true person sees what the eye sees, and does
not add to it something that is not there. This
person hears what the ears hear, and does not
detect imaginary undertones or overtones. He or
she is not busy with hidden meanings.
Acting on the
basis of what you believe is what brings about the conditions of
your life and the degrees of happiness you have
experienced. In the breakthrough 2004 film What the
Bleep Do We Know!?, physicist and author Fred Alan Wolf,
Ph.D., observes: "There is no 'Out There' out there,
independent of what goes on in our minds." Take the
story of Max. Max owned a thriving sandwich shop.
There were almost always people waiting in line to eat at his
little shop. He gave away free pickles, free potato chips,
sometimes a free soft drink, and his sandwiches were famous for
One day his
son, who lived in a distant city, came to visit. They had
a good visit, but as the son was leaving, he told his father,
"Since I've been here, I've been observing how you run the
sandwich shop, and I have to tell you for your own good that
you're making a big mistake giving away all those extras.
The country's economy is in bad shape. People are out of
work, and they have less money to spend. If you don't cut
back on the free items and on your portion sizes, you'll be in a
bad way before long, too."
His father was amazed,
thanked his son, and told him he would consider his advice.
After his son left,
Max followed his son's advice. He stopped giving away free
items and he cut back on the generous portions of food in his
sandwiches. Before long, after many of his disappointed
customers had stopped coming, he wrote to his son: "You
were right! The country's economy is in bad shape, and I'm
experiencing the results of it right here in my sandwich
The poor economy
that the man's son saw all around him was real. Despite the
poor economy, though, the father had been running a successful
sandwich shop. He didn't realize that times were hard, that
many people were out of work, and that money was scarce. He
was treating everyone with great generosity and he was reaping the
rewards that such actions always bring: a positive, generous
outpouring of good things. But after his son told him about
the "bad shape" the country was in, he began to act as
if it were so, bringing about the only possible result--a
negative, fearful, ungenerous experience of life, an experience
that he believed was "out there." Was it "out
are never "out there." All the answers are
"in there," inside you, waiting to be discovered.
Here's a personal
example of how the power of a belief can influence our behavior
and the events of our lives. When I was young I received
many speeding tickets, and that behavior carried over into my
adult life. I live in California, and one day in 1968 I
received a notice from the California Department of Motor Vehicles
saying that if I received one more ticket, my license would be
suspended for a year. The state suggested that I go to a
local DMV office and meet with one of their psychologists.
At the meeting, the psychologist commented on the many speeding
tickets I had received.
gets speeding tickets," I replied defensively.
true," he informed me. "The average person in
California gets only one ticket every four years."
amazed. I thought that everyone was like me and got speeding
tickets all the time. After that meeting, I stopped getting
speeding tickets. I'd had a destructive mindset, and as I
believed, so it was for me. As you believe, so it is for
You are like a
railroad switch. Each time an event occurs, you channel the
activity onto the positive or the negative track. Even
though the event hurt you or took something away from you, you are
still in charge of channeling it onto a positive or a negative
track. You determine its future outcome.
Have you ever had
anything happen to you that seemed really bad at the time but
later turned out to be beneficial--experiences where days, weeks,
or even years later, you said, "That was the best thing that
could have happened to me!" Everyone I've ever posed
that question to has been able to remember several events like
It's time to look
at all events in the light of that information. Learn
to see that perfect truth now, in every
situation. Condition yourself to see it at the moment
each event occurs, and happiness will become your constant
companion. You will save countless hours, days, and weeks of
useless lamenting over situations that will always turn out to be
for your benefit.
wonderful little book shows that we can overcome
the obstacles to happiness. It's for those who want and
need change in expectations, habits, and outlook. Chris
Prentiss teaches us how, with a joie de vivre that
obviously comes from experience. Use his practical wisdom
to get in the habit of being happy every day. Put
this book by your bedside and the Zen of happiness can be