"Happiness is in your mind."
A couple weeks ago I was making a long drive, deep into the desert in inland San Diego on my way to a weekend transformational retreat, and I needed to stop for gas. It was almost 100 degrees out and this was the only gas station for probably another 10 miles. It felt like the middle of nowhere. So here I am, pulling off into this tiny town to get some gas. There was a gas station and a burger joint, and not much else.
So I’m there minding my own business and I see this man walking toward me, wearing a bright orange construction vest. He’s dripping in sweat, probably because he’d been doing some heavy lifting and hard work in the heat. But this man had a skip in his step, whistling his way through his day. He saw me from across the parking lot and gave me a big wave and a shout “Having a good day?” I responded with an enthusiastic “Yes sir!”, and he said “Alright, alright!”
In that moment I thought here we were, in the middle of nowhere and this guy is having a brutal day but he’s the happiest person I’ve encountered in a long time. I don’t know how his day will end or where he calls home. I don’t know what his circumstances are. But it doesn't matter because he has made the choice to be happy.
It reminded me of something fundamental. Happiness is in your mind. Your perception is simply the meaning you assign to your circumstances. It’s all about the story you tell yourself. This man could have felt sorry for himself and allow the discomfort of working hard on a hot afternoon to ruin his today. But he chose to find joy in what he was doing. He created his own meaning in the circumstances and chose to have a positive experience.
Just like him, you can do this in every moment of your day. It’s within your control. But I don’t want to discredit how difficult your circumstances might be, and the value of negative emotions, but if you can choose to see the bright side of things more often you’ll live a brighter life.
If you want to hear more about my transformational retreat experience, and what I’ve been working on in my personal development, I made a video about it you can watch here!