Today, I’d like to talk about how happiness is an attitude.
Here’s the truth: Happiness doesn’t depend on your external situation, but on your internal disposition.
Your happiness doesn’t depend on whether you get a pay increase or not. It doesn’t depend on whether you’ll be able to lose 10 pounds or not. It doesn’t depend on whether you have an iPhone or not. It doesn’t depend on whether the stock market is up or not. It doesn’t depend on whether you have a boyfriend or not.
As shocking as this may sound, your happiness doesn’t depend on any external thing. Your happiness depends on only one thing: Do you have a happy attitude? Do you have happitude?
For the next 4-weeks, I’d like to share with you how to be happy. In this series, my prayer is that you’ll develop stronger happitudes. My prayer is that you’ll be a happier person, no matter what is happening around you.
What Are Your Rules To Happiness?
Where does happitude come from?
Your attitude, whether happy or unhappy, is based on your personal rules to happiness.
Anthony Robbins says each person has his own rules to happiness. We set them up. Wechoose them. We design them. We craft them. And we write them in our hearts.
Let me introduce you to two friends. Let’s call them Ernie and Bert. (Any resemblance to two characters who live in a street named after a seed beginning with the letter “S” is purely coincidental.)
Ernie and Bert are very different from each other.
Bert is rarely happy. He’s always complaining about something. He complains about the food he eats, about the bed he sleeps in, about his neighbor who happens to be a vampire who likes to count… (Any similarity to actual characters is purely coincidental.)
Ernie is totally different. Ernie is almost always happy. Everywhere he goes, he has this big smile on his face, he’s humming a tune. He loves life. He loves people.
Why are these two men different?
Think about it. They live in the same apartment. They eat the same food. They have the same neighborhood. They have the same friends—a giant bird, a green frog, and a female pig. (I repeat: Any similarity to actual characters is purely coincidental.)
They have the same external situation.
But Ernie and Bert have very different internal dispositions.
Ernie has lots of happitude. Bert lacks it.
Why? Because of their personal rules to happiness.
Perhaps these are Bert’s rules to happiness:
· I’ll be happy only if the temperature is exactly 78.26 degrees Fahrenheit.
· I’ll be happy only if my fried egg for breakfast is half-cooked in the middle but is brown and crisp on the outside.
· I’ll be happy onlyif I marry a woman whose vital statistics is 36-24-36, has won an international beauty contest, is a gourmet cook, is a multimillionaire, speaks French, has the singing voice of Celine Dion, and is insane enough to fall in love with me.
Bert’s rules make it very difficult for him to be happy. Why? Because he set up very complicated rules to happiness.
Perhaps these are Ernie’s rules of happiness.
· I’ll be happy if I laugh with my friends over pizza.
· I’ll be happy if I pray.
· I’ll be happy if I’m able to take a walk on the street and chat with a furry monster addicted to cookies.
· I’ll be happy if I watch a movie.
· I’ll be happy if I can get a good night’s sleep.
A little side note: I always call the Feast, our weekly spiritual gathering,“The happiest place on earth”. Why? One major reason: Because the people who go there are happy people. Even before they step into the Feast, they’re already happy. They brought the happiness with them.
The preaching, the music, the worship—these are all a bonus. Just by the mere fact that they’re there already makes them very happy. That’s what you call a happitude!
Nothing has to happen for them to be happy. They’ve chosen to be happy, period.
Don’t get me wrong. I always teach you to have big dreams. But even before you reach your dreams, you’re already happy.
In fact, I’ve realized that if you won’t be happy before you reach your dreams, you’ll never be happy after you reach them.
Let me ask you a question.
What are your rules to happiness?
Create simple rules for you to be happy! Set them up in such a way that it’s easy for you to be happy and difficult for you to be unhappy. Don’t complicate your rules to happiness.
Friend, the choice is yours.
Allow yourself to be happier more frequently.
In the next 4 weeks, we’ll go through 4 powerful Happytudes based on the Beatitudes of Jesus: Be open, be hopeful, be pure, and be peaceful. Apply these attitudes into your life and your life will never be the same again.
Here’s the first Happitude.
