Happiness is a choice

Writing is a somewhat haphazard and disorderly process for me, especially since the advent of the computer more than 20 years ago.
It is far too easy to save ideas, quotes, half-finished columns, book titles, and snippets of information for later use.
But, like a squirrel accidentally planting oak trees, it’s easier to save ideas than to find them later. As a result, I have hundreds and hundreds of folders and documents in my computer to go through when looking for column ideas.
And, sometimes, I find a forgotten gem.
Last week was one of those times when I found a real gem. Something I had written, I thought at first.
“I’m an expert in happiness,” so far so good. Then I read on, “My website on the subject draws 7,000-15,000 hits a day.”
Not me! My website is hardly functioning any more.
The article continued, “Because it’s all about happiness, I tell them this: Buy ‘Happiness is a Choice.’ Don’t read it at first. Just turn straight to the chapter called ‘Shortcuts.’”
At that point, I stopped reading and bought the book as instructed!
It turns out there are six shortcuts. Practice one shortcut a week for six weeks, says happiness expert Barry Neil Kaufman.
“When you have done that, the quality of every day of your life that follows will surpass the happiness you’ve experienced prior to following this recipe,” he promises.
“Every day will be happier.”
Misery is optional, not inevitable, Kaufman says. On the other hand, is happiness an impossible dream? No! But it’s up to you to make it happen.
We all have disappointments and very hard things to deal with in life. That’s why we need a book like this to guide us.
One of the reviewers of “Happiness is a Choice” is Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr. She says this book “affirms the unlimited potential of the human spirit and offers hope to those who have been challenged by adversity.”
And that’s all of us.
Kaufman’s shortcuts are designed to help you make the right choice:
1). Make happiness the priority! Not “a” priority but “the” priority. It’s number-one!
2). Accept your personal authenticity. Take the freedom to be yourself.
3). Be present. This is a very important tip. Discard regrets about the past and worries about the future.
“Our past is just our memory dragged into the present moment,” says Kaufman. And, after all, it is the present that really counts.
Be present . . . be happy!
4). Be grateful—every day of your life.
5). Be non-judgmental. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes, don’t judge.
6). Decide to be happy. Shortcut #6 is much like #1. It all comes down to making a choice.
This shortcut, says the author, encompasses all the other shortcuts and could render the others obsolete.
So choose happiness for your own sake, the sake of your family and friends, and the world. It’s worth it.
Why not try following one of Kaufman’s shortcuts each week for the next six weeks. You might be amazed how happy you can be!
Write Marie Snider at thisside60@cox.net