52 WEEKS

Week 1 — Don’t Worry, Be Happy

Thoughts on happiness, and dealing with frustrating people

52 Weeks

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Happiness starts and ends with gratitude.

A thankfulness for whatever good fortune we have.

A grateful person is usually a happy person.

Yeah?

What if you just lost your job? Or just broke up with someone?

Or you’re 3 months old and you’ve crapped your diaper?

There are times when “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” are just empty words. Damn if I say it, you can slap me right here.

But in most cases, and most times in our lives, happiness is a CHOICE.

We can choose to be happy.

Is the glass half-empty or half-full? That’s a choice. How we view the glass.

Look, I know nobody sucks the joy out of life quicker than bad people. Those haters… bullies… internet trolls.

There’s some nasty, vicious people out there who say (and post) some nasty vicious things.

They’re so unhappy. So sad and miserable. And all they want to do is spread their misery.

Similar to how joyful or positive people like to spread joy.

There’s a whole philosophy out there about dealing with people who frustrate us. And it says: nobody can make us feel sad, or angry, or frustrated.

They don’t have that magical power! Only we do.

But sometimes we give that power to other people.

We let them make us feel a certain way.

Of course, back on Planet Real World, people sometimes DO make us feel angry, or sad, or frustrated.

They shouldn’t! But they do.

In those cases, it’s important to have perspective.

Let’s say tomorrow you encounter a real asshole. The kind of person who could wreck your morning. Or even your day.

Maybe it’s an abusive customer who calls you names.

The question is: how long did it last? Seconds..? Minutes..?

Maybe a couple hours. It was a freaking nightmare!

And then what?

Poof! They’re gone! Out of your life.

And that’s great.… for you.

But this poor asshole who pissed you off (or who you let piss you off), he doesn’t get to walk away.

He’s still there. Stuck with himself!

In fact, he has to live with himself, and only himself, 7 days a week… 24 hours a day… for the rest of his miserable life.

Forget about revenge, or getting even, or any of that. There is literally nothing you could do to that guy worse than having to be stuck with himself forever.

I don’t even get angry at these people anymore. I just feel sorry for them.

Maybe that’s what karma is? For better or worse, we’ re stuck with ourselves.

You wanna be happy?

Be your own best friend. Your biggest cheerleader. Communicate your needs… so people know what you want.

And little by little, step by step, get rid of the negative people in your life. Addition by subtraction.

If they’re not part of where you want to go, then they got to go.

And finally, it’s not just “be happy.” It’s also don’t worry.

Don’t worry about things you can’t control.

I first heard that from players in the National Football League (NFL). They were always saying, “I don’t worry about things I can’t control… The contract will take care of itself… Coach will decide whatever coach decides… I only worry about the things I can control, like being the best player I can be.”

That’s exactly right!

We shouldn’t worry about things we can’t control. There’s nothing we can do about it anyway.

I think the key to happiness is to be a grateful, thankful person, who spreads joy whenever he or she can, and doesn’t worry so much about everything.

Maybe the song was right?

Don’t worry. Be happy.

AFTERTHOUGHT

— They never promised us a rose garden.

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