always been interesting to me that the average person (go ahead and
ask them), spends ten times (or more) the amount of time watching
television than he or she does even considering happiness. In
fact, in one poll that I conducted, not a single person out of more
than 30 people admitted to spending even one second thinking about
how they might go about becoming happier! Some of these people
spent anywhere from 2-7 hours a day in front of a television set, yet
not one minute contemplating what could amount to the most important
question of one’s life—how can I be happier? One of the
first rules of any venture is that in order to get somewhere, you
need at least a general idea of how to get there and, at very least,
where you are going!
really lucky in a way as learning to be happy is a very easy thing to
do. In fact, happiness is our natural state. If left to
our devices and if we could find a way to stop interfering with the
flow, we’d be extremely happy right now. So while life did not come
with a instruction book on happiness, it really didn’t have to.
By following some really simple principles and also knowing how to
get out of our own way, we can become extremely happy, regardless of
our present circumstances.
people would agree with the notion that when a baby is born, he or
she is a fairly clean slate. In other words, they aren’t
vicious, reactive, judgmental, dissatisfied, prejudice, jealous, or
angry. Instead, they are simply little beings who are curious
and open to learning. Unfortunately, most of the time they
eventually learn some pretty negative thinking which leads to some
pretty unhappy times.
are taught that our thoughts are real and that we should pay
attention to them. Problem is, they aren’t real, they are
of a time when you were, say, driving home from a baseball game and
on the last play of the game, your favorite player, dropped an easy
ball and blew the game and the season for your team and all the fans,
you being one of them. You’re now in the comfort of your own
home and the outcome of the game is brought up by other members of
your family. You start to think about the dropped ball and you
start to get depressed. You launch into a lecture about how the team
needs new outfielders! Yikes, it’s happening all over again!
It’s as if the dropped
ball is happening all over again in your living room. As you
think about it, you get more and more distressed, after all, you
rationalize, he “did” drop the ball!
true he did drop the ball. But let me show you how easy it is
to dismiss that thought now that the event is over. You’re
about to see that while the unfortunate event did occur, it’s now
only a harmless thought with no power over you other than that which
you give it. And once you realize this, happiness will be
you ever been driving and some other driver nearly knocks you off the
road---maybe even comes within a foot or two of killing you?
It’s happened to me a few times in the almost 30 years that I’ve
been driving. Whether it has ever happened to you or not,
pretend for a minute that it did. Imagine the thoughts that
would be running through your mind while you were still heated.
I can imagine the thought “I should kill that guy,” being one of
your thoughts, or something similar, relating to some sort of
revenge. Now the question becomes, “would you do it?”
I mean it. Would you kill the driver? Of course you
wouldn’t. And other than the facts that it’s against the
law and that you’re a moral person, why wouldn’t you act on that
thought? The reason is simple: The thought was just a
thought---like the thousands of other thoughts that run through your
mind every single day. You realize it was just a thought and
you promptly dismiss it. This doesn’t mean you aren’t a
little spooked or that you don’t care—of course you do. But
by dismissing the thought, you put the event behind you, opening the
door for you to move into the present moment and be happy in this
moment instead of caught up in a thought that is just a thought, like
all other thoughts---including the thought of the baseball player
dropping the ball. Today, as we live our life, that event is
merely a thought carried through time, via our own thinking As long
as you see it, not as a reality to contend with, but as a simple
thought, you are free to live right now, in this moment. Because
thoughts are just thoughts (all of them) you have the power to drop
any thought, at any time. You are absolutely in charge and have the
last say! This is the ultimate in taking responsibility for
your own thoughts and feelings.
a little more food for though. Let me ask you a funny
question. Would you ever, even for a moment, consider writing
yourself a nasty, mean-spirited letter and then mailing that letter
to yourself? Then, when you get the letter you open it and
you’re immediately offended by the mean and obnoxious content!
You storm around the room and act all out of sorts!
Of course this would never
happen in a million years, but why? The reason is that you
would be aware that it was you who wrote the letter. How silly
would it be to write a letter and then become upset by that very
that’s the exact same logic we can apply to our thinking.
Think about it carefully. Why would you ever have a thought—any
thought, no matter how negative or scary—and then become nervous,
reactive, angry or in some other way bothered by it? Remember,
it’s just a thought you’re having, just like all the others. And
what’s more important, you’re the one who produced the thought to
begin with. Being upset by your own thoughts is a little like
smashing your head against a wall and wondering why your head hurts.
Remember, you wouldn’t act on a scary thought like killing another
driver, no matter how bad he or she was—why? Because it was
just a thought. The secret to a happy life is to realize that
all of our thoughts are just thoughts. True; things happen all
the time, but once they are over---or if they haven’t happened yet,
they are just thoughts. Before I close, take one last look at
that ball player who dropped the ball. Regardless of how high
the stakes were, it’s now, today, right now, nothing more than a
thought---no more or less important than any others! Try
applying this logic to all of the thoughts that run through your mind
and, pretty soon, you’ll be dropping any negativity you’ve been
burdening yourself with---and what you’ll be left with is, you’ve