It’s September 11th as I write this, a day I used to remember only as the day before my birthday. But now, of course one that I will never forget due to the horrors that happened on this date back in 2001. Since I wasn’t a participant directly and suffered no close personal loss I normally don’t write much on the subject.
Out I was reading and article today from my colleague Penelope Trunk on “my” September 11th, still the 10th for those of you back there in the USA, and I was truck by how Penelope’s thoughts on living without regrets and making your own happiness. You might like to read them too. The full article is linked at the end of this quote
Make a choice to like your life.
The last item on the list really resonates with me because it’s about happiness, and I think I write so much about that topic because I don’t want to have regrets. I see that happiness is more of a point of view than a series of events that leads to something great. I also think it’s why I write about 9/11 every year. Because I want to make sure that for me, the event is one that triggers gratitude rather than regret.
This list of regrets makes me realize that we spend most of our lives chasing something that will make us happy and then we get to the end of our life and we realize that happiness was there all along. For some of us the happiness will be from contentment and stability. For others, happiness will be from being interested and engaged. Recognizing that it’s what we picked because it’s what makes us happy is a good step to being able to say “I’m happy” right now. Read Penelope’s full article here
So aside from the fact this is great writing, why did I send you here? Well I am no teacher of literature, but I am a man who has had thousands of folks over the years writing me and confessing their unhappiness at where they are today in their lives.
Mostly these expressions of unhappiness revolve around making a move to the Philippines, because after all, this is the “space” I am in.
And real those these folks’ regrets an unhappiness may be (I hate my job is one of the most frequent expressions I hear), there I soften little I can do to help them ‘be happy’.
Some, in fact, I really have to advise that in my opinion they have no business moving to the Philippines … they need to find something else in their lives to make them happy.
But every single one of them shares one “ace in the hole”. Many chose to ignore that ace. many argue that their case is “special” and they are “different”, but that is wrong. We all have it.
The capacity to control our own happiness. We can’t change who we are, we may not be able to control our physical or financial circumstances, we may feel we have a near desperate need to move thousands of miles across the ocean, bur regardless … we all have the capacity to be happy in out own circumstances even as we may work to change them.
I’m happy, right here and now, Can you say the same? Try it, you might very well be surprised.
As you think through the sad events of 9/11 and everything else in your life you may be sad about, remember that although you can do nothing about what happened in the past, and you may have to work hard to change the future, you can be happy right now, this instant. Will you choose to?