One of my favorite quotes from the 16th president of the United States is, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”   How have you done on making up your mind to be happy?

When I first read this, I took it at face value and what that meant to me was in the moment of a given situation I had a choice to either be happy or some form of not happy. I, therefore, better choose happy darn it. When I receive bad news, don’t pass a test, find myself in an argument with a friend or love one, or lose a job, what is there to be happy about? There may not be anything at all to be happy about at first glance. Keep in mind happiness is a state of mind and not a state of affairs.

Upon deeper examination of the quote what came to me is the part – ‘make up their minds’.  Then I asked myself how do people tending to be happier make up or actually set up their minds and what goes into and influences the setting up of a mind.  In this case I equate the mind to a paradigm which is our lens or filter through how we dynamically process what is going on within us and around us to eventually give it all meaning.

Let’s face it, all people are self-made people…only the successful and happy ones seem to admit it though. The rest look to point the finger at others they perceive to have held them back, didn’t give them a shot, or pushed them down. They suspect it, whatever it is, was easier for others and hard for themselves. Successful happy people assembled the rules and regulations of their own mind in advance and on an ongoing basis so it is prepared to give them the best shot at being happy no matter what comes along and to enable them to achieve the experiences they desire.  I’m not suggesting the goal is to see everything through rose colored glasses and only feel happy no matter what. We most certainly get to feel what we feel. What I am suggesting is we have a choice to set up our mind so that it can increasingly see the brighter side or most pleasing perspective of a situation or circumstance.

Just as we must take time to make up the bed every day so it is pleasing to get into at night, we must take time to make up our mind every day to increase our receptivity to more goodness and happiness throughout our life.  It’s a discipline that will lead to us being able to choose happy sooner rather than later or sadly, maybe never.


Here is my observation of how happy people have made up their mind. They have predetermined rules through which to run their daily occurrences. Here are 25 ways to make up a mind so that it can experience more happiness:

  • Think vs. overthink
  • Win or Learn vs. Win or Lose
  • Relax vs react
  • Be present vs. be stressed
  • Serve people vs. please people
  • Receive vs. reject
  • Love self vs berate others
  • Set boundaries vs. build walls
  • Have my own back vs. back down
  • Show up vs. show off
  • Settle in vs. settle down
  • Pray for what I want vs worry about what I don’t want
  • Be thankful for what I do have vs be regretful of what I don’t have
  • Take things into consideration vs. take things personally
  • Get the facts vs. make assumptions
  • Make solutions vs. make excuses
  • Do my best vs. do all the rest
  • Say what I mean vs. say something mean
  • Mean what I say vs. say what I fantasize you want to hear
  • Step up vs. step over
  • Be brave vs. live from a grave
  • Live through a fear vs. let a fear live in me
  • Pull my weight vs. push my luck
  • Push through fear vs. letting fear pull me back
  • Be willing to fail vs play it safe from my self-imposed jail

“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years.” ~Abraham Lincoln

This week identify a few of these constructs that resonate for you and you would like to adopt in your life. Write them down on a card or put them in your smartphone. On a daily basis remind yourself to set up your mind using your selection to process what comes your way through the day. Notice how you respond and feel  as a result.

Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!