“Happy” is a Decision You Make. Or Not.


Image 1First off, I want to mention that a few nights ago, Heather and I were watching Shawn Achor on the Oprah Winfrey Network. Shawn went to Harvard and studied “Positive Psychology”, and now he travels all over the world giving talks on the subject. He has also written several books. I will post a link to one of his Ted Talks at the bottom of this blog.

Anyway, Oprah was interviewing him and at one point he smiled and said, “Well Oprah, if you are happy all the time, that is a disorder!”

Nobody is perfect. Everyone has something that they wish they did better at or had more of. And nobody is happy all the time. I guess if by some strange incident, you were happy all the time, well… you wouldn’t be human.

Shawn also said to Oprah at one point, “Who cares if the glass is half-empty or half-full, when there is a pitcher of water beside it?”

Oprah nearly came unglued and called this a “Tweetable Moment”.

Just for the record, I am a big fan of Oprah, but sometimes she gets overly excited and interrupts her guests too much.

So nobody is happy all the time, and who cares about the glass, when there is a pitcher of water beside it?

Pick up the pitcher and fill the glass!

But hey, I know it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes when we would do anything to have a full glass of water, we for some reason cannot seem to pick up the pitcher and fill the glass.

It takes work. It takes realizing that you and only you can control your life. If you don’t take the reigns, then… you remain the victim. So we get to work.

My thoughts did not change on their own. For me, it began with changing my speech. I had to decide what I wanted to think, and then I had to say it. This requires listening to yourself, which isn’t the easiest thing to do. Who listens to what they say?

What you say is a lot more important than you might think.

At first it felt as if I was lying, because I would think and feel one way, but I would verbalize something else.

When someone asked me, “How are you?”, instead of launching in to a twenty minute campaign about all the things that were bothering me, I would smile and say, “I am fantastic! Living in Heaven!”

Sometimes I would be gritting my teeth.

“I’ve got to go to the store and get some things for my wife again” became, “I get to go to this giant grocery store filled with food, and bring some things back to my lovely home and wife!”

In the end, I am in charge of how I look at things. I am in charge of my thoughts, feelings, and actions. So my speech became of upmost importance to me.

And soon I found myself thinking, “90% of the people in the world don’t own their own home.” and “Well, there are some people that have more than me, but there are a lot more people who have less than me.” and then believe it or not, I started thinking, “Kyle, you are a pretty good guy!”

No, I am not happy all the time. Yes, there are things in my life that I sometimes wish were different. No, I am not perfect. Yes, I have come to be okay with me, even with my imperfections.

I just want to be happy right now. I don’t want to need for things to be a certain way in order for me to be happy. I just want to be happy now, with things as they are. You cannot put conditions on your happiness. And happiness does not come from outside of you, it comes from within.

So if you want more happiness in your life, make the decision that it shall be. Even better, make the decision to be happy right now!

Here is the video of Shawn Achor I promised.

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