Episode 726: Model Your Life After the Happiest Man on Earth

book club Aug 30, 2023

 In this episode, Kiera reflects on the next DAT book club read, The Happiest Man on Earth: The Beautiful Life of an Auschwitz Survivor by Eddie Jaku. She shares her favorite lines and viewpoints from Eddie, and encourages listeners to remember how difficult life can be — but also how beautiful it can be.

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Check out the full list of DAT’s 2023 book club here.

Reach out to Kiera: [email protected] 

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0:00:05.6 Kiera Dent: Hey everyone, welcome to the Dental A Team podcast. I'm your host, Kiera Dent. And I had this crazy idea that maybe I could combine a doctor and a team member's perspective, because let's face it, dentistry can be a challenging profession with those two perspectives. I've been a dental assistant, treatment coordinator, scheduler, filler, office manager, regional manager, practice owner, and I have a team of traveling consultants, where we have traveled over 165 different offices coaching teams. Yep, we don't just understand you, we are you. Our mission is to positively impact the world of dental, and I believe that this podcast is the greatest way I can help elevate teams, grow VIP experiences, reduce stress and create A teams. Welcome to the Dental A Team podcast.


0:00:50.5 Kiera Dent: Hello, Dental A Team listeners. This is Kiera and oh, I am so excited for today's Book Club, and I hope you are too. Today is a book, like I said, this is in my top two favorite books, and I don't know if you read it, and if you didn't, again, it's a trigger warning, so I'm just gonna warn you that way, it's on a Holocaust survivor. But really gave me such a good perspective of what this life is meant to be. So today it's book club on the Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku. I hope you read it, and before we kick this off, please know, I want you guys to do book clubs with me and with your teams. Why on earth do we do book clubs? The reason why is because I believe that more gold is found in the minds of men than mine from the Earth, and women, come on, it's not just men, it's men and women, but I feel like we live in such a brilliant society, and so we can learn from them if we can learn lessons from people who have lived different lives, why not learn from them and create that life for ourselves? So today, that's why I wanna do a book club.

0:01:48.4 Kiera Dent: I'm sharing with you books from all of our different areas, I call it our yes practice, so it's about you, it's about earnings and your profitability, and about systems and teams. So the yes, Y-E-S. Say yes to an ideal practice, say yes to personal success, say yes to these items because why not, you guys are blessed with this, you guys can have this life. Why not do it? So on that, the book clubs are all around those different areas, things about personal development, leadership, skills, this book falls under that category of life and fulfillment, the other categories of finances is going to be next month of Profit First, that's next month's Book Club. So if you wanna start early reading, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz, I love that book so much for my people who want to just hunker down into business, that was the book that helped me realize that being profitable is a must and not an option for me. And then we've got systems and team development. So in that category, that's a lot of different things like the Energy Bus or different ones that are more systems and how to put it in, Pat a Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz or the Pumpkin Patch, things like that, they really help you teach how to put systems into play, The Checklist Manifesto, those types of books are gonna be all the different categories, so right now it is the Happiest Man on Earth by Eddie Jaku.

0:03:04.8 Kiera Dent: I hope you guys read it. For me, I personally listened to it on Audible, which good and bad, you'll hear some pretty horrific stories through it, but to hear... It's not his voice, but it's a very similar voice, really just brought this book to life for me, and so I just wanna kick off some of my notes for you guys if you didn't read it, and if you did, giving you guys some tips on what to talk about for book club in your office. So for me, I think one of the greatest things, he kicks it off right at the beginning, and he weaves this throughout the entire thing, just to give you guys some background on this, Eddie is a Holocaust survivor and he has this incredible family, and they were die hard Germans, and they talked about how it was like Germany first, Judaism second. And so it was really like Germany, Germany, Germany, people who just loved their country, super, super strong patriotism, and Eddie's family was just a very close-knit, they would bring people over, his dad was talking about how like, we built all this... I think you call it Challah, the Jewish bread that's delicious.

0:04:07.0 Kiera Dent: But his mom would make so many extra loaves of this to just bless people and his dad said it's a responsibility to share my good fortune, it's better to have... It's better to give than receive. And so I really love that, 'cause he said life is worth more than a bank account, and throughout the book, Eddie talked about relationships and how a relationship is so valuable, and the relationships with our family. And so basically the premise of the book is that Eddie, his dad encourages him to go and become... Like get a good education, and he talks really about how that education truly saved his life, and so he goes away off to school, and during that time, just realized they don't have social media, they don't have the news, they don't have the newspapers. He was dedicated to school, not talking to his family much, and so he really didn't know what was going on. Had no idea that the Holocaust had happened, that Jews were being stripped from their homes, they were being taken to concentration camps, did not know any of that was happening, and so he came home from school, he had graduated, he was in his top honor, he was one of the most elite prestigious students and came home and no one was home.

