Your Happiness Scale

You often hear people say, “Don’t let it steal your happiness/joy.”

They’re often referring to some trivial, in their eyes, circumstance that you’re allowing to bring down your mood and ruin your day.

There’s a chance they’re right. You’re overreacting and should release it and reclaim your happiness. They might also be wrong. You get decide what upsets you and what doesn’t.

The trouble is you’re not always sure you should be upset. Sometimes you don’t even want to be, but you are.

Here’s a simple mental exercise you can do to determine if it’s worth the emotional investment it takes to be upset and upend your happiness.

Visualize a scale like the one shown above. on one side of the scale, see the word happiness or joy, if you prefer. On the other side, see the circumstances that have you upset. Focus for a moment. See your scale clearly.

Now, ask yourself one simple question. Which is more important to me right now – my happiness/joy or allowing myself to be angry and upset?

Answer the question honestly. Then recognize that it is 100 percent your choice which to choose.

Make no mistake. Happiness is a choice. Remaining upset or angry is a choice. Neither option is forced upon you. You maintain compete autonomy to decide which will rule your mind right now and this day, week, year, or lifetime.

Sometimes a little anger can be short-term fuel for positive change, but it’s not a fuel to run a life by. It’s too toxic and corrosive.

Happiness and joy are ever-present, right here whenever you need them. You haven’t been cheated. They’re as accessible to you right now as they are to any other person on the planet. They are accessed by a choice and a quiet determination not to succumb to the negative.

You do you, but do the you that bear serves you,

Wherever you are on your journey, know I believe in you!


10 Ways to Choose Happiness

Good evening, my friends. There was a fantastic book released back in the early 1990s titled Happiness Is A Choice by Barry Neil Kaufmann.

Since reading that book, it’s always stuck in my mind that this is a fundamental truth of life.

Some angrily rail against this idea, claiming that it’s a form blaming the victim. That’s only true if you plan to remain forever a victim in your life.

The idea that we can choose the feeling or the attitude is an absolute freedom we have over our circumstances.

In his seminal work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Viktor Frankl wrote:

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.

Being a Holocaust survivor, Frankl realized the power to choose your attitude despite life’s harshest and most unjust experiences.

Neither he nor I deny that we are sometimes victimized by life’s vicissitudes. Rather that is was one of our true superpowers that we need not cede our right to be happy the circumstances around us.

Here are 10 ways to choose happiness every day.

  1. Allow fewer people and fewer things to piss you off.
  2. Know that negative situations are temporary and good times are on the way back.
  3. Find joy in the little things.
  4. Feel good about the success of others between your successes.
  5. Have complete confidence that everything, everything that happens to you is a doorway to something great.
  6. Remember who you really, truly are beyond the masks and the roles of this momentary situation.
  7. Remember who other people really, truly are beyond the masks and roles of this momentary situation.
  8. Put tough days behind you and start with the premise that today will be amazing.
  9. Notice the million miracles happening all around you in every moment.
  10. Know for certain, wherever life has taken you, it’s never too late to turn it all around and be the person you came here to be.

Live by these principles and I guarantee you, you’ll be able to choose happiness over and over again.

Wherever you are on your journey, remember you are awesome!


Radical Choice to Be Happy

The world will be what it will be today. We can either choose to own our own happiness, regardless of what comes. Or, we can leave our happiness up to the whims of events. The choice is always ours.

Just in case no one else has reminded you today, you ARE awesome!


Offended Culture – Day 315 of 365 Days to a Better You

Hey, my friends. My apologies for missing a few days. We’ve been neck deep in our move to the new house and the holidays. I hope you’re enjoying this special time with family and friends,

Somehow we’ve created a society that is easily offended by…well…about everything. There are two simple steps you can take to increase your happiness and that of others.

  1. Speak more respectfully to others.
  2. Be less easily offended by others.

I’m not saying be politically correct to the point of absurdity nor am I saying don’t stand up for yourself when a situation calls for it.

I am saying consider the other person. I am saying pick your battles.

If you wish to walk around perpetually offended, you’ll always find some person or some situation, but why seek to bring those feelings into your consciousness unnecessarily?

The poet Rumi wrote, “When you go to a garden, do you look at thorns or flowers? Spend more time with the roses and jasmine.”

Yes! There’s plenty to offend you in the world, but why spend your energy there in anger? There are also plenty of people and situations that add positive energy to your experience. Spend more time with them.

You have a choice. You need not participate in the culture of perpetual offense.

Just in case no one has reminded you today, you’re awesome!


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There Are No Mistakes – Day 127 of 365 Days to a Better You

There are NO mistakes.

Back in 1994, Barry Neil Kaufman published a book titled Happiness is a Choice. The book centered around the work he had done with his own autistic son after experts had told him there was nothing that could be done for him.

The book filled tremendous insights that are useful to each of us. One that has always stuck with me was his “Mistakes Wheel” – an adaptation of the Native American Medicine Wheel.

His wheel contains five points of wisdom. The north direction on the wheel reminds us to learn from our mistakes. The west direction reminds us to learn from the mistakes of others. The east direction reminds us to learn from the mistakes of our teachers. The south direction reminds us to make as many mistakes as it takes. Finally, at the center of the wheel, is the wisdom that there is no such thing as a mistake.

mistakes_wheel_kaufman_medicine wheel.001

The five principles are progressive. First you must be willing to see your mistake and learn from them. Next you must learn from others. This is the awareness to look at the people around you and learn from the mistakes they have made. The third step of wisdom is to see that even your teachers make mistakes and to learn from their mistakes.

I contend that fourth step is birthplace of the freedom this concept begets. Now you begin to see that mistakes are a part of the natural process of growing, learning, and becoming wiser. You stop beating yourself up for them and become a student fully ready to learn what they have to teach you.

In the last step, you break through to the bliss beyond concept. You have the full realization that there are no mistakes. It’s all wisdom. It’s all perfection. It’s all exactly what you needed to be the best you. It’s very much Tao concept that the bliss lies precisely in the chaos of the give and take between the light and the dark.

This model seems simplistic. I’d argue, if you dig a bit, there’s well-mapped path here. Whether you pursue its depths or just take this passing notice of the concept, I hope you’ll learn to see that everything is a lesson and the very concept of a mistake is pejorative judgment that cause you to miss the point again and again.

Power hack: Review your day today. How many times did you judge yourself or someone else? Did you make room for the mistakes you’re inevitably going to make? Did you see the lesson in them and can you learn to see them as not mistakes at all.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.


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