Happiness is a Choice

Happiness is a  choice. Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be Happy   Ralph Marston

It seems a life time ago and yet it seems just yesterday that I was literally fighting for my life. I was severely depressed and in horrible physical pain. I was suffering from migraine headaches 24/7 and the pain and agony that accompanied those headaches were wreaking havoc with my emotional health.

I might have given up had it not been for my near-death experience. After my experience, I understood very well what the ramifications would be if I took my own life. I knew that if I chose to end my life, I would also be choosing to lose God, my family, and all that I loved and gave me happiness.

Upon my return from heaven and my near-death experience, I worked like crazy to overcome my depression. It was an uphill battle all the way – a battle that saved my life and that has brought me enduring happiness.

For me, overcoming depression and choosing happiness was a multi-faceted effort.

I had to be deliberate in the use of my time. My health no longer allowed me to work for pay but I still had to use my time wisely. I spent several hours daily reading scriptures and inspirational materials. I spent several hours a weeks seeing my chiropractor and doing all that I could to improve the structural issues that I suffered from. I spent untold hours reading about health and doing all that was in my power to try to find out the cause of my headaches. None of it was fun and I didn’t “feel” like doing any of it.

But here’s the deal – it was my life and nobody cared about my life and my pain more than I did – not even those amazing people that love and gave support their to me. Therefore, I had to be my very best ally. (We all have to be our very own best ally.)

When we make a choice to be happy – it cannot be conditional. It cannot hinge on if our boss is in a good mood. It cannot be influenced by our pocketbook or our fame. We have to choose to be happy and we have to do all of the necessary internal work.

All personal improvement, including the choice to be happy, comes from within. We choose with our thoughts and our true intents. We can present a fake facade for only so long and then our true colors start to show themselves.

Some of the most important ways we choose happiness is with our efforts to be grateful, the company we keep, the thoughts we choose to think (yes we have a choice), the entertainment we enjoy, the music we listen to, and the efforts we invest in to develop a  relationship with God.

We cannot always choose our circumstances but we can choose the attitude we will have no matter what our circumstances are.

The fight for happiness will not be won in one day or with one small change. It will be won with each day of consistent effort. Some days will be harder than others – but it will all be worth the effort.

I hope that you will choose happiness in your life. I hope that today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland will further inspire you! I am praying that you will choose to make happiness a part of your life!

Choose Happiness

Second, learn as quickly as you can that so much of your happiness is in your hands, not in events or circumstances or fortune or misfortune. That is part of what the battle for agency was over in the premortal councils of heaven. We have choice, we have volition, we have agency, and we can choose, if not happiness per se, then to live after the manner of it. U.S. president Abraham Lincoln had plenty to be unhappy about in the most difficult administration a president of the United States has ever faced, but even he reflected that “most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”6

Happiness comes first by what comes into your head a long time before it comes into your hand. Joseph Smith was living “after the manner of happiness” in a very unhappy situation when he wrote from Liberty Jail to those on the outside who were also the victims of great injustice and persecution:

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly; then shall thy confidence wax strong in the presence of God. …

“The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth” (D&C 121:45–46).

“Let virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.” That is not only good counsel against the modern plague of pornography, but it is also good counsel for all kinds of gospel thoughts, good thoughts, constructive thoughts, hopeful thoughts. Those faith-filled thoughts will alter how you see life’s problems and how you find resolution to them. “The Lord requireth the heart and a willing mind” (D&C 64:34), the revelation says.

Too often we have thought it was all up to the heart; it is not. God expects a willing mind in the quest for happiness and peace as well. Put your head into this. All of this takes effort. It is a battle but a battle for happiness that is worth waging.

In a popular book a few years ago, the author wrote: “Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and … [look] for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness … to stay afloat on top of it.”7

I love the phrase “participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings.” Don’t be passive. Swim upward. Think and speak and act positively. That is what happy people do; that is one aspect of living after the manner of happiness.

