They are the ones who are always happy, seemingly oblivious to the tragedy, terror, and general mayhem surrounding most of the rest of us in the world.
They are the people who smile at work and try to make the best of every situation, regardless of how bleak it actually is.
They are the ones who, when you ask how they are doing, typically respond with a big smile and say something along the lines of, “Great!” or “Awesome!” or “Fantastic!”
It’s as if they are always happy, in spite of the dreary weather, or the stock market crash, or the fact that the internet has been down at work all day and no one is able to get any work accomplished.
There are some people who know the secret to happiness, and if you give it some thought, you can probably think of one or two people you know or have met, who seem to know the secret.
So what is the secret to happiness? It’s no secret really. The secret to being happy is to be happy.
“What? That’s it? That’s not a secret. That’s just stupid.” That’s what I thought too, when I first read about the secret to happiness. “Be happy? If I was happy, then I wouldn’t be reading this book (or this column), trying to figure out how to be happy.”
It is true. The secret to happiness is to be happy. It might seem trite or overly simplified, but if you stop to think about it, it really is true.
Being happy, just like being miserable, is a choice. Each morning when we rise, we have a choice about how our day will go. Not only do we choose which clothes to wear, and how to fix our hair, we also choose our mood.
I always tell my children, as they head out the door for school, “Remember, nothing can ruin your day, unless you let it.”
Some days, I have a hard time remembering that for myself, but I hope that with my daily reminder, they will eventually learn that they have a choice about how their day will go, and how they will respond to different situations.
Life isn’t always easy, nor is it always fun. We always have a choice, however, about how we will respond to even the most dire of circumstances.
You can choose whether you’d like to be happy. In spite of what is happening in your life right now, you can still choose to be happy, and that is the secret. There is nothing, absolutely nothing stopping you from being happy.
Does being happy mean you have to walk around every day with a big sappy grin on your face? No. It means that rather than look for the worst in every situation, you stop, reassess, and look for the positive aspects.
Being happy means you choose to open your heart. Instead of closing yourself off and isolating, you open yourself to the possibility that life is good. In fact, life is great.
If you doubt the veracity of this secret, give it a try. You don’t have to choose to be happy all day. Just try it now, in this moment.
Decide that right now, you will be happy. Do the things a happy person would do. Ask yourself, “If I were happy, how would I speak, what would I do right now?”
Then, do that thing, just for a moment.
Try it and see. Make a choice to be happy, and then share the secret with those who haven’t yet discovered it.