Everybody likes a cheerful person

“The soul-consuming and friction-wearing tendency of this hurrying, grasping, competing age is the excuse for this book . . . everything which worries and frets, and which brings discord into so many lives?”
Thus begins Orison Swett Marden’s book, “The Power of Being Cheerful.”
Obviously, we all can identify with the world that Marden describes. But somehow I had never thought of “cheerfulness” as an antidote.
As I read on, I was very impressed with Marden’s wisdom and wanted to see what other books he had written. Was I surprised!
He has authored many books on success–as many as 60–and “The Power of Being Cheerful” was about his 10th. But most surprising of all was that this book was published in 1899.
How could it be so contemporary! Could it be because Marden understood people so well?
Born in 1850, Marden grew up as a poor orphan and wanted to better himself. At a young age, he read books about how to become successful and his reading paid off.
Before he became a successful writer, he had earned a degree in medicine and was a successful hotel owner.
He is considered to be the founder of the modern success movement. In 1897, Marden founded Success Magazine, which still survives today. And the titles of his books still sell themselves.
“The Power of Being Cheerful”–what a title! Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by cheerful, smiling, and hopeful people instead of complaining, grumpy, sour people?
Hence, we’re enticed to read the book.
It makes sense that the most cheerful people would reap the rewards of success. Yet, we sometimes think how happy we would be if only we had more money . . . a different job . . . more friends . . . better health . . . or if we could travel more.
The list of “ifs” goes on.
But Marden said that we have it backwards. “First comes the happiness and then the success, not the other way around as we so often think.”
“Cheerfulness has a wonderful lubricating power,” explained Marden. “It lengthens the life of human machinery, as lubricants lengthen the life of inert machinery.” Thus, cheerfulness leads to success in any venture.
Marden also was a firm believer in the healing power of laughter. He called it “cheap medicine.” And fortunately, cheerfulness often leads to laughter.
Referencing a doctor of the time who was known as the “Laughing Doctor,” Marden reported that he had a happy face and his good humor was contagious. “He dealt sparingly in medicines, yet was very successful.”
Said Marden, “If everybody knew the power of laughter as a health tonic and life prolonger, the tinge of sadness which now clouds the American face would largely disappear, and many physicians would find their occupation gone.”
So, listen to this 19th-century seer, many of whose books are being re-published in the 21st century.
Why not form a “habit of cheerfulness” to help you cope with the difficulties of life. And make sure to mix in a big dose of healing laughter.
Remember, a smile on your face will go a long way. It tells people you are cheerful and everybody likes cheerful people.
Who knows, it may even prolong your years. As Marden wrote, “Joyfulness keeps the heart and face young.”
Marie Snider is an award-winning health care writer and syndicated columnist. Write her at thisside60@aol.com or visit www.visit-snider.com

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