0:05:14.2 Kiera Dent: And he was stripped from his bed, be incompletely, and they killed his dog in front of him because he was Jewish and his parents had been taken away, and his little sister had been taken away, and he goes through the story of how many times his education saved his life. And I think one of the biggest pieces that really, really, really stood out to me, and I'm definitely gonna get emotional on it, you hear through and I don't wanna share all of it, 'cause if you haven't read it, I definitely recommend you read it, but just how much love he had for his family and how much he loved his mom, and he says like, just go call your mom and give her a big hug and tell her how much you love her, because his mom ended up being sent to the gas chambers and so did his dad, and he just said how much he misses his mom, he misses that relationship with his parents and how lucky we are if we still have those relationships with our parents, and I know I have really fantastic parents that I love, but just hearing that, I think I read this book so often to remind me of how much goodness I have around me and how much I should really just relish in those relationships of people and friendships.

0:06:21.5 Kiera Dent: Because he talked about the relationships are what will help you survive. And so Eddie went through and he was shipped to different places, and I think he mentioned in there, if I remember right, four different times, his education saved him from being gassed and killed and how much like a good education in giving back, and he talks about how him and his friends in the camps would look out for each other, so they really were crafty of rags, and when people would get sick, they'd had to be standing up, and so his friends would work together and they would keep watch and they would let somebody else sleep without the guards catching them, so that way they'd be able to maintain their strength and stamina, and another time when he caught that they were putting a pretty strong element in the coffee that would have made so many of these victims become sterile and he caught it, and so he didn't, and that was actually how he's able to have a family. It was just such a beautiful story. He talked about the time he escaped and got shot in the back of the leg because someone thought that he was a trespasser, and so they actually started firing at him, that was in Poland, and he just was so flabbergasted that these people would see him and think that he was the enemy.

0:07:32.9 Kiera Dent: Even though he was like, I love these countries. I have nothing, I'm just a person and how can you guys hate another... Just a group of people that genuinely love our country and aren't we united that way? And so he got shot, and he talked about how having friends saved his life, there was a doctor that he had befriended in the camp who ended up taking the bullet out of his leg. And because of that, he was able to be saved. And just so many things that he talked about of just how, in my opinion, to live this fulfilled life, and I thought of this man who went through all of this, in my opinion, horrific behavior. I do not condone. And I love people from Germany. We had an employee from Germany. I don't think you can ever hate a culture or a group of people, especially people like this that... I get it, it's the traditions of their fathers, and that doesn't make everybody a bad person, it doesn't make these people wrong, is just a way for them to... It was just, it was culture and it was society, and so on that, he just talked about some of the key points that I really loved.

0:08:40.7 Kiera Dent: He ends up getting out... You guys can read the story about it, he ends up finding the love of his life, he ends up having children, and I just thought of someone who went through those, for him to say that he's the happiest man on earth, after everything he went through, I realized it's not about your life circumstances it's about your choices, all of us are given hard times, all of us are given hardships. To me, I cannot imagine enduring what this man went through and still having a positive outlook on life. I think I'd become jaded towards people. I hope I would be like Eddie. I hope I would love that. But he talked about how it's family first, family second, family last, family is more important than your bank account, the best bond for the soul is friendship, you must have friends you love and who love you back. And he said education saved your life. There is no medicine for your morals, if morals are gone, you are gone, and I just love that, so I'll give you a few of my favorite lines from the book, he said, don't allow your fear to overtake your morals, friends again, will save your life.

0:09:40.6 Kiera Dent: Stay true to yourself no matter what is going on, stay true to you. For every cool person, there is a kind person, he said, treat my body, the best machine ever made, with love and respect, he talked so much about how beautifully our bodies are created as the most incredible machine, he worked on machines and just said our body is so impressive, like I mentioned, that sort of the bullet, he used his own saliva as an antiseptic to heal himself, and it's so cool what our bodies can do, and so it's just like love and respect. And he said, friends really will save your life. He said, where there's life, there's hope. Hope is the fuel to the human body, give hope a chance, and he said the duty of the fortunate is to help the poor and needy. You have to try to make yourself happy, you can't drive yourself nuts looking over your neighbors' spends and being jealous, the best revenge in life is to be the happiest person on earth, and so I also love how he said shared sorrow is half sorrow, shared pleasure is double the pleasure, put the burden of pain down so I can bear the way of happiness. At the end he said, may you always have lots to love to share, good health to spare and lots of good friends who care, and I just think that that's such a beautiful way for this man, again, someone who...

