Once I found myself in a group where one individual was the central figure. He had a captivating personality, and was obviously beloved by everybody.
Later we were sitting apart from the others, talking. Always being interested in what makes humans act as they do, I commented upon his rare spirit.
"I have a good time wherever I go," he said.
"It is a gift for which you ought to be very thankful."
His reply was, "It isn't a gift, being happy. It takes hard work. For many years I was a sour, difficult individual. I saw the dark side of everything until a friend gave me a scolding. After thinking it over, and doing a lot of praying, I determined to cultivate the happy side of life."
I've always been thankful for that conversation, because it taught me that to live with happiness we must cultivate the happy side of life.
I have known a good many people who seemingly have had everything to make them happy. But they were unhappy. And I have known people who have had very little of this world's good and yet are happy. The difference is that one person cultivated the happy attitude and another, the gloomy. It is not so much what happens to us but how we react to it that makes the difference.
There is no such thing as a Pollyanna situation. Always, I suppose, if you have a few perfect days, you can count on some kind of trouble. But whether or not you live with a happy attitude depends on your own cast of mind and the power of your faith. What you think determines what you are.
Cultivate the happy side of life. That is what the Bible tells us: " Rejoice, it says, and again I say, rejoice" (Philippians 4:4). Don't go around with a gloomy, melancholy attitude. Don't take a negative attitude toward life. Don't think depressing thoughts. Rejoice. Now when you really do it, you will find that the percentage of good days will greatly increase.
The late Dr. William Stidger once told about a young friend of his who was awakened by his wife early one morning. They had planned a picnic, but about five o'clock it started raining. "It's raining hard, George," his wife finally said, "you'd better go downstairs and pull in the porch furniture."
He went down and got himself half soaked. When he turned around to go back in he saw his little five-year-old boy, clad in pyjamas, sitting on the door step smelling the rain. The little boy said, "Daddy, that rain smells good. I like the smell of rain." The little fellow paused a moment, then added: "Daddy, isn't this a gorgeous bad day?"
Peale was the author of 46 inspirational books including "The Art of Living, A Guide to Confident Living, The Tough-Minded Optimist, and Inspiring Messages for Daily Living." His book "The Power of Positive Thinking", was published in 1952 and has sold nearly 20 million copies and has been printed in 41 different languages. Peale completed what has been called his all-time inspirational best seller at age 54.
On Christmas Eve of 1993, Dr. Peale left us to meet his maker at the ripe age of 95 years old. His message of positive thinking, strong faith and helping others achieve their true potential will continue to live on with us well into the new millennium.
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