Happitude 1: Poor In Spirit
Jesus said, Happy are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
What does “poor in spirit” mean?
I know many are confused by that phrase.
Here’s a common misconception: Being poor in spirit means someone who is far away from God. That’s not true. (How can that person be happy?)
Here’s the best definition for “poor in spirit” I know: Someone who is desperate for God. Someone who knows that he needs God and sees Him as the source of all His blessings.
For years now, I love sharing this story.
One day, a younger monk searched for an elderly monk up in the mountains. For months, he searched for him. Finally, hidden in the forest, he found his small hut.
He knocked on the door.
When the older monk opened it, the younger monk knelt down and asked, “Master, what is your secret of holiness?”
“I cannot tell you. But I can show you, declared the older man. “Follow me.”
Both men walked in silence until they saw a huge river.
The older monk held the young man’s arm and walked into the river.
When the water was waist deep, suddenly, without any warning, the elderly man grabbed his disciple’s head, and dunked him into the river. In the water, the young monk panicked, his arms flailing wildly. He couldn’t breathe! But the older man kept holding him down.
Finally, when the young fellow was turning blue and was about to say hello to St. Peter, the older man pulled him up—and the young fellow frantically sucked air.
Even before the look of terror could leave the young monk’s face, the wise monk looked him in the eye and said, “If you can be desperate for God the way you are desperate for air right now, you’ll be holy.”
Lesson is over. Class dismissed.
3 Postures Of The Heart
Do you want to be happy?
Let me say it again. Happiness doesn’t depend on your external situation, but on your internal disposition.
In other words, happiness depends on the posture of your heart. There are 3 common Postures of the Heart: Proud, Pitiful, and Prepared.
Imagine a crazy scenario.
Imagine a plane loaded with crates of newly minted money.
All of a sudden, two of its engines burst into flames. The pilot realized that the only way to save the plane was to unload its precious cargo.
So at mid-air, they throw away the crates of money.
So on a particular area, it began to rain thick wads of cash.
There happened to be three people standing under that very unique rain: Mr. Proud, Mr. Pitiful, and Mr. Prepared.
1. Mr. Proud
Mr. Proud was a boastful man. He acted as though he had everything. (He didn’t know that he was the most insecure fellow in town.)
Mr. Proud had a favorite posture. He always stood with arms crossed in front of his chest. Always tight. Always stiff. Always closed.
So when it began raining P1000 paper bills all around him, he just looked. “I’m not poor. And I’m definitely not a beggar. Why will I get that money? Maybe it’s dirty. Maybe it’s counterfeit.” So he kept his arms folded across his chest looking smug and didn’t catch a single paper bill.
There are people like that.
I say this often, but let me say it again: There’s no shortage of God’s blessings. There is only a shortage of readiness to receive God’s blessings.
Recently, I was talking to a friend who was asking for prayers for his son. “He’s been jobless for a year,” he said.
“No job offers?” I asked him.
“The problem isn’t the job market. There are many jobs out there. The problem is my son. He’s too proud. He wants to start as a manager!”
“And he doesn’t want to work too far from the house. Because he doesn’t want to be seen riding the bus. He said if I want him to work far away, I should give him a car.”
I shook my head. “In other words, your son isn’t desperate. And only desperate people become great successes. Hmm, I wonder. Are you still feeding him, housing him, and giving him a nice monthly allowance?”
With a loud sigh, my friend said, “Yeah.”
“He’s too comfortable. The only way for your son to go out there and eat humble pie is if he becomes desperate.” I explained, “Desperate people do desperate things. Desperate people work as a janitor if necessary. Desperate people work two hours away. And desperate people ride the bus!”
The Bible says, God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. (James 4:6) I don’t believe God actively opposes the proud. Pride has its natural consequences, and I believe He passively allows the natural consequences of pride to catch up with the proud person. In reality, it’s the proud person who opposes the blessings that are meant for his life.
2. Mr. Pitiful
The second person under that very unique rain was Mr. Pitiful.
Mr. Pitiful always felt sorry for himself. His mind was obsessed with the problems in his life. What was his posture? His eyes were cast downward. His hands were limp on the side.