0:10:56.2 Kiera Dent: Like I said, I don't know, I feel like I have faced some pretty incredible experiences in my life that have shaped me, that have molded me, that have created me into who I am, and I don't even think, like when people hear my true story, which again, I don't share, not because I don't want to share, but I don't feel like my life is that. I don't feel like the experiences I've had define who I am, and I believe that the survivors are those who write history, and so Eddie could have written his history as a Holocaust survivor who's had all these horrible things happen to him, but instead his history, he wrote the best revenge he had is to be the happiest man on earth, and he said, he truly is. And he said, why argue with the people you love? Your mom does everything for you, show her how much you care about her, and I just, like I said, I called my mom the first time I read this and just thought like, there will be a day when my mom might not be here and I won't be able to call her and I won't be able to tell her that I love her.

0:11:56.7 Kiera Dent: Same thing with friends and family, that day will come, and so why are we holding back love, why are we holding on to hurt? He said, give something and you'll get something, if you don't give anything, you'll get nothing. Hate won't kill your enemy, but it will kill you, live the best life and promise that you'll always be the happiest you've ever been and will always smile, every breath is beautiful. Happiness is in my hands, make a promise to live my best life, make a new friend to the world, never give up hope, it's never too late to be kind, polite and a loving human being. And so for me on this one, I just, like I said, this is in my quarterly books that I read, to remind myself of how hard life can be and how beautiful life can be. Eddie went to live the most beautiful life, and the Holocaust while had long lasting effects, if I look at his entire life, he ended up just passing away, I think he was... Gosh, he's well into his late 90s, but he definitely was someone, and he has an amazing, amazing TED Talk on there.

0:13:01.9 Kiera Dent: So if you wanna watch that, he died at the age of 101. Can you imagine a Holocaust survivor living to 101, he died in October 12, 2021. And he was born April 14th, 1920. So think of all the things he was able to see. All the things he's able to... This is a Holocaust survivor whose body was stripped down to nothing, who was beaten, like he was beating so badly, his mom was beaten so badly she had a sunken cheekbone for the rest of her life. But I thought about that, someone who lived that... If I look at his 101 years of life, his Holocaust time was truthfully a short amount of time, and I think how many short moments of time do we allow to paint the canvas for the rest of our lives, and I'm not trying to diminish hard things. I'm not trying to diminish the things that happen to us, I'm just saying that if we can see them as small timelines on the whole span of our life and truly commit to being the happiest person on earth, what kind of a life would we live? Like I said, it's not your circumstances, it's your choices that make you who you are, and I feel like I can speak on a pretty strong leg, a lot of people look at me and they think, "Kiera, you haven't seen the other side of life."

0:14:20.0 Kiera Dent: And I will tell you I have definitely seen the dark side of life, and I don't say this for petty, I don't say this for anything, I've shared some things, I haven't shared some things, but I know all of us have a story, all of us have seen the dark side of life, but what I can say is, choosing to be happy is a choice, it is not our circumstances, it is the choices and how we choose to view it, how we choose to give it significance. How we choose to evolve into the people that we are meant to be. I love this book so much because, like he said, family first, family second, family third, having friends, having hope in life, and truly the best revenge for all those horrific things that may have happened to you is to be happy. I had something really, really, really horrible happen to me, and I remember someone telling me like, "Kiera, you should hate that person." And the answer is, I have every right to hate. But I said, I refuse going through my journey to hate, because I thought about it, if I chose to hate, that would be a choice that would forever impact me.

0:15:23.2 Kiera Dent: And the best thing I can do is to be the happiest person. I believe that our experiences are hand-crafted for us and to serve and to love other people. I don't believe that all of the experiences I had were just for me, I believe that they gave me empathy, they gave me love, they gave me grace, they gave me understanding. I don't judge people, you have got a very interesting walk that you're walking, and the decisions you choose and the things you are, I believe are just your life, and the decision that I'm not here to judge you. I really love people, love ourselves, like let's find a way to become the happiest people on earth. Can you let go of things? Can you forgive someone? I think about forgiveness, and I just came back from an appointment and I was talking to this girl and there's hatred in her family and her family is divided, and my heart broke because I have a family with so much love, and I was so hurt with my little sister getting pregnant, and I was going through my IVF journey that I actually for a small amount of time, it was from October to December, so almost three months where I didn't speak to my sister and I decided to put a wedge between us, and I thankfully had a good friend, a friend who told me, "Kiera, don't you dare let this destroy your relationship with your sister."