Today’s excerpt from the article The Gospel Path to Happiness by Jeffrey R. Holland is shared from the following website: https://www.lds.org/ensign/2017/09/the-gospel-path-to-happiness?lang=eng

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How Life is Best Measured…

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away

I am all about stewardship – in my mind, that means responsibility to create a meaningful life for myself and to be a meaningful part of the lives of my family, friends, and fellowman.

While that includes being responsible, it does not mean that life has to dull and dreary!

I know that it is hard to comprehend, but heaven is truly amazing and enthralling and worth our very best mortal efforts. Life is not about what’s in it for me, me, me. If it is to be meaningful for the duration – both mortality and eternity – it needs to be about what’s in it for us.

None of us knows how much time the Lord will grant us to live on this earth, but I know that we all inherently sense that this gig (called life) is important and is not to be wasted.

The article I am sharing today takes a few minutes to read, but do it anyway. Your life deserves it! Take a few minutes and contemplate on how you can improve and make your life better! I promise you will be blessed for your efforts! Have a wonderful weekend! 🙂

45 Ways To Live Life To The Fullest

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Learning….It’s Meant to Be for a Lifetime

Ignorance is  voluntary Misfortune   Nicholas LangLearning is meant to be a life-long endeavor. I witnessed during my near-death experience, that learning is a desire that we inherently have. Even in heaven, it was our desire to learn and the increase in intelligence.

I believe that it doesn’t matter whether our learning is through formal schooling or from self-study – it is all valuable. In today’s “Information Age”, all of the information can be a little overwhelming. Yet, my experience has shown me that, with God’s guidance, we are guided to all that we need and all that we can be benefited by.

I hope that you will commit to being a life-long student! Please enjoy today’s story!:

How and Why to Become a Lifelong Learner

For the first twenty-two years or so of our lives, our main “job” is learning. The bulk of our time is spent in classrooms acquiring new knowledge. And then, once we graduate, we feel like the education phase of our lives is done and now it’s time to go out into the world. Have you ever thought about how odd that idea is? That only a quarter of our lives should be devoted to learning, and then we should simply rest on our laurels for the remaining three-quarters of it?

It’s an erroneous idea – but one many have absorbed, at least subconsciously. But school need not be your exclusive provider of learning. Just because you’ve finished your formal education, doesn’t mean that your education is over!

Many, perhaps most, of history’s greatest men were autodidacts – those who devote themselves to self-education, either in addition to or as a substitute to formal schooling. A fantastic example of this is author Louis L’Amour. L’Amour was one of America’s most prolific and manliest fiction writers. During his career he cranked out over 120 dime Western novels as well as several collections of short stories and poems. What makes Louis L’Amour’s story all the more remarkable is that he was almost entirely self-taught.

Louis L'Amour sitting in chair drinking coffee cowboy hat

Lifelong learner Louis L’Amour

Due to family hardships, L’Amour dropped out of school when he was fifteen and spent the next eight years traveling around the American West working odd jobs on cattle ranches, farms, lumber mills, and even mines. To earn extra money L’Amour boxed in small prizefights around the country and earned a reputation as a formidable opponent. While in his twenties L’Amour became a merchant marine and traveled the globe via steamship.

During all this time, L’Amour was voraciously reading books. As soon as he set foot in a new town, he’d locate the local library. If libraries weren’t around, he’d skip meals so he’d have enough money to order books from catalogs. He was also working on his craft as a budding writer, scribbling notes in cheap notepads that he kept with him all the time.

All of his experiences while traveling, all the books he read, and all the notes he wrote laid the groundwork for his later successful career. But even after L’Amour became an established writer, his pursuit of learning continued and rewarded him greatly. He is a perfect example of the fascinating life one can create for himself when he makes the commitment to be a lifelong learner. (If you want to learn more about L’Amour’s lifelong self-education, pick up a copy of his autobiography, Education of a Wandering Man. Super inspiring read.)

