If Lincoln could be happy, why not you?

“Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” – Abraham Lincoln

This is a rather intriguing quote from Lincoln given the reality of his life. His mother and sister died when he was a boy. His father treated him like an indentured servant, renting him out to work for people to make money. As president, he faced a country divided, a war that caused the death of an entire generation of young men, and the hostility of taking a stand against slavery.

He had a terrible personal life, including the death of a child and a bipolar wife. Lincoln suffered from severe melancholia; had he been alive today, he’d probably be on some sort of antidepressant.

In the book Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, on which Steven Spielberg’s movie about Lincoln is based, Goodwin tells that friends of Lincoln would say they never saw a sadder face, and yet there was a spirit behind the face that had great joy and would light up the moment he began to tell a story…and Lincoln loved to tell his yarns.

No one would probably use the adjective “happy” when it came to Abraham Lincoln, and yet it would seem that he was – beyond every reason to not be. It may not have appeared on his face, but it was an inner happiness, contentment, and a purpose that made him go on. He could not or would not be stopped by the world. He made up his mind!

So what about you? It can’t be that a third of the USA has had a worse life than Lincoln, yet that is the number of people on antidepressants. There are more antidepressants and drugs sold in the USA than the rest of the world combined. This is alarming. And for the most part, there is a simple reason: people don’t make up their minds to be happy.

Do you realize that happiness is a choice, not an event? As Lincoln and many others have said, you get to be happy by choosing to be happy. No successful person allows their circumstances to dictate their attitude! Unsuccessful people are like a weather vane in the wind, reacting on a moment to moment basis to the circumstances. And, since you are the creator of EVERYTHING in your life, another fact that most don’t understand, happiness creates happy events and circumstances and unhappiness creates unhappy events and circumstances.

So, in the last paragraph, you may find the cause of whatever is going on in your life and business. Are you being successful or not? Are you choosing your attitude or not? Are you taking responsibility for everything in your life or not? Just look at your experience and you’ll find the answer. And if you don’t like what you see, know that the solution is a mere shift in attitude away.