While I was looking for something in my basement last weekend I came across the book “100 Simple Secrets of Happy People” by David Niven and I had to smile. I’m not sure when I first got this book but I’m guessing circa 2000 after Sami was born. Apparently even back then I was looking for ways to be a happier, more positive person.
If I could have, I would have stopped what I was doing to read this book once again right then and there. But since I was in the middle of something important, I settled for quickly skimming the table of contents. Each chapter listed in the TOC represented one of the 100 secrets. These are the ones that jumped out at me:
1) Accept Yourself – Unconditionally. I love this one. I want to yell it to everyone I walk by. This one reminds us that we should acknowledge that we are good and complete people, faults and all. Of course it doesn’t mean that we should completely ignore our faults or never try to improve but we should believe in our own value first, last and always. Amen to that!
2) If You’re Not Sure, Guess Positively. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where someone does something nice for you and you’re automatically suspicious of their motive? Or have you ever been the person trying to do something nice but were questioned? Not really fair for the person performing the act of kindness, wouldn’t you say? The irony of it is this person can’t do anything to change how we feel about what they’re doing. It all depends on us. We’re either going to think negatively or think positively. Happy people, you guessed it, think the latter.
3) Enjoy What You Have. I want to quote directly from the book on this one: “When we think about our lives, too often we think about what we don’t have and what we didn’t get. But such a focus denies us pleasure. Why remind yourself of the things in life you don’t have when you could remind yourself of what you do have?”
4) Get a Good Night’s Sleep. If you could get arrested for not getting enough sleep on a nightly basis I’d be in the slammer right now. I’m that person who thinks she could skimp on sleep just to make time to do one of the millions of things that I didn’t have time to do during the day. But I’m working on it.
5) Be Flexible. Things are not always going to go as you planned. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ever have an action plan for the things that you do or participate in. It just means that you should be flexible enough to bend the plan, if necessary, as long as you’re still able to meet your original goal.
6) You Always Have A Choice. I questioned this happiness secret for a minute and you might do the same. On any given day, you may be feeling a bit shitty, like you’re being forced to do things you don’t really want to do. Why do you have to wash the dishes or clean the kitchen? Why do you have to go to a job everyday that you don’t even really like? Why do you have to do the laundry? The secret is to change your thinking and remember that you don’t have to do any of those things. You’re not being forced. You have a choice and you’re choosing to to do them. That is the secret. The feeling that you are choosing to do something because something you value is at stake (choosing to do the laundry so you’ll have clean clothes or choosing to go to work because you will collect a paycheck) makes you far happier than feeling like you’re forced to do any of these things.
7) Focus Not on the World’s Tragedies, but on the World’s Hope. There are so many bad things that happen in the world today that it’s no surprise that many of us have glum feelings about our future. The difference between happier people and less happier people is how they react to that glum feeling. Happier people will focus on trying to make a positive change in the world while less happy people will wallow in the muck and be stuck there. What kind of person will you be?
Now that you know 7 of the 100 simple secrets of happy people per David Niven, I challenge you to incorporate one, if not all, of them into your daily lives and way of thinking. Let’s see if you don’t become a little happier when you do so.