Friday, February 22, 2013
Happiness is a choice
Tony Robbins, the well-known author and motivational speaker, was helping a woman who was in a deep and seemingly bottomless pit of depression with the grief of losing her husband. She had tried everything, she said, and nothing seemed to work. She had been talking for a few minutes on stage, going on about how terrible her life was without him and how nothing, not even medication, helped with the misery of her life. Suddenly, quite out of the blue, Tony Robbins took a step back and asked her loudly if she had just farted.
“Oh course not!” she replied indignantly, while the whole audience laughed in shocked surprise. “How dare you! Of course I haven’t just farted. What a rude thing to say.” She was bright red in the face and her whole demeanour had gone from slumped and grief-stricken to bolt upright and bristling with outrage.
Tony Robbins laughed and pointed out that what we feel is just a choice we make. We can choose to feel sad or we can choose to feel happy. In this case, he told the woman, you have just gone from miserable, dejected and hopeless to indignant, cross and embarrassed in a split second when I falsely accused you of something you found repugnant. “See how easy it is?” he gently asked the surprised woman.
This story has always stuck with me as he made his point so quickly and succinctly and it involved farting, which I happen to find endlessly amusing.
After allowing my friend to speak for a while longer, I then turned the conversation to all the things that are good and positive in her life now that she is no longer with this boyfriend, rather than all the bits she missed. By the end of our conversation, she was back to the hopeful person I had spoken to the day before and was about to rush off and make herself a vision board to keep the good vibes going. We all need a shoulder to cry on sometimes, but if we continually perpetuate the problem we will never be able to see the solution. Which can be as easy as noticing a newly flowered daffodil, or sharing belly laugh with a work colleague, or hearing the comforting purr of a cat as you scratch it behind its ears. Happiness is a choice. I choose it.