What if you were to go to the elementary school to drop off a form at the office? While you are standing at the front desk, a man in a ski mask barges in through the front door brandishing a gun and yelling profanities. Unseen by the gunman, the police officer assigned to your child’s school happens to be behind the intruder in the hall. The officer tackles the man from behind, driving him hard to the floor.
You hear the explosion of a single shot from the gun. Boom!
And you feel a bullet hit you… in the foot.
The gunman is subdued, and taken to jail.
You get a quick trip to the emergency room.
That’s “what is.”
We ask our mind to evaluate what just happened.
Was this an unfortunate event or was it a fortunate one?
Was it unlucky or lucky?
Was it bad?
Was it good?
Our mind dutifully responds, “Wait a minute, I’ll check.”
Our mind then compares “what is” with imagined alternate scenarios.
Can you imagine anything better than what just happened? Obviously! That’s why you recoiled when I mentioned a gunman coming into the school. You can imagine a scenario where no gunman shows up, nobody gets shot, everything happens just as I planned it.
Compared to that, how does “what is” look? Terrible, horrible, no good, very bad. And we’re not making it up either, it really does look bad… compared to that.
Can you imagine anything worse that what just happened? Obviously! That’s what triggered relief when I mentioned that the bullet hit your foot. You can imagine a scenario where you get shot between the eyes instead of in the foot, or something that looks more like Sandy Hook or Columbine.
Now compared to that, how does “what is” look? Wow, how fortunate, how lucky, this is good, I’ll take this thank you. And we’re not making it up either, it really does look good… compared to that.
“What is” is always suspended between worse and better until we declare a judgment. All of these alternate scenarios are imagined. Since they are imagined, we get to choose which one serves us better in creating happiness now.
Life is good.
We choose and create happiness now, with “what is.” Success doesn't bring happiness – happiness is success.
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.
?Viktor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
Click below for a quick video explanation of How To Be Happy Now.
Join the discussion 2 Comments
That’s beautiful Steve! You’ve got it. Positivity allows us to be happy now and to have confidence that happiness is on the way for the future.
Sound advice Dr Paul!
You have met and helped two of my daughters. However, sitting on the sidelines I’ve been the biggest benefactor. Thanks!
5 yes ago I injured my knee. I now have partial paralysis in my leg and foot. At one point in the recovery it was MUCH worse. You had counciled my daughter with a lesson similar to the story constantly asking her…. “And then what?”; I was prepared when it was my turn to apply the lesson for myself for real!
Friends and family both have told me my general attitude toward life has improved beginning about 6 months after the accident. Life is good. These are the best years of my life! Did I ever imagine I would be living the rest of my life with only 70% mobility and 50% feeling? No, but can I imagine it worse? Yes! And it is not!
Before meeting you (and before I received my object lesson); my focus was on what was not (money, career, health, wrongs not righted). Now my focus in on what is and how fortunate I am (family, health, home, job etc).
No question Dr. Paul. You give sage advice in simple, easy to understand lessons that are a breeze to apply in our lives if we only allow ourselves to be happy.
Thanks for all you have done for me and my family!