How To Find Happiness – Right Under Your Toes

How To Find HappinessI’ve always noticed the word “cure” in pedicure. And I find the presence of this “cure” suffix very fitting.

For me, a pedicure is a helpful cure for many things: the flu, heartbreak, the doldrums, sleep-deprivation, writer’s block – and then some!

Last week I became sick – due to overworking and under-self pampering.

This week, as soon as I could muster the energy, I meandered across the street to get a yearned-for pedicure.

“Pick a color,” I was immediately instructed at the door.

I headed over to The Great Wall Of Nail Colors, and began trolling for a peppy hue – landing on a gold color with gold flakes of sparkles.

I sat down in the pedicure lounge chair. To my right sat a conservatively dressed woman, garbed in a dark blue skirt suit. A lawyer, I guessed. To my surprise, she handed her pedicurist a neon lime green polish for her toes.


To my left sat a salt-and-pepper haired woman (in her sixties) who handed her pedicurist a sparkle-infused purple polish – a surprising color choice, considering she was dressed head to toe in beige. Or rather dressed head to ankle in beige. Her toes were to tell a totally different colorful tale about her spirit than the rest of her pale, neutral ensemble.

As I looked around the salon, I became aware of how pretty much everyone’s little piggies were not dressed to go to market – but rather to boogie-down at a disco.

Being the “Glad Scientist” that I am, I found myself intrigued and delighted by how flashy these women’s toe color choices were – compared to the rest of their conservative appearance.

I wondered: Are these women more goofy, playful, wild, provocative in the rest of their lives – than they might appear at first glance? Or ….is a pedicure a solo safe haven to let their spirits out for a joy ride?

How To Find HappinessI hoped it was the former – and that the toe nail polish created a ripple affect into the rest of their lives to live boldly and colorfully – getting in touch with their inner “kick-ass” self!

I looked at the names of some of those polish choices: “Turning Heads Red,” “Major Celebration,” “Sexy Time,” “”Eternal Optimist,” and “Lady Luck.” I thought about how these are great mood-boosting mantras to go along with those pizzazz-boosting colors. It would be fun to consciously choose to take on being these polish names from head to toe – and not just simply ankle to toe!

It would be awesome to live up to the name of our toenail polish for as long as the toenail polish can last!

I wrote a TEDx presentation called “Fun is your high performance fuel. The importance of play at work.”  During my research for TEDx ( you can watch my video by clicking here), I came across something called “presenteeism” – which can be as dangerous to a business as “absenteeism.”

“Presenteeism” is all about how you show up to work – but you might as well not be there.

lessons learned in lifeYou’re present – but you’re emotionally absent. You’re not engaged fully in your work – and so performance and productivity suffers.

The cure? Taking time to create fun, playfulness and heart-felt connections at work.

My visit to the nail salon reminded me that “presenteeism” isn’t just a work problem – it’s a life problem.

If we’re not careful, we can get so busy, so stressed, so overwhelmed, or simply so bored-in-our-routine – that although we are present in our lives, we’re emotionally absent.

How To Find HappinessWe need to make sure we’re adding color and pizzazz to our lives – and in more places of our lives than just our toes!

We need to stay on our proverbial toes – and make sure we’re letting our spirits out to play on a daily basis.

Basically, just as “fun is a high performance fuel at work,” fun is a high performance fuel in all aspects of life: your friendships, love relationships, interactions with your children, interactions with oneself when alone with one self!

Your assignment:

Today think about how you can add a little more fun to your life – a little more pizzazz! Think about how you can swap your old ways for bold ways! Think about how you might add more color into your life – by adding in more music, more art, more spicier/unusual food choices, more daring heart-felt conversation. Look at these verbs and decide to use them in more than just a physical sense – but emotional sense: leaping, jumping, pouncing, prancing, skyrocketing, obliterating!

TWEET THIS NOW: How To Find Happiness – Right Under Your Toes @notsalmon

TWEET THIS NOW: Presenteeism is not just a work problem – but a life problem.

TWEET THIS NOW: It would be awesome to live up to the peppy, positive name of our toenail polish color – for as long as the polish lasts!

TWEET THIS NOW: Lessons learned in life – thanks to a pedicure @notsalmon

Written by Karen Salmansohn (Founder)

Hi I’m Karen Salmansohn, founder of NotSalmon. My mission is to offer you easy-to-understand insights and tools to empower you to bloom into your happiest, highest potential self. I use playful analogies, feisty humor, and stylish graphics to distill big ideas – going as far back as ancient wisdom from Aristotle, Buddhism and Darwin to the latest research studies from Cognitive Therapy, Neuro Linquistic Programming, Neuroscience, Positive Psychology, Quantum Physics, Nutritional Studies – and then some.
  • SJG

    TEDX presentation as in a Ted Talk??

  • Love it! I just bought some neon pink nail polish yesterday after not wearing nail polish in years. I’m looking forward to adding little bursts of fun to my day. When’s your TED talk?

  • Ana Santos

    Reading your blog reminds me of my myself. On the outside I am very plain and simple, but when it comes to getting my nails and feet done, I pick colors and designs that are out of my league. I think of the people who work at the nail salon as artists and you are advertising for them in a way. So you always want to make sure they give it their best because it may potentially bring them more business when people ask you who did your nails. Also, the funky colors and designs are just an expression of being vibrant and fun! =)

  • Aradia Goseling

    O so very interesting! I usually gravitate to one of two colors (red or black). The latter because it’s my preferred “color”, the latter when I want a reminder to stay grounded. and sometime I do the two with tips and switch between feet. Pouncing sounds like a great work for me because I tend to procrastinate and just wait around for a good time or for there to be time – instances that don’t quite occur in a convenient manner if at all.

  • Anna Shen

    as usual, fabulous post karen! love it…give me a rainbow for sure!

  • mariana nuno

    This is exactly what I needed to read today!… Thank you so much! You color my day!!!

  • Staci

    Such ridiculous pain I am carrying. I have completely misplaced the knowledge of how to care for myself. Painting my toes is not going to fix me. But I celebrate the fact that I actually read your entire blog post, reflected on it and posted a comment. Small steps will get me there just as leaping will. Today I am thankful for the small steps.

  • Hannah van Didden

    I think I will take up your excellent suggestion to live your nail colour, Karen. For the foreseeable future, I am Knock Their Socks Off pink 😉