During the holidays I make my annual "outing" to the Deseret Book website! I tell myself that I am looking for gift ideas for others, but reality is that I usually buy more for me than for anyone else. This year's trip resulted in many great finds... but the one that really caught my eye was a book written a while ago by President David O. McKay, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from 1951-1970. The book is called "Secrets of a Happy Life" and is a compilation of his thoughts and talks. I don't think I am alone in the pursuit of living a happy life. And, gosh, if there's a secret to doing so, I need to know! So, I bought it. It's short. Only 174 pages, but filled with great wisdom! I'll summarize my thoughts... basically for my benefit!
"Happiness should be viewed as the purpose and design of our existence.... There is no one "good thing" which brings happiness. Life is made up, not of great sacrifices or duties, but of the little things in which smiles and kindness... are what win and preserve the heart and secure comfort. " "Man is the creator of his own happiness."
"Each one of us is the architect of his own fate, and he is unfortunate indeed who will try to build himself without realizing he grows from within, not from without. What a man continually thinks about determines his actions in times of opportunity and stress." This quote was in a chapter on free agency. It talks about service and not giving into our appetites and impulses which can lead us down the wrong path. I however, reflected on the power of positive thinking. It was actually a major part of my lesson this week with the kids at school. If we "think we can", we're sure going to do a whole lot better than if we don't even try or if we start out by saying "this is too hard for me." Remember the story about the little blue engine that had to go up the big hill? How far do you think he would have gotten if he started at the bottom and said "This is way too hard for me. There's no way I am going to make it up there." I doubt he would have moved more than an inch! I've recently noticed the power of positive thinking in a close friend of mine. she chooses to take life as it comes and see all the good things that happen despite the very difficult circumstances that have come her way in the past few weeks. She's always looking on the bright side and moving forward and I find that so refreshing!
I tried a personal experiment with myself this past week. At times when I might have usually complained, or even during my runs when I start to want to quit, I've turned my thinking into only positive thoughts and LIFE has been a LOT better! We are the architect of our fate... it will be a whole lot better for us to think positively along the way!
"Happiness is not an external condition; it is a state of the spirit and attitude of the mind"... we can nurture happiness by 1: Trust in God "To have faith that God is our Father is the safest anchorage of the soul and brings peace and solace under any condition" (I LOVE THAT QUOTE!); 2: Confidence in our fellow man; 3. Proper evaluation of blessings
"We get out of life just what we put into it, just wat we see. Some sources of happiness are 1. A sense of being free; 2. sense of self-mastery; 3. priviledge of work; 4. possession of health; 5. ability to see God's beauty around us; 6. harboring of upbuilding thoughts; 7. Being true to those who trust you; 8. making friends; 9. doing your best this hour, and you will do better the next; 10. developing faith. Faith is the foundation of all things - including happiness.
"THE SECRET OF HAPPINESS LIES WITHIN EACH OF US... AND THE TRUE SOURCE - THE SECRET- OF HAPPINESS CONSISTS IN MAKING OTHERS HAPPY."
Wow. I loved reading this book. At times I know I have looked for outside things or events to make me happier. And, yes, while they might add to the "brightness" I have within me, nothin on the outside is as reliable or consistent as what is inside of me and where my heart is. That is where true happiness comes from and I, only I, can determine my own happiness. It's like I tell the kids almost everyday (!!) "No one makes you do or say something. YOU CHOOSE your words and actions." Now, I'll turn the tables on me: "I choose my thoughts and actions... I choose the degree of my happiness!"
Here's to a HAPPY 2009!!!