HAPPINESS IS A STATE OF MIND

As Abraham Lincoln so eloquently put it, "People are just about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Unfortunately, many make up their minds to wallow in gloom or self-pity. Many of us seek happiness in the transient pleasures of beauty, youth, wealth, or fame. A lot of us believe that if we aren't born rich, lucky, good-looking, brilliant, or talented, we're destined for lives of monotony, disappointment, and pain brightened by the occasional holiday or vacation.

Despite society's suggestion that only the beautiful or rich qualify for happiness, it remains a product of the individual mind. Ralph Waldo Emerson began a famous essay on self-reliance with the Latin phrase, "Ne te quaesiveris extra," which translates to "Do not search for yourself outside of yourself." Happiness is a personal responsibility that we need not look beyond ourselves to fulfill.

We can't always control the tragedies and setbacks that befall us, but we can control our handling and perception of these situations. Great card players play well regardless of the hand they're dealt, and so should each of us. Our happiness doesn't depend on people, things, possessions or good fortune, but on playing life's cards without envy, anger, and regret.

Our best defense against self-defeating thoughts, words, and attitudes is a determination to enjoy the here and now instead of longing for what once was or worrying about what will be. Some sense of beauty, accomplishment, or self-satisfaction can be found in the most menial tasks or unlikely places. Look for it. Our thoughts, rather than our things, make us happy or unhappy all the days of our lives. Material possessions may help, but misery dwells in the drawing rooms of the rich just as happiness often inhabits the shabbiest of hovels.

As children, perhaps much of our happiness stemmed from a belief that our dreams could come true and our goals become reality. We found wonder in everything around us and the world was ours to discover. It still is. As adults, we must learn to find happiness in the commonplace and not to take simple pleasures for granted.

A wise person once said that cynicism is nothing more than frozen disappointment. If that's true, I suggest that we all abandon our cynicism for the realization that we can make our dreams come true if we choose, plan and work to do it.

Set goals for yourself and enjoy the satisfaction of working to fulfill them and the reward that's yours when you do. We choose to be either happy or unhappy, and in every aspect of our lives, we make that choice every day.

Remember the famous words of William Shakespeare, "Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

INCH BY INCH, MANY SMALL IMPROVEMENTS EQUAL BIG SUCCESS

Life is fraught with disappointments and setbacks. Consistent improvement and success are the rewards of months or years of focused, goal-oriented effort. Remember that success and self-improvement are an ongoing challenge, and make a daily commitment to achieving both.

Much of modern technology teaches us to expect greater results with less time and energy. When your initial efforts don't bear fruit within the time frame you expected, don't despair. Success is the product of a lifetime of effort. If one stride takes you only two or three feet, that doesn't eliminate walking as an effective method of transportation. On the contrary, in 5,100,000 steps a person can trek from the Empire State Building to the Hollywood Bowl!

Similarly, people must offset daily rejection with daily motivation--not with one book or tape every quarter, but every day. How much does one uplifting thought enrich your career? Probably very little. One positive thought may be erased by the next "no" you hear. But 5,100,000 uplifting thoughts can overshadow a lot of no's and open the door to a consistent positive thought pattern that will reflect itself in your sales. Genuine success requires positive thinking over time. Like one tiny tile in a huge mosaic, any one moment or one event in your life is usually inconsequential.

Today, you're essentially the same person you were yesterday. But if you make a tiny improvement in your thinking every day, a decade can make an incredible difference in your attitude, motivation, and work habits. You can reach success from where you are--but it's up to you to make it happen. No one is going to "beam you up" and put you were you want to be, so stop waiting for luck. Your career will follow where your thoughts and actions lead. Samuel Smiles, author of the book Self-Help, which was published more than a hundred years ago, said: "Fifteen minutes a day spent on self-improvement will be felt at the end of a year!" Tony Robbins claims that we can do far less than we think we can in a year, but we can do far more than we think we can in a decade. Success takes more than a one-time effort, and 365 little improvements a year will prove it.

Inch by inch, step by step, constant positive reinforcement will get you where you want to be! Make thinking positive and action an everyday habit--you'll be addicted to success!

Hard work and sacrifice are the downpayments for your future success.

Nothing great was ever achieved without a burning desire and passion.

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