally, Proctor & Gamble gave me a high paying summer job – between my junior and senior years as an undergraduate student at UC Berkeley – as a “trouble-shooter” on projects Procter & Gamble designed for me to work on in Procter & Gamble’s manufacturing plant in Sacramento, California.

In the summer between graduating from UC Berkeley and attending Cornell University as a graduate student, the U.S. Navy employed me at a high paying summer job at the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in Silver Spring, Maryland.

I have no doubt that a key to developing talent may lie in giving students lots of opportunities to pursue their interests.

A 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “Talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see.”  

I’ve seen that play out in various jobs I’ve had during the past fifty years.

For more than fifty years, I’ve seen exceptional thinkers successfully launch their arrows into the unknown.

Not one of them was/is afraid to fail. 

They all all succeeded tremendously.

The progress of the world depends almost entirely on education.

You can get your education from the college of hard knocks or elsewhere.

I personally do not believe in coloring by the numbers solutions to novel difficult problems.

I am a strong proponent of experience that helps form good judgment and constant purposeful training/learning.

Recently, one of my more vibrant friends – concerned about how many hours a day I work and who believes that I work non-stop seven days a week – sent me a card which reads, “What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

 VIII.  Actions And Inactions Produce Results

Email sent February 4, 2015 at 11:32 p.m. PST

“What fits your busy schedule better, exercising one hour a day or being dead 24 hours a day?”

That is actually very interesting.

Some people may actually choose the latter and not even realize it.

It’s sad to see how little time people devote to their true passions, living a life that may seem busy and happy but is actually empty and lacking all life and color, not due to what their schedule looks like but what they seem to be doing (or not doing) with that time.

Or maybe I’m reading into it too much.  

Either way, it is an interesting statement.

Thank you for your time.

Please feel free to send me more of these emails.

It’s been a while since I’ve been able to talk about these things on a serious level.



IX.  Taking Chances

I agree with you that many people don’t understand that they are making decisions by default – they are deciding whether or not to do something by default.

Here is how the author J. R. Rowling refusal to take chances:

“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case you have failed by default.”  – J.R. Rowling

The beauty of disappointment (failures) is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

Learning from your errors (failures and disappointments) can turn errors into stepping-stones to your success.

The world is moving and anyone who contents themselves with present accomplishments soon falls behind.

The Gary Smolker Thoughtful Person Club

I’ve started a “Thoughtful Person Club.”

 To join “The Gary Smolker Thoughtful Person Club” send your name and e-mail address to me by e-mail at GSmolker@aol.com.



Copyright © 2015 by Gary S. Smolker

About Gary S. Smolker

PERSONAL PHILOSOPHY: No enterprise can exist for itself alone. Every successful enterprise ministers to some great need, it performs some great service, not for itself, but for others. Otherwise, it ceases to be profitable and ceases to exist. Imagination, open mindedness and flexibility are the most important factors in unlocking potential. Those who embrace innovation, improvisation, continuous learning, time management, are action oriented, high energy, passionate, creative, purposeful and intense individuals are best equipped to succeed. We all have ideas and the ability to make progress by sharing information and our ideas and also by changing our ideas when appropriate. We should always be on the lookout for teaching and mentoring moments. We hold time like water in our hands; however tightly we clench our fingers, it drips away. But, if it falls on a seed, a seed may grow to become something that will have a positive social impact. PERSONAL INTERESTS: I have a passion to learn, to innovate, to lead, to mentor and to teach. I seek to write things worth reading and want to do things worth writing about. I enjoy (a) driving a fast car, (b) having intense conversations (c) teaching/mentoring, (d) reading and (e) being involved in productive activity. PERSONAL: I believe in cultivating and backing passionate people, innovation, and old fashioned good ideas. I love making human connections and spreading good ideas. I am strongly motivated to achieve in situations in which independence of thought and action are called for. PERSONAL GOALS: I want to live life vibrantly, to be as sharp as a tack until my last breath and to change the world by being me. My personal goal is to be fully engaged in life, to lead by example, to set high standards and to continue to amass firsthand experience and knowledge in all that interests me. PERSONALITY: I love fun and mischief. I relish absurdity. I have an irreverent, facetious and satiric disposition. I dread boredom. I have spent a lifetime reading. I have no bias against people who have lived successful and/or complicated lives. I write to release tension, to get things off my chest. SOCIAL MEDIA: I post articles on the "Gary S. Smolker Idea Exchange" blog at www.garysmolker.wordpress.com, and "Dude's Guide to Women's Shoes" at www.dudesguidetowomensshoes.com. I also post images and comments on Instagram @garyspassion. CONTACT INFORMATION: Gary Smolker, Smolker Law Firm, 16055 Ventura Blvd., Ste 525, Encino, California, 91436-2609, USA. Phone 1-818-788-7290, e-mail GSmolker@aol.com.

Posted on February 8, 2015, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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