I’m a firm believer that happiness is a choice.
Everything around us is energy, including our thoughts. We have the power to choose our thoughts – so why not choose thoughts that make us feel good rather than thoughts that focus on what isn’t working in our lives?
In a recent newsletter, serial entrepreneur and all around amazing guy Peter Shankman wrote “We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to be unhappy. We can find the good in things, or we can radiate negativity. We can choose to make things better, or we can complain. In other words, we can light a candle, or we can curse the darkness.”
I’ve had the privilege of hearing Peter speak twice, and I attended one of his Masterminds last summer. Peter always seems to have a smile on his face. He, too, believes that we can choose to be happy. And his way of doing that is so simple, anyone can do it. Peter writes:
Replace “I have to,” with “I get to,”
and you’ll be amazed how awesome life becomes.
It resonated with me in a big way, and I realized that even though my basic setpoint is most definitely “happy,” I let far too many little things get to me. Especially things I can’ t control.
The weather is a perfect example. It was really cold for a few days last week (well, actually, it was normal for this time of year, but after the mild December we’ve had, temperatures in the 30’s felt pretty brutal.) I found myself shivering on my daily walk, thinking that I really wasn’t having that much fun. Then I thought of a dear friend who had to temporarily suspend her daily walks due to some health issues. And I thought of all the years I worked in corporate jobs, when I would have given anything to be able to go for a walk in the middle of the day. And all of a sudden, my mood went from “ugh, I hate being out today, I can’t wait to be done with this walk” to “I get to walk in the sun in the middle of the day – how lucky am I!”
Peter lists several examples of how “I get to” changes things in his newsletter, including this one that we can probably all relate to: “Happy to have to clean up cat puke from my living room rug? Well, I’m blessed enough to be able to have rescued two cats, who in return, provide me with love and tranquility (most of the time.)”
So try it the next time you’re thinking “I have to.” Replace it with “I get to,” and notice how your energy shifts.
Of course, cats don’t ever feel like they have to do anything. So who’s the smarter species after all?
To learn more about Peter Shankman, visit his website at http://www.PeterShankman.com. And while you’re there, sign up for his newsletter. While most of his communications are focused on business matters, they’re full of plenty of motivational pearls that apply to more than just business.