 

Not only can becoming a lifelong learner help you earn more money in traditional employment, autodidacticism can be the gateway to self-employment and starting your own business. There are countless examples from history of famous folks who learned how to create thriving businesses without any formal education: Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Henry Ford to name just a few. Countless not-so-famous business owners became successful without ever earning a sheepskin too, simply by teaching themselves what they needed to know and relentlessly tinkering.

You’ll be more interesting and charismatic. Those who met Theodore Roosevelt were always greatly impressed with his ability to hold a conversation with anyone regarding any subject imaginable. Scientists were blown away with Roosevelt’s knowledge of complex theories, socialites were smitten with his witty insights about the latest piece by Oscar Wilde, and cowboys out West respected the “Eastern Dude’s” understanding of desert wildlife. How did Theodore Roosevelt become such a charismatic, conversational dynamo? By developing the ability to speed read and then devouring books like a hungry lion feasting on a fresh kill. While in the White House, he would read a book every day before breakfast. If he didn’t have any official business in the evening, he would read two or three more books, plus any magazines and newspapers that caught his fancy. By his own estimates, TR read tens of thousands of books during his lifetime, including hundreds in foreign languages. As a result, he could connect with anyone, from any walk of life, on something that truly interested the other person.

You’ll be a better leader. Being able to connect with others doesn’t just make you more interesting. It also makes you much more influential. The greater your knowledge base, the more you can meet people where they are, and the greater the stockpile of solutions you have at your disposal to tackle problems and overcome challenges.

You’ll be independent and handy. One thing I admired about my grandpa growing up was all the cool stuff that he knew. He was always tinkering, and it seemed like he knew everything about everything. How to hunt, how to shoe a horse, how to garden (he grew grapes), how to make awesome pancakes. Even after he retired, my grandpa was always learning new things and acquiring new skill sets. For example, he learned how to restore antique horse carriages and old phonograph players. He got so good at it, in fact, that he started restoring antique phonograph players as a small side-business.

Because of my grandpa’s diverse range of skills, when something broke or he needed something done, he could do it himself. He didn’t have to call and pay an expert to do it for him. If he didn’t know how to do it, he went to the library, got some books on the subject, and figured it out.

Lifelong learning keeps your brain healthy. Henry Ford said, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.” Nearly 100 years later science is validating Henry Ford’s quip. Margie E. Lachman, a psychologist at Brandeis University who specializes in aging says, “Education seems to be an elixir that can bring us a healthy body and mind throughout adulthood and even a longer life.” Her research has shown that the more education an elderly person has – whether obtained formally or informally — the better they performed on cognitive tests than other elderly folks who had less education.

Learning new things can also help stave off old-age ailments like dementia and Alzheimer’s. One study has shown that older folks who stay cognitively active and curious about the world around them are 2.6 times less likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s than those who let their minds lie fallow.

You’ll feel more satisfied with life. In his book Drive, author Dan Pink argues that we need three things to feel motivated about, and satisfied with, our life: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Becoming a lifelong learner fulfills all three of these psychological needs.

When you’re an autodidact you – not your parents, not your professor, not your boss — get to decide what you’re going to learn about. Instead of being a passive consumer of knowledge, you’re actively choosing what you’re learning. In other words, you’re autonomous. As you learn new skills, you’ll enjoy the positive feeling that comes with mastery. And you’ll find yourself with a renewed sense of purpose in life as you set goals for your self-education.

The satisfaction that comes with lifelong learning doesn’t stop there. The more you know about the world, the deeper you can plunge into it, and the more levels of it you can experience. Whether you’re traveling, having a conversation, visiting a museum, watching a movie, or reading a book, your library of knowledge helps you make connections that you would never have otherwise perceived. The more you learn, the more you realize how many references and meanings you’ve missed because the author/speaker simply took that background knowledge, that fluency in cultural literacy, for granted.

