Skip to content

The Ultimate Question

I recently came across a survey (thanks Grumo Media) conducted by a palliative care nurse over a period of years. The nurse, Bronnie Ware, compiled a database of “regrets” from her patients during their final days of life. The top five regrets were as follows:

  1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not what others expect of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I had kept in touch with my friends.
  4. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
  5. I wish I had let myself be happier.

In the end, nobody cared about money, power or recognition. The only thing that mattered was happiness.

What is the meaning of life? It’s the ultimate questions. How does one lead a live of purpose and why is it so elusive? Oprah has generated billions pondering that question. Most of us realize that life’s meaning doesn’t center on money or stuff and still we wrestle with vanity. Happiness it seems is a choice and many of us choose to not be happy. Why? No simple answer.

At Wolfgang we talk about purpose: why do we get out bed in the morning? What do we love about our business? What are we passionate about?  As a group we have discussed learning, growth, service and making a difference as corner stones to our purpose. More recently we have been talking about happiness. Our own happiness and that of everyone we touch with our business.

The concept of happiness has resonated with our group deeply. So much so that at this point in our company’s evolution we have agreed that our purpose is “to make people happy”

“To make people happy”, a cynic could have a field day with that statement, “you people are a bunch of try-hards, people pleasers, bending over backwards in search of more profit”

Not true. I believe that you cannot truly impact someone’s happiness unless you are truly happy yourself. So our mission statement is as much about ourselves as it is about our customers or other stakeholders. In my mind “to make people happy” challenges everyone at Wolfgang to think about their own life and make the necessary changes to avoid those frightening “top five regrets”

By the way, we don’t spend all our time at Wolfgang discussing such heady topics. We also spend a lot of time painting Vancouver’s buildings. Buildings like to be happy too!

Dave Notte

About the Author: Dave Notte

Dave Notte is the founder of Wolfgang Commercial Painters, one of Metro Vancouver's largest commercial and strata painting companies.

Wolfgang Commercial Painters

Call (888) WLF-GANG or email

Street Address:

112- 4268 Lozells Ave. Burnaby, BC, V5A 0C6