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I Got Caught Red-Handed!

by Kim Ades November 6, 2015

caught red handed
I was sitting at my computer the other day when my daughter, Ferne, sneaked up on me.

“Aha! I caught you!” she said.

“You did? What did I do?”

“You know all those ideas you have about living a happy life?”


“You got them from a book! That’s cheating!”

The truth is, I got those ideas from many books over many years, and as time passes, I continue to build my library of books that provide ideas about how to live a happy life.

Unfortunately, living a happy life is not something that just happens naturally for most people. With life’s ups and downs, it’s often a struggle to stay on the sunny side of the street. Bad things happen in the world and it’s a challenge not to pay attention to all the grey around us. Terrorism, abuse, violence, rape, theft, divorce, illness. Life isn’t always easy.

But some people do live a happy life and the rest of us are left bewildered at how they can always be so cheerful and so optimistic. They walk around with a consummate glow and a constant smile that makes us wonder if they simply live on a different planet. Are they not aware of all the tragedy around us? Do they not read the news? It’s just not realistic to be happy all of the time!

Here’s the reality: for them, happiness is an action, not a passive occurrence. It’s a deliberate decision that they have made and implement daily. It’s a choice and it’s a life priority.

Ferne’s accusations arose when she found a book I had been reading called How We Choose To Be Happy by Rick Foster and Greg Hicks. They describe happy people:

“One of the things that makes [happy people] special is their unique answer to the classic question: Is the glass half full or half empty? Their answers are what set them apart from the rest of us.

Happy people will say that the glass is both half empty and half full. Life is about coming to terms with both perceptions of the glass. Happiness is the result of our conscious responses to both the wonderful and the tragic components of life. They would tell you that what creates a happy life cannot be reduced to a single cause – happiness is multifaceted.”

So, I got caught red-handed! Perhaps Ferne will find herself curious one day and will pick up some of the books I have lying around the house. Maybe one day I will catch her too! How proud I would be to have played any part in her decision to be happy!

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