Want to Be Happy?
Norman Vincent Peale offers insights and a prayer to help you live the life you want.
A man offered to drive me to the airport if I would talk with him about a personal problem. On the way there, he remarked, “I’m so unhappy. Isn’t there any happiness in this world?”
I replied, “I think there’s lots of it.”
“Well, there hasn’t been for me,” he continued. “I’m terribly dissatisfied with my job.”
“Is it a good job?” I inquired.
“It pays me fifty thousand a year,” he said. “And if I stick with it I’ll be making more in time. But the thing is, it’s not the kind of work I want.” I remarked, “Fifty thousand is enough to think twice before you let it go.
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What do you want to do?”
“I’d like to get into commercial aviation,” he confided. “I love planes. I often drive out to the airport just to watch the plane take off and fly. But I don’t think the airlines would pay me fifty thousand to start. But there’s something else I keep thinking of. You know what I’d like to be? A professional bird-watcher. I love birds. When I get fed up with everything, I go off to the woods and watch birds.”
“Now, maybe I’m jumping to conclusions,” I said to him, “but wings and flight must mean there’s something you want to get away from. Why don’t you tell me the story?”
Then he started in about all his troubles: jealousies at the office, tensions at home, worries, disappointments, unhappiness compounded.
I replied, “The only way to free yourself from it is to stand up against it now and begin to practice happiness.”
“How do you practice happiness?” he asked.
For three minutes I explained that by deliberately acting counter to what you now are, you can develop into what you want to be. I cited the example of John Wesley, who in his maturity was one of the greatest men of faith in all the world. At an earlier time in his life Wesley had no faith whatsoever. And he couldn’t seem to gain it. So he hit upon the device of acting as though he did have faith. And in due time his unconscious mind accepted what the conscious mind kept affirming, that he had faith–and so, he did have faith.
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In the same way, if you want to be happier, you can bring about the ideal condition by persistently acting as though that ideal condition already existed.
Let us pray: Our Heavenly Father, we thank You for the fact that each of us has within what we may very well call a divine potential. This is put into us to assure a wonderful life. And, Lord, we know that if we don’t have a wonderful life, something is wrong with the releasing of this potential. Grant, therefore, that we may find the answer, and even more importantly, that we may be willing to practice it, to yield ourselves to God. Then certainly there will be good days ahead. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen