The Single Best Way to Be Happy: Choose To!

Colleen Saidman by Colleen Saidman | May 1st, 2009 | 7 Comments
topic: Personal Growth


“Everything’s amazing. Nobody’s happy.” We heard this line from a comedian named Louis CK. If you get a chance, check out this clip of an appearance he made on Conan O’Brien. It is a wake up call put in a very funny package.

I don’t know about you, but I am sick of complaining. We live in an amazing time, but there seems to be a lack of gratitude. There are so many vehicles for communication, but how many words are being wasted talking about what is wrong?

What would happen if we could stop complaining for a whole day? Then we could add gratitude to our day of non-complaining. Our reality would be very different. Suffering in the form of selfishness, anxiety, and despair might dissipate. Maybe our minds would have a chance to settle. And what if we also added a service component to our day of non-complaining and gratitude? Swami Satchidananda says that all we have to do to be happy is to feed people. I believe that at the end of this day, we would crawl into bed with a peaceful heart and a calm mind — and maybe feel tempted to do it again.

Last week, I taught a women’s retreat in Mexico. This was the 9th year with the same group of women. There is one woman who has attended all nine retreats. She has a large tumor on her spine, and is in an enormous amount of pain. She has little to no feeling in her limbs. She, laughingly, says that she wakes up every morning feeling like a scarecrow, wondering which limbs she will be able to feel today. The point is that I have never heard her complain about anything. It is very obvious that her life is all about service. She is constantly amazed, and finds humor in every situation. She has chosen to be happy.

Louis CK points out that the next time we fly, we should be holding onto our seats, screaming with delight at the miracle of sitting in a chair in the sky and flying like a bird across the sky. So let’s not complain the next time we have a two-hour delay, or sit on the runway for an hour, or get suck in the middle seat. Let’s live in constant awe and gratitude. Everything is amazing and we can choose to be happy.

With gratitude,



  1. This post was highlighted in the May 1 edition of Gratitude Watch.

    Thank you for promoting the value of gratitude.

    Daniel Brenton | May 1st, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  2. I am at a point in my life where everything is working and if something is off, I want to change it and I will rather than just thinking about it. Even if we are in a very hard place in our lives, it is our choice how we handle that and how we make every day work. Thank you for writing this and for putting it into perspective that we may not need everything that gets pushed into us because the first step and most important one should be how we choose to live.

    Jessica | May 3rd, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  3. Gratitude has transformed my life. Now I can feel grateful for things that I never thought I could be. Every day is like an adventure.

    Solomon | May 5th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  4. i agree with you Collen hundred percent, we live in a time where we should be thankful for our lives, our health and work towards a better society of goodwill and spreading cheer and message of hope.

    Instead of complaining about everything, we should be grateful and saying thank you by smiling a genuine smile that reaches our eyes.

    Every time i say thank you to someone and add a smile to it or give a chance for someone to pass in a bad traffic, i feel such a sense of accomplishment and fulfilment.
    Thank you for the tip about “being thankful”, it touches me.

    Nour Yasmin | May 7th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  5. This is a great post with extremely deep meaning. It is true that gratitude is the key to happiness. When you are grateful for the experiences you’ve had in your life whether they be good or bad, you become a much happier person. I know some of you may read this and think what, be grateful for bad moments. I say yes. It is the bad moments in life that make you appreciate the good ones so much more! Only by knowing bad times can you truly enjoy the good times that come your way. After all, everything is passing good and bad times. So even in bad times as long as you keep in mind that the times will pass you can be grateful because they mean that good times are ahead.

    Sonia Gallagher | May 10th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  6. I love this article. Being negative is a state of mind just like being positive! I for one have always tried to be positive, but find that it is easy to get dragged down by others whose lives are consumed by the negative. I will continue to go on my way smiling and saying hello to everyone I see even when they look at me like I have 3 heads!

    Angela Brady | May 15th, 2009 | Comment Permalink
  7. To be happy; choose to be happy, be satisfied of what you have, help people and not to be selfish, stop complaining be grateful and smile

    shamy | February 21st, 2013 | Comment Permalink

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