Defining Happiness

Posted on Friday, June 2, 2017

“The Dali Lama says everyone wants to be happy,” Tom Glaser (B.S. ’84, Communication Arts & Sciences) says. “It’s inscribed in our Constitution. The right to be happy seems to be a universal human drive. It also seems to be something people take for granted.”

Glaser recently released a new book, Full Heart Living, Conversations with the Happiest People I Know to help others define happiness for themselves. In the book, Glaser uncovers what’s behind the simple yet profound choices truly happy people make, breaking it down into easy to follow steps.

With 30 years of experience as a psychologist and life coach, Glaser wanted to help those are materially well-off but still feel they are missing something.

Read more about Full Heart Living here

Glaser’s interest in Psychology was sparked by a high school teacher. As someone who enjoys deep conversation, listening, and problem solving, he knew it was a strong possibility for a career.

He came to WMU and decided on a communication major due to a combination of the classes, instructors, and compelling material.

“No matter what I did, I knew communicating well would be important,” Glaser recalled. “It’s an essential part of life. Listening, leadership… it’s applicable right now to everything.”

As a student at WMU, Glaser was actively involved on campus as an Orientation Student Leader, Resident Assistant for Eldridge/Fox, and then Assistant Hall Director at Eldridge/Fox and Harrison/Stinson. He fondly remembers traveling to the National Association for College and University Residence Halls national conference, and enjoyed participating with National Residence Hall Honorary.

“I learned a lot in terms of communication, leadership, people skills, getting along with people,” Glaser said. “I’m so glad I did all these things. Not to downplay my education, but it was a huge part of it.”

After graduating, Glaser earned a Master of Science degree in Community Counseling from Minnesota State University-Mankato and went on to work at several colleges and universities as a counselor before establishing a solo, private practice.

For current students or recent graduates interested in psychological careers, Glaser encourages seeking a therapist or life coach.

“You can’t help other people work on themselves if you’re not doing the same work. You need to know that perspective.”

He also reminds students to follow their passion.

“We come alive when we follow our passion. Don’t worry so much about the money, that will all fall in to place. Trust yourself and the universe that you will figure it all out.”