“We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.”Frederick Keonig

I woke up and had my daily “grateful time” before getting out of bed. I drove my kid to school and enjoyed the moment: we talked, we laughed, and she received the encouragement she needed.

I arrived at the gym, greeted everyone I met with courtesy and a smile on my face.

I especially acknowledged people at the reception desk, the cleaners, and others. I worked out, felt great.

Drove to the office, hugged my staff, praised them, and started the day. Happy? “Absolutely!

Your circumstances don’t dictate your happiness, you do.

Have you ever been to an island or a small town in a developing country? You can find some of the happiest people living in such places. Why?

Happiness comes from the inside! They have mastered the art of fulfillment: being grateful for what they have, living in the present, enjoying the small pleasures of life.

Usually, they are active in the community, help each other, and have the love and support of family.The saddest thing is when a person achieves financial success and still feels unhappy, lonely, and frustrated on the inside.

It seems we mostly go about it the wrong way. We try to create happiness on the outside by buying things, taking trips, having dinners at expensive restaurants, and so on.

But unless we are content on the inside, we will be depressed again- as soon as the experience we created has ended. Happiness is a state of being, and you have the power to determine whether you view events as a blessing or a curse.

The good news is that you can learn to be happy inside- without always depending on others, money, or material things. It all starts and ends in your mind — the way you train your brain to see and react to situations.

The brain is made for survival, not for delight, and it is trained to look for problems; this is why we need to learn to control our minds.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”-Aristotle

You can see bad things as horrible and dwell on the negative and the ugly, or you can train your mind to see that there is always opportunity even in the most significant defeat or failure.

Every problem has a solution. If it doesn’t, there is nothing you can do about it, and it is time to move on. Life is an array of good and not so good experiences.

We need to learn to hold on to the good memories and let go of the depressing ones.

The problem with some of us is that we love to hold on to a bad experience — to file- and store it in our minds and check on it regularly.

We love to dwell in the mire of negative feelings.

We collect disturbing thoughts of what has happened to us, and as a result- have a disturbed mind.

Then we wonder why we are not happy.

Watch out for the little things

When big tragedies happen to us, we learn to deal with it; we have no choice.

We are forced to seek answers: we accept the consequences- and prepare ourselves to deal with them.

After it passes (- because, yes, all things eventually pass), we realize we have grown and learned from it and become better as a result.

The problem is the little things. These are the things that bother and make us upset, frustrated, and that we subconsciously do not let go, but store in the back of our minds.

The car that cut us off in traffic, the rude client, the lazy co-worker, the weather, your mother in law- and the list goes on.

These are mostly little things that are actually beyond your control. The things that we need to learn to let go, relax, and let pass.

“Happy is he who learns to bear what he cannot change.” -Friedrich Schiller

If you keep it and store it, you will be walking around like a ticking bomb- ready to explode, and many people do.

Have you ever said something to your spouse or friend or co-worker, and they reacted explosively? You wonder, “Hey! It’s not such a big deal: what happened?”

Probably what you said was just the last drop in the array of little negative things that happened to that person and that they stored faithfully until the lid blew off in a mighty explosion of frustration and anger.

Things you cannot control, you need to learn to let go.

People who typically store all these little unpleasant things throughout the day- reap unhappiness as a result- then they go to a bar to relax and seek happiness.

You control the story you tell yourself about any situation.

What is your story? We all have an inside story of how our life is supposed to be.

Sometimes we write that story as we are growing up, what we hope to achieve, our dreams and aspirations.

The problem is we live in a society that defines success as a lot of money and significant accomplishments.

But what does it mean? That a school teacher cannot be happy? A stay-at-home mother that is raising her kids to be worthy human beings is not successful?

We hear people ask: “What do you do?” as if what you do for a living determines your total value as a person.

What we decide to do in life is our choice, and there is no right or wrong, it is our choice. But remember -there is as much beauty in a snowflake as in a majestic mountain.

A beautiful life, a happy existence, is the one that fulfills what it was destined to accomplish on this earth.

You are in control of your happiness.

You are happy when the reality you experience each day corresponds with the story of how you think your life should be. And the opposite is also exact: you are unhappy when your reality does not match with your account- then you have pain and disappointment.

Learn to put your life in perspective. What limiting beliefs are stopping you from reaching your most significant potential as a human being? Remember also, your story changes as you grow and learn.

Two human needs are essential, and the first one is growth: We are happy when we are growing and progressing in one or different areas of our lives.

The second one is contribution: We are happy human beings when we are giving to society, when we add value to others, help someone and have not only money but also meaning and purpose in our lives.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” — Viktor Frankl

It pays to take an honest look at your life and ask: “How can I close the gap from where I am, to where I want to be?” And then do it!

Life has given you many gifts: intelligence, health, opportunities.

Open up your heart and the glory will come in! Learn to master life: do not allow life to master you. Learn to create the circumstances you desire.

Decisions control life, and one of the best decisions you can make is to decide you are going to live in a good state of mind, with love and without fears.

Happy people do better in every area of life. It is an advantage. What is keeping you? Do you see life as an obstacle to happiness? Or you see everything as a blessing to be appreciated?

As someone said: “Life is not happening to you. It is happening for you!”

So, smile!

“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln

Vitin Landivar/habitsofsuccess.org