0:16:36.5 Kiera Dent: And I'm so thankful for that friend saying the hard thing to me, saying the thing that I didn't wanna hear. Everyone else band-wagoned with me of like, yes, there's a sister code, your sister shouldn't have done that to you, but to ruin a life-long friendship with my sister, to have missed an opportunity to be there when her baby was born, which was one of the most magical, miraculous experiences of my life, I almost missed out on that because of hatred, because of pain, and instead, can we not choose to be the happiest person on earth? It's a choice. And so I hope you guys read this, I think book club things for your team would be, how can we be the happiest team in dentistry, how can we be the team that forgives easily, that has open communication, how can we as a team love our families while we're at work, so we love our work families, but how can we show our families love even in spite of having work and not being with them, how can we do these things? Also, what things in the story inspired you, what things stuck out to you, what things from his life did you decide, "I'm gonna be a little bit more like this."?

0:17:39.3 Kiera Dent: I think about Eddie, and he says, your friend Eddie, and how many other people can we befriend, what actions can we change to show more love, to give more love? Is my question to you. I believe as a society, we are becoming more and more and more divided when I feel like we should become more and more and more united. People love. I did a really fun exercise in office where I had people get into groups of three, and I tell them they have to come up with four things that are common characteristics of that group, and they have to name their group off of that, and it's crazy how many similarities people have when they look for it, there's always good people in the world, there are always people that will love you, and even when there's cruel people there that do mean things, there are better people and kinder people as well. So I would just encourage you to look at your filter, look at how you're looking at life, and can you choose to look through the eyes of happiness. And I have this quote sitting here, no matter what, decide to live in a beautiful state, why wait until the final moments? Life is short.

0:18:40.7 Kiera Dent: Eddie lived to be 101, dying the happiest man on earth after everything he went through, and I would ask the question, if we were called to our death beds tomorrow, could we say that we were dying as the happiest man or woman on earth today? And if not, what do you need to do to actively change to be the happiest person on earth? I believe all of us can do it, I believe it's within all of us, no matter what has happened to us, no matter what our life has given us, all of those things I do believe craft and create us, but they don't define us unless we choose to. And so I'd encourage each of you to choose today to be the happiest person on earth no matter what, because life is so beautiful and we are so blessed to live when we do, to experience what we do, so I hope you guys loved it. I hope this was a book of inspiration, I hope it truly reminded you of what is really important in life, and I would just say, who in your life right now needs your forgiveness, not because they need it, but because you need to let go off that?

0:19:41.7 Kiera Dent: Can you offer yourself the greatest gift and forgive? It's not gonna be immediate. It's hard when we go and do the right thing, 'cause oftentimes the right thing doesn't give us immediate results, but doing the wrong thing does, and so like with my little sister, it was hard, it took us several months to repair, and I'm so thankful that I chose to forgive her, that I chose to speak to her, that I chose not to let that ruin our friendship and our relationship. I'm so thankful for a friend who said something hard to me and made me realize that holding on to that grudge was truly just hurting me and not hurting her, and it was something to let go off. I can honestly say that I feel like I'm one of the happiest people, not because my life is perfect, but because I choose to and I want to. And I hope you guys all have that. Don't worry, Dental A Team consulting is not just about numbers and metrics, it's about you as a person, because I believe that if team members are fulfilled and if doctors are fulfilled, one, you're happier. Two, your family is happier, three, your community is happier. And four, the world is better because we've got great people out there serving, loving and guiding.

0:20:43.3 Kiera Dent: So that resonates with you. I don't do most of my consulting on numbers and metrics and systems as much as people would like to think. I do like 80% on your psychology, on who you are, on what you think about, on the filters you put into play, and if that inspires you, I would love to chat with you. So reach out, hello, at the dentalateam.com, and today guys, decide that you are gonna be the happiest person on earth just like Eddie. And as always, thanks for listening, I'll catch you next time on the Dental A Team podcast.


0:21:11.4 Kiera Dent: And that wraps it up for another episode of The Dental A Team podcast. Thank you so much for listening and we'll talk to you next time.



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