Happiness, vol. 1

Whether it is your spouse, your kids, or just your roommate, a co-worker, your boss, or someone at the coffee shop or the lunch stop, I’m willing to bet that at least one person, every day, asks you how you’re doing.

What do you say?

“I’m good, how are you?”

“I’m OK”

“Eh alright, how about you?”


Have you ever asked yourself afterward, “did I mean it?” Did you? Are you actually just OK? Are you really just “eh”? Or are you only saying something easy in order to move on, to get past the question, to go on with the day?

What if what you tell others about how you feel is really what you are telling to yourself?

What if what you’re saying is actually responsible for your self-image? Would you try something, even just for one month, if it meant changing how you saw the world for years to come?

The late Zig Ziglar, motivational speaker and sales trainer extraordinaire, believed so strongly in the power of positive thinking, and convinced so many others of it’s power, that he built an empire around it. He famously repeated this phrase at nearly every speaking engagement he ever held:

You are what you are, and you are where you are, because of what has gone into your mind. You change what you are, and you change where you are, by changing what goes into your mind.

Every day for years, for probably twenty years, someone asked me how I was doing. Always my answer was, “Good” or, “good how you doin?” It was just a response. Especially in first few years after my dad died, I just wanted to give an answer and move on. At some point I caught myself just after my response. Was I really just good? Why? Was I not good? Was I better than good?

How could I get to great?

I remembered the words of Zig Ziglar. I’m not sure when exactly, but one day someone asked me how I was doing and I answered with, “You know what? I’m fantastic. Thank you for asking. It’s pretty amazing being me! How the hell are you?”

My life would soon change completely.

Not overnight but little by little, answer after answer, day after day, like building a sandcastle one grain at a time, eventually I felt fantastic. I feel fantastic right now! I’ll feel fantastic tomorrow and the next day, because that is what I tell myself. I changed what I put into my mind and, as a result, it changed who I am.

All of us have history that the rest of us will never know. We’ve all got struggles. Some far more than others. We each have luxuries that many millions of others don’t and we’re all missing out on one or more things many millions of others have. We don’t get to choose the family or the country we are born into, our body, our mind.

But, for most of us at least, we do get to choose how we feel. One of the easiest ways to make that happen is to change the story you tell about yourself.

Because you aren’t OK. You aren’t good. You aren’t alright. You aren’t eh fine.

You’re the product of an infinitesimally tiny probability of outcomes, each chance smaller than the next, all happening on a speck of dust that’s hurtling through the stars.

You’re god-damn amazing.

One thought on “Happiness, vol. 1

  1. Hi Sean,
    Just wanted to let you know, that what you have to say in volume 1, has a great deal of validity to it. My mom lived her life that way. No matter what was going on ,she always was upbeat. I use to think she was the great pretender. Now I realize that it wasn’t the case. She always found something to be grateful for or to be happy about. I always knew she was amazing, only now that she is not of this world anymore, I realize how fortunate to have had her as my mom. Just wanted to let you know that it was enjoyable coming across your work quite by accident. Thank you, Cindy Smigliani


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