Choosing a Happy Life

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Despite my 8 o'clock classes every morning, encounters with difficult people, and ongoing struggle to succeed in everything demanding my attention, wisdom from many of the most successful and happiest people tells me to maintain a positive attitude. As a recovering pessimist, I admit this goal is not easy to pursue.

From everything I have read, heard, and learned, happiness is a choice. Life is full of circumstances challenging you not to smile, but our pursuit should be toward satisfaction. Whatever your situation, you will be tempted to reject the merit your life has. As you read, learn from my mistakes, and choose to be happy as you live your life.

Perhaps the most challenging daily scenarios that test our patience and create bitter feelings are other people. There are those people in life that it seem like your very own thorn in the flesh, or maybe some days you just wake up and not one person can do anything right.

Personally, I used to be very judgmental and condescending toward people. But what did my negative attitude solve other than temporary superior feelings and broken bridges to relationships? In order to survive difficult people, I had to love them. The most practical advice I can give to overcome your struggle is to find one positive thing in every person and encourage them for it. When people receive your praise unconditionally, you become a more attractive person to be around; people feel loved around you. Obviously this principle isn't just for fighting bad seeds; use them on everyone, since everyone can use uplifting words.

Everyone has their own issues, and at times you may think you are absolutely justified in bitterness toward someone. Don't let someone else's choice to be negative toward you also bring you to a point of negativity. If someone hurts you or is negative toward you, cancel it with positivity. Nevertheless, since the people you are most commonly around affect your thinking, surround yourself with positive attitudes. If you are ever around a group of negative people, be the cheerful voice someone else needs.

If your battle with positivity isn't related to people, it might be situational. Many circumstances that we face will cause us to see only the worst possible outcome.  

For example, I am thinking of a test on which I scored less than expected. I immediately started fretting over the negative effect it would have. However, to be consistent in keeping a positive attitude, I practice a principle that John Maxwell teaches in his book Make Today Count. I must find at least one positive part of every circumstance; for me, it meant that even if I don't end up with the grade I'd like, I still have friends, a healthy body, and a family. This thought kept me from allowing one test to ruin my day and ultimately my semester.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden once said, "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." Take the good and the bad each day brings, and turn it into your own masterpiece grounded in joy. When the going gets tough, it's too easy to complain. Instead, be thankful; maybe it's gratefulness a learning opportunity, or maybe you just want to be thankful for the blessings you already have. Whatever the case, you decide how you feel about a circumstance.

Often negative attitudes can get in the way of your goals. When planning your ideal future, only visualize what you want to happen, not what you don't want. Plan for a bright future, and it will be more likely to come.

Multiple studies have shown that optimistic people, live longer, have happier relationships, are more successful in their careers, and enjoy their life more than those who are pessimistic. Enjoying life starts with vocabulary. Instead of saying "there's no way I can be happy about this," say, "I will find something good to make me happy because of this." Envision a place in your mind that makes you happy, filled with the people you like, the food that tastes good, and the songs that uplift your spirit.

It's really bothersome to me when I see people talk themselves down on social media. They constantly complain about how their life is in shambles, how they will never succeed, or how they will never meet the right people. They don't want to change anything about their attitude and approach to life, but they expect their circumstances to change. Don't follow this trend. I can't admit everything in my life is perfect, but I can assure you that I want to live a happy life, and that's how I choose to live. If you remain negative, people will not want to be around you, you will not achieve any goals to the fullest extent, and chaotic circumstances will overwhelm you.

Often people are so worried about coming across as arrogant that they overcompensate by putting themselves down. There's nothing wrong with confidence, with knowing your worth as a person and your ability to tackle a task. As long as you're comparing yourself to only your own life and not others', all you are is a content soul.

Remember, happiness is a choice. Choose to be positive, being a delight to others and yourself. Do not let people, circumstances, or anything else dictate your satisfaction in life. You determine how you feel, and you alone are responsible for your own happiness.

Tyler,
Always hanging out in my happy place

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