Sunday, May 31, 2009

Re-post, September 2007

Life is Good

Sometimes I feel a little guilty. Not to the extent that I would allow it to ruin my day or even part of it, but I still face skepticism and that in turn fuels a little bit of guilt. I have this extremely positive outlook on life. It is a new outlook - a new perspective - and I would contend that I came by it the hard way, but it can be summed up in one word - positive. Some people either don’t believe it is real - for some reason I am making it up, or that I am somehow deluded - I only think that I am happy… or perhaps they are, to some degree, envious. I don’t know, but one of the many reasons I write about it is to share that it is possible - there is hope.

It seems that human nature drives us toward the negative. Indeed, Rush Limbaugh, of all people, makes a good point (he actually has made several if one can wade through the conservative rhetoric). There are no books on the market that give instruction on how to be miserable. Why? Because we already know how to do that. There are, however, literally hundreds, perhaps thousands of self-help books, guides to meditation and enlightenment, holistic paths to wellness and other well-meaning guides to inner peace. I have read a few and they all have some virtue.

But there were no magic words. There is no quick fix - and those who knew me not too long ago know that I was into finding the shortest path from A to C… just as long as it didn’t pass through B. The problem with instant gratification is that it only lasts for an instant. Then it’s back to reality and seeking that utopian sense of peace and harmony through some kind of osmosis. It has taken me many painful years to realize that there are many ways to get “there,” and that the path we take is what it’s all about… it’s always and forever the same “there.”

Someone once told me I can’t think my way into right living, I must live my way into right thinking. In other words, I can know as much as humanly possible, but until I put what I know into action, nothing changes. And if nothing changes, then nothing changes. Time takes time, and it comes in these convenient little 24-hour chunks. The progress I have experienced over the past five years of my life is unprecedented, yet not once was there a moment where I thought, “I’ll sure be glad when I get to…” I have been trying very hard to stay in the moment and now as I look back, I can see the progress - but that is not the reward.

The prize is realized every day. The peace I experience even through adversity is all I ever wanted. I just wanted to be happy - that’s all. I thought that would come when I got certain “things” in my life, yet I acquired a great many of those things and my inner peace was still just as random as a pinball. I thought it might be achieved through status, but again that was only window dressing and my happiness proved to be fleeting. It was not until I finally found acceptance and came to grips with living life as it comes that I was able to gain a new perspective on life.

It has not gone unnoticed by those close to me. Happiness begets happiness and I attract into my life those who are happy or are struggling to be happy. Recently my father sent me a T-shirt that he picked up while shopping at REI. He wasn’t shopping for me, but he ran across this T-shirt that he felt epitomized what my life resembles today. It is probably safe to say that it is an unarticulated value he had tried to instill in me years before. For a variety of reasons that are no longer important, it took me 40 years to get it. I had not heard of this particular line of clothing - this business - prior, but I recently looked it up. It is a story that sings to me.

The founders have a strikingly similar attitude towards life as I do. They have this positive spin on life that is apparently infectious. Their business has grown into an $80 million company with virtually no advertising. Perhaps the founders, Bert and John Jacobs are lying. Maybe they are somehow deluded. Perhaps other not-so-successful companies are envious. But for them and me and many others who strive for it, three little words, the name of their company, says it all:

Life is Good.


Man Named Kim said...

i own several Life Is Good items. Love the reminder.

also, if you haven't checked out, you might like it there. :)

Snaggle Tooth said...

Hi Mike, I could use some infectious happiness- been fairly depressed in my sleep-deprived rut.

I've seen some of those cute items at "The Paper Store" at a new plaza near work. Good for the inventor... where's the good my my stuff... somewhere