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Choose the Happiness Habit
by Pam Golden

After years of studying what brings people happiness, I have learned that one of the key elements of happiness is taking control of your thoughts. I call this "Right Thinking" Many people confuse having thoughts with thinking. Having thoughts is passive, letting something happen. While thinking is actively choosing which of our thoughts we will focus on or taking action on.

Thinking is critical to our happiness because in a single day 50,000 thoughts pass through the human mind and studies prove that about 80% of them are negative. If you question this, track your thoughts for a few minutes and see how many of them are negative. I did just that and was astonished to find out that most of them were negative judgments about me!

The problem is our thoughts come so fast that we donít even recognize them as thoughts, we see them as "thatís the way life is" and react accordingly. We donít have an experience of actively choosing anything. To increase our happiness we must be aware of our thoughts and choose which ones to focus on or even create new ones that are in line with our goals. We need to consciously determine where we want to put our attention because "what you focus on you will follow after." Without realizing it, many people have developed wrong thinking, or the "unhappiness habit."

The goal of right thinking is to focus on positive and productive thoughts. Right thinking doesnít mean you ignore problems; it simply means that you handle them instead of dwelling on them. Avoiding problems led to depression and hopelessness. Focusing on solutions gives us hope as well as direction and motivation.

People who handle problems and learn to focus on positive outcomes are more successful, creative, productive, overcome obstacles, have less conflict, better relationships, and are more loving. A person who really brings the power of right thinking to life is Barbara. She is a highly respected manager in a company. She says:

I was planning on leaving my job. Escaping would be more like it. Some of the people I worked with were so negative and critical I couldnít stand it any more, I had to get out. When I told my boss I was leaving, he was shocked. In fact he offered me a huge raise and increased benefits if I would stay. I figured, "for that amount of money Ė I can grin and bear it" and I decided to stay.

Two weeks later I realized I had made the wrong decision. No amount of money was worth this misery. Thatís when learned about "right thinking." I discovered that I was focusing all my attention on people I didnít like at work. When I really thought about it there were many more people I did like.

I decided I was going to take charge of where I placed my attention. It wasnít easy at first, but I kept at it. Every morning as I walked from my car to my office I consciously disciplined myself to think about the co-workers I thought were terrific and the good things that were happening. What a difference! I actually began to look forward to going to work.

On top of that, the change in my attitude snowballed and began to affect the people around me. They started being more cheerful and fun to be around. I remember the day my assistant asked me what happened to me. He said, "you used to be grouchy all the time, and now you seem to always be in a good mood." It was hard for me to believe that such a simple action Ė taking control of my thoughts Ė could make such a huge difference in my life.

The real bonus is how it affected my relationship with my husband. He used to have to suffer through my complaints every night. Now we spend our time doing things that are much more enjoyable. I started this as a game. I see instead that I have learned a skill that will affect me all my life. I know now that itís not what happens to me that determines the quality of my life, itís how I respond to what happens to me and that I can control.

What Barbara shared is the best possible news anyone can have. It means you can change your world, your attitude, your mood, and even your actions by how you choose to respond to an event. By changing your focus or your thoughts, you can change your life. Now thatís power.

© Copyright 2000, by Pam Golden

Happiness expert Pam Golden is a stimulating and entertaining speaker. She delights audiences with her "down to earth" methods and tools for creating happy, successful and rewarding lives.

Scientific facts provide the foundation for her practical advice. However, her real degree as a happiness expert came from successfully overcoming the cloud of gloom that permeated her life to becoming consistently happy, energetic and productive. Audiences love to hear stories about how she and others use her methods to overcome obstacles and bring joy to their lives while increasing productivity at the same time.

Pam is a highly successful corporate consultant and trainer with thousands of hours of speaking, training, radio and television interview experience. Her programs are responsible for dramatic increases in productivity, customer retention and employee satisfaction. Participants leave her keynotes, lectures and seminars with a new found ability to take charge of their own happiness.

To have Ms. Golden speak at one of your functions, please email us or call John O'Keefe, Roedway Press at (760) 771-9818. E-mail: RoedPress@aol.com



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