Ok… I am always excited when I learn something new, and boy, did I? The other day listening to talk radio on the way to school, I heard a segment on the reporting of the US Misery Index. I was like, what? Are you serious? There is an index out there that is supposedly going to tell me if I am miserable or not? Maybe not me specifically, but our nation as a whole.

So, I got to school and looked it up. Guess what? It’s real. Here’s the website: http://www.miseryindex.us

In short, here is the description… “The misery index was initiated by economist Arthur Okun, an adviser to President Lyndon Johnson in the 1960’s. It is simply the unemployment rate added to the inflation rate. It is assumed that both a higher rate of unemployment and a worsening of inflation both create economic and social costs for a country. A combination of rising inflation and more people out of work implies a deterioration in economic performance and a rise in the misery index.”


Yes, inflation is high. I’m not going to get into the unemployment rate and all of the other political stuff. However, inflation does not discriminate. I don’t like the price of milk and eggs right now, but I’m not going to make myself miserable over it. I like money in my pocket just as much as the next person. What I don’t need is an index gauging my thoughts for it. But… ultimately, I decide if I am miserable or not.

So, where’s the leadership in this? It all depends on you, I guess. My joy depends on these things – family, close friendships (that circle grows smaller as I get older), enjoyment of my work, and when it does not rain on Saturdays (so I can play golf), and foremost, my relationship with Christ.

As we are now in the Christmas season, if we listen to everything out there, we almost have no choice but to make ourselves miserable. Some small part of me believes that is what society wants; for us to be miserable, so we will depend on someone or something else. I am not going to sign up for that. You shouldn’t either.

Regardless of what the US Misery Index says, at any time of the year, I’m going to choose joy. Now, I have bad days; I’m sure we all do. However, the joy we should feel at Christmas, we should feel all year. Especially knowing the reason for Christmas, for that brings “Joy to the World” within itself.

And as for leadership… I get to choose that also. I get to decide what type of leader I want to be. I definitely do not need an index for that, either. As we begin the month of December and the Christmas season, focus on the joy that we have. If you have a chance, which we all do, spread some of it around.  It sure beats being miserable because somebody said, “Misery loves company.”

Let’s go fight the good fight of leadership. Someone has to…

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

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