(Featured photo: Avner Even-Zohar volunteering with children in India. Courtesy photo)
While battling grief and depression, Avner Even-Zohar learned what happiness was and made a decision to pursue it.
“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. Happiness is a choice” is the motto Even-Zohar lives by
Even-Zohar, also known as “Captain Happiness,” a name he received while serving as a captain in the Israeli Army, has written 18 books on leadership, emotional intelligence and happiness, and he will be signing books from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14 at Barnes and Noble at Augusta Mall, 3450 Wrightsboro Rd.
“We’re all born happy,” said Even-Zohar, who was born in Israel, but now lives in North Augusta. He’s a civilian employed with the U.S. Department of Army, where he has received the achievement medal for civilian service. Much of his life’s work has involved education.
Just watch children, he said. They find happiness in simple things of everyday life.
But life brings with it situations that test joy and happiness.
Something he knows all too well. Not long after his partner left, his beloved grandmother died, and only about 18 months later, his mother contracted cancer and died quickly.
Even-Zohar said he once read that depression was deep sadness without hope. And he began to fall into that place of hopelessness.
In the midst of his grief, he began to learn about a side of his mother that she kept hidden from the rest of the world. She didn’t have dark secrets, rather they were secrets of generosity and compassion that she simply didn’t want anyone to know about.
“Too many people came to me to tell me stories of my mother,” he said.
He learned how she gave to neighbors’ children items such as textbooks, shoes and clothing. She wanted to remain anonymous to the outside world.
Those she helped said “We respected her desire not to be known, but she’s gone, and we’re not going to keep silent about all the good things she did.”
He began to see correlations in giving to others and happiness, and he’s pursued the spirit of volunteerism as well, adding meaning to both his life and the lives of others.
Also in the midst of grief, he began studying emotional intelligence, which is defined as “the ability to manage both your own emotions and understand the emotions of people around you. There are five key elements to EI: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills,” according to multiple online resources including Mental Health America.
Looking around bookshelves, Even-Zohar wanted more books on the topic, so he decided to write them.
He’s got books for all ages including pillow books for small children.
Even-Zohar’s books are also available at Amazon.
Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for the newsletter here.
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