Because of his posture, Mr. Pitiful doesn’t catch any money falling from the sky. In fact, he was so absorbed thinking of his own miseries, he didn’t even see money falling from the sky.
Recently, I met another jobless person. He told me, “God doesn’t love me. Nothing is happening in my life.”
He said so many things were going against him. He said that he didn’t finish college. And he was already 46 years old. And he was also sickly.
I asked, “Have you ever tried applying for a sales job?”
He said, “I don’t know how to sell. I don’t think I can sell.”
“Have you tried applying in a Call Center? I heard some companies accept people your age.”
He shook his head. “I’ll feel out of place. Everyone there is very young.”
“How about starting a small business?”
“I’ll probably fail.”
“Oh, you will fail. No question about it. That’s entrepreneurship. But you just have to start again.”
“I can’t take failure. I give up too quickly.”
It was impossible to talk to him. He didn’t like solutions. He just wanted someone to pity him.
Friend, get rid of self-pity from your life. See the blessings that you already have and the blessings that are coming your way. Take on a grateful heart. And you’ll receive even more blessings!
And now the third posture…
3. Mr. Prepared
Mr. Prepared was a man who liked looking up.
When he saw the money falling from the sky, he opened his arms really wide, catching a lot of money.
Do you believe that God’s blessings are falling on you everyday? Do you wake up every morning believing there’s abundance everywhere?
If you’re desperate for God, you’re open to receive more!
One day, someone came up to me and said, “Bo, I believe God plays favorites.”
“Why do you say that?” I asked.
He said, “Take yourself, for instance. You’re spiritual life is strong; Your ministry is growing; Your family life is tight; Your businesses are expanding. It only means one thing. God plays favorites and you’re one of them.”
I told him, “I don’t believe that God plays favorites. The Bible says that the sun shines on both the bad and the good and the rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous (Matthew 5:45). God doesn’t play favorites. We play favorites.”
“I don’t get it.”
I explained. “One of my earliest spiritual mentors was a nun by the name of Sr. Angelina Lim. When I was 13 years old, she taught me that God’s love is like rain that falls from the sky. Some go out into the rain bringing a cup and get a cup full of rain. Some bring out a pitcher and get a pitcher full of rain. Some bring out a pail and get a pail full of rain. Some bring out a drum and get a drum full of rain. Some bring out a swimming pool and get a swimming pool of rain! The container represents the opening of your heart to God.”
“I get it,” my friend said. “But Bo, I still think you’re lucky.”
“Yes I’m lucky. But I define luck in a different way. My friend Dean Pax Lapid says, ‘Luck consists of Preparedness and Opportunity.’ I see the opportunity because I’m prepared.”
Most of my financial mentors started poor. They went through a lot of pain and humiliation. But they became wealthy because the pain and humiliation made them desperate. And desperate people do desperate things.
One of my mentors told me a story.
He said, “When I was a young man, I’d go door-to-door selling window blinds. In one of my sales calls, I visited a businessman, and gave him my proposal written in a letter. The businessman looked at my letter, smirked, and threw it on the floor.”
“That’s terrible,” I said.
“He didn’t have the decency to simply return the letter to him. The man threw it on the floor just to insult me. It was so painful. Do you know what I did?
“I picked it up and said, ‘Thank you, Sir.’ I walked out and knocked on another door. And another door. And another door. I ate humiliation for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.”
Today, 32 years later, my mentor’s company—which still sells window blinds—now sells over a billion pesos each year.
How come? Because once upon a time, my mentor was desperate. He explained to me why.
“Bo, when I started, I had no choice. I was kicked out of college. My grades were very bad. So having a job and climbing the corporate ladder wasn’t an option for me. The only way open to me was to build my business.”
I love this passage: Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall directyour paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Be humble before God.
And you too will receive the blessings of God like a downpour.
May your dreams come true,
PS. 10,000 People Will Be There! Our biggest, boldest, and most inspirational event of the year, Kerygma Conference 2011, will be on November 18 to 20 in Manila. That’s three days of God’s power flowing to your life. (In Cebu, it’ll be on November 26, and in Davao, it’ll be on December 3.). Get your tickets now. Log on at www.KerygmaConference.com. Or call Tel. (02) 7259999 for details.
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