Inspiring story shared from the following website: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/03/18/how-and-why-to-become-a-lifelong-learner/

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Adventure or Adversity…The Choice is Ours

the only difference between fear and adventure is how much you breathe   Rob Kalnitsky

I remember a day soon after Thanksgiving many years ago. My grandmother had had a stroke and I was traveling in a caravan with my husband and my father. My father was driving his semi truck. My husband and I each were in separate cars due to a business trip my husband had been on. Our intent was to return to my home in Butte and then my father and I would travel on to Idaho to see my grandmother.

About halfway to our destination, my father’s truck broke down. He needed a ride to the nearest town to purchase the a part. My husband took our oldest three children and traveled home. The kids needed to be in school the next day and my husband needed to be at work.

I remained behind to give my father a ride along with my youngest daughter. What we thought would be a few hour delay, turned into a couple of days. The part was not to be found anywhere. Finally, my dad had to order the part and we had to return the city our trip had originated from to pick it up.

From our first hour dealing with the broken truck to the last, my dad called our situation an adventure. It was his way of making better a difficult situation. We often had a cranky 3 year old on our hands that was tired of being confine to a vehicle and having no ability to play. (This was before DVD’s and vehicle movie systems or tablets!)

My dad taught me a great lesson…one that we used many times after that. Anytime a situation in our lives became difficult, it was an adventure!

None of us escape difficulties in life. However, we can minimize those difficulties by the attitude we choose to have.

I hope you will have a wonderful weekend and that you will enjoy today’s story!

The Last Words that Inspired Millions

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. He was a very popular and respected teacher. He was happily married with 3 children – 6-year-old Dylan, 3-year-old Logan and 18-month-old Chloe.

In 2006, he was diagnosed as having pancreatic cancer. He got every treatment possible, but in 2007, the doctors told him the cancer was incurable. They said he may have as little time left as 6 months. He had no choice but to accept that the battle was over.

Still, he kept an optimistic attitude, and never wallowed in depression – he had a family to care for. He spent a lot of time thinking about ways to make the loss as easy as possible for them. He wanted his children to have happy memories of him, and to make sure they knew how much he loved them. After he was diagnosed, he spent nearly all his time with his family, drawing strength from the moments of joy he had with them. He moved houses so that his wife would be closer to her family and have some emotional support. But he was always wondering if there was more that he could do.

His university invited him to take part in the “Last lecture” series. The concept of it was for people to give the speeches they’d give if they were to die soon and this was their last lecture. For Randy, this scenario was close to the truth. This lecture would be his chance to leave as many words of wisdom for his children as possible, while he still could. He wanted it to be a sort of “message in a bottle” that his children could watch when they are old enough to understand.

So, in September, 2007, he gave his last lecture, titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams”. He dedicated the lecture to his children. He spoke about the dreams he had when was a child, and how he proceeded to fulfill them. He talked about what he had learned from really going after his dreams, no matter how many obstacles were on his way. He also told stories of helping other people reach their dreams, which made him as happy as pursuing his own. He shared all the lessons he had learned during his life and encouraged people to have fun, and to make the choice to have a positive attitude.

The rest of the lecture was dedicated to all the people in Randy’s life. He paid tribute to his mentors, friends, co-workers, parents and his wife. He also took the chance to give his wife her birthday congratulations – he brought out a big birthday cake and had the audience sing happy birthday to her while she was wiping tears from her eyes.

The positive, fun and light-hearted tone the lecture was given with was incredible. His inspiring life lesson – to never give up pursuing your dreams, and his positive attitude while facing a terminal illness made it a truly inspiring experience.

The speech was videotaped and put on Youtube. It quickly went viral and made him famous. He had never planned on this, but he was now inspiring so many more people than he could’ve possibly imagined.

The lecture inspired people to turn their lives around. His suggestion to allow kids to express their creativity and paint their bedroom walls themselves was put into action by many people. Countless people were inspired to start chasing after their dreams and change their lives. His positivity and can-do mentality was infectious.

