Ruby chooses to be happy on my lap

I’m a firm believer that happiness is a choice.

Everything around us is energy, including our thoughts. We have the power to choose our thoughts – so why not choose thoughts that make us feel good rather than  thoughts that focus on what isn’t working in our lives?

In a recent newsletter, serial entrepreneur and all around amazing guy Peter Shankman wrote “We can choose to be happy, or we can choose to be unhappy. We can find the good in things, or we can radiate negativity. We can choose to make things better, or we can complain. In other words, we can light a candle, or we can curse the darkness.”

I’ve had the privilege of hearing Peter speak twice, and I attended one of his Masterminds last summer. Peter always seems to have a smile on his face. He, too, believes that we can choose to be happy. And his way of doing that is so simple, anyone can do it. Peter writes:

Replace “I have to,” with “I get to,”
and you’ll be amazed how awesome life becomes.

It resonated with me in a big way, and I realized that even though my basic setpoint is most definitely “happy,” I let far too many little things get to me. Especially things I can’ t control.

The weather is a perfect example. It was really cold for a few days last week (well, actually, it was normal for this time of year, but after the mild December we’ve had, temperatures in the 30’s felt pretty brutal.) I found myself shivering on my daily walk, thinking that I really wasn’t having that much fun. Then I thought of a dear friend who had to temporarily suspend her daily walks due to some health issues. And I thought of all the years I worked in corporate jobs, when I would have given anything to be able to go for a walk in the middle of the day. And all of a sudden, my thoughts went from “ugh, I hate being out today, I can’t wait to be done with this walk” to “I get to walk in the sun in the middle of the day – how lucky am I!”

Peter lists several examples of how “I get to” changes things in his newsletter, including this one that we can probably all relate to: “Happy to have to clean up cat puke from my living room rug? Well, I’m blessed enough to be able to have rescued two cats, who in return, provide me with love and tranquility (most of the time.)”

So try it the next time you’re thinking “I have to.” Replace it with “I get to,” and notice how your energy shifts.

Of course, cats don’t ever feel like they have to do anything. So who’s the smarter species after all?

with the amazing Peter Shankman

To learn more about Peter Shankman, visit his website at And while you’re there, sign up for his newsletter. While most of his communications are focused on business matters, they’re full of plenty of motivational pearls that apply to more than just business.

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6 Comments on Sunday Purrs: Choose to Be Happy

  1. First thought of the day, “I am awake and up, looking at the grass from the right.” That is over half the battle. Now what happens I can deal with.

  2. Ingrid, truer words have not been spoken! I’ve been lucky enough to maintain a positive attitude in my life. Always looking at the bright side, the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining of the dark cloud and it’s working. Sometimes I don’t even see the dark cloud. Here’s how it works for me: put a smile on your face to convince your brain that you’re happy. I remember many years ago I would regularly get stuck in commuter traffic. After I got done swearing at all the stupid drivers I realized how lucky I was to be in this traffic to begin with: I had a job. So many people did not, so what was I complaining about? This was just one incident I remember clearly. We have the power to change how we experience the world. Someone said “if you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Oh yes, and cleaning out two litter boxes and wiping the occasional vomit from the floor just means I’m lucky enough to be owned by two gorgeous cats. Scratches on the furniture or the screen door just prove that you love your cats more than your furniture. Happy thoughts, everyone.

  3. I love his work and got to see him last year. That post really resonated with me as well, glad you wrote about it 🙂

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