The core attitude in Rick Foster and Greg Hick’s model for happiness is intention, and they define intention as “the active desire and commitment to be happy, and the fully conscious decision to choose happiness over unhappiness.”
In their book, “How We Choose To Be Happy: The 9 Choices of Extremely Happy People: Their Secrets, Their Stories”, they identified the intention to be happy as the necessary first step towards living a life of greater happiness.
They share the life stories of the real people they interviewed. In spite of job losses, broken relationships and terrible childhoods, they ultimately made the conscious decision to make choices that will bring them greater happiness.
There is no shortage of misery and tragedy in our world, and no life is untouched by bad luck, mistreatment, bad habits, illness, accidents, difficult relationships and heartbreaking losses. We can let the worst of life get the better of us, leaving us dejected and defeated. We can get angry at life and everyone else and rage against the world.
Alternatively, we can choose to make the most of what we have today – the blessings as well as the challenges. We can choose to act in alignment with our greatest values and make choices each day that will bring greater happiness to others and to ourselves.
In addition to quoting the individuals they interviewed in their studies on happiness, Foster and Hicks quoted Victor Frankl from his classic book, “Man’s Search for Meaning”:
“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
Your happiness exercise: Intend to be happy today. Envision yourself smiling from the inside out. Choose to do at least one thing today to increase your happiness and at least one thing to increase the happiness of another person. Whatever this day may bring, choose to be as happy as you can be.