Randy appeared on the Oprah show and on Good Morning America. His positivity and his genuine love of life and other people shined through in every appearance and he never failed to inspire and impress. A book was published about his life, titled “The Last Lecture”. It became a bestseller.

Randy was glad that his lecture helped people, and was grateful to all the people who had contacted him to express gratitude and support. He was very humble about it, describing the lecture’s success as surprising and attributing it to luck.

In July 25, 2008, Randy passed away at the age of 47. His words of wisdom affected many people and he managed to leave behind a big legacy while not even trying to. He died a happy man who had gotten to live a wonderful life.

Today’s inspiring story is shared from the following website: http://forinspiredlives.blogspot.com/2011/03/overcoming-tragedy-3-inspiring-stories.html

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Setting Goals to Change Your Life…What is Holding You Back?

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure, the process is its own reward Amelia Earhart

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Marianne Williamson

I love the above quote by Marianne Williamson. We all have a bright light we are meant to share with this world – a light that is enriched by service, love and self-improvement.

What are your fears? Your challenges? No one escapes either fears or challenges but we all have access to the assistance we need – we can daily use the assistance of the Lord. He is there for us and knows how to succor and mentor us successfully through our trials and tribulations.

We have the tools available to us to turn our lives into lives of meaning and triumph!

I hope you will be inspired by today’s story! Please read and enjoy!

Handling Challenges In Life

The Japanese have always loved fresh fish. But the waters close to Japan have not held many fish for decades.

So to feed the Japanese population, fishing boats got bigger and went farther than ever. The farther the fishermen went, the longer it took to bring in the fish. If the return trip took more than a few days, the fish were not fresh. The Japanese did not like the taste.

To solve this problem, fishing companies installed freezers on their boats. They would catch the fish and freeze them at sea. Freezers allowed the boats to go farther and stay longer. However, the Japanese could taste the difference between fresh and frozen and they did not like frozen fish. The frozen fish brought a lower price.

So fishing companies installed fish tanks. They would catch the fish and stuff them in the tanks. After a little thrashing around, the fish stopped moving. They were tired and dull, but alive. Unfortunately, the Japanese could still taste the difference. Because the fish did not move for days, they lost their fresh-fish taste.

The Japanese preferred the lively taste of fresh fish, not sluggish fish. So how did Japanese fishing companies solve this problem? How do they get fresh-tasting fish to Japan? How Japanese managed to keep the fish fresh?

To keep the fish tasting fresh, the Japanese fishing companies still put the fish in the tanks. But now they add a small shark to each tank. The shark eats a few fish, but most of the fish arrive in a very lively state. The fish are challenged.

Have you realized that some of us are also living in a pond but most of the time tired & dull, so we need a Shark in our life to keep us awake and moving? Basically in our lives Sharks are new challenges to keep us active and taste better… The more intelligent, persistent and competent you are, the more you enjoy a challenge.

If your challenges are the correct size, and if you are steadily conquering those challenges, you are Conqueror.. You think of your challenges and get energized. You are excited to try new solutions. You have fun. You are alive!

Recommendations for us:

1. Instead of avoiding challenges, jump into them. Beat the heck out of them. Enjoy the game. If your challenges are too large or too numerous, do not give up. Failing makes you tired. Instead, reorganize. Find more determination, more knowledge, more help.

2. God didn’t promise days without pain, laughter without sorrow, sun without rain, but he did promise strength for the day, comfort for the tears and light for the way.

3. Disappointments are like road bumps, they slow you down a bit but you enjoy the smooth road afterwards.. Don’t stay on the bumps too long. Move on!

4. When you feel down because you didn’t get what you want, just sit tight and be happy, because God has thought of something better to give you. When something happens to you, good or bad, consider what it means. There’s a purpose to life’s events, to teach you how to laugh more or not to cry too hard.

5. No one can go back and make a brand new start. But anyone can start from now and make a brand
new ending.

Go ahead and start handling challenges in life.

 

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