When I got a job working at GoodLife Fitness Clubs they asked me to read a couple of books that the owner felt would make us better at our jobs because they would help us find happiness. One of the books was “Happiness Is A Choice” by Barry Neil Kaufman. I read some of it, just enough to pass the test they gave me, but not the whole thing.
Barry knows the people won’t read the book and he says as much when he introduces a very useful section in the book “The 6 Shortcuts to Happiness” – he recommends to anyone who skipped directly to that section that they read the book.
The 6 shortcuts are:
- Make happiness the priority.
- Be authentic.
- Don’t judge.
- Live in the present.
- Be grateful.
- Decide to be happy.
The initial thing I took out of what I read was the fact that most people have been conditioned to believe that they need a reason to be happy and as a consequence constantly seek external factors as a source for their happiness.
This fueled the realization that emotions come from inside me and are controlled by me – if I feel something it is because I have chosen to feel it. Sadness, like happiness, is a decision and I am free to feel it whenever I like. I’m free to manufacture whatever emotional state I like.
This was a very liberating realization.