Are Most People As Happy As They Decide To Be?

Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.

Abraham Lincoln wrote: “Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be.”  Can we make up our minds to be happy? Is it only a simple decision I make that results in me being happy?

Can a bug make up its mind to be happy? :-)

Let’s try this idea of becoming happy by deciding to be happy. As I wrote the previous sentence, I was unhappy. As I write this sentence, I’m still unhappy. But, I haven’t consciously made up my mind, yet, to be happy!

Before “I make up my mind to be happy,” let’s first consider what making up my mind means. The title of this post uses the word decide instead of making up my mind. From my point of view, “making up my mind” and “deciding” are synonymous. With that in mind, let’s now see if I can decide to be happy.

OK, I have now declared in my mind that I want to be happy. My mind is made up, I’m now happy. The decision has been reached that I am happy!

"My mind is made up, I'm now happy!"

Am I happy? Well, yes, I do feel happy. At least, I feel much happier than I did when I started writing this. Why? Is my happiness simply the result of being able to only think one thought at a time? Perhaps! I think an unhappy thought and I’m unhappy; I think a happy thought and I’m happy. Wow, that sounds soooo… simple!

If it is true that I can only think one thought at a time, then the state of unhappiness might be directly attributed to thinking consecutive thoughts of unhappiness. So, if I want to be happy, then I need to make up my of mind to be happy and focus on consecutive positive (happy) thoughts.

I am writing this post at the beginning of a new year. Resolving to focus on thinking consecutive positive and happy thoughts seems like a most appropriate way to start the new year off.

Are most people as happy as they decide to be? I don’t know, but I know one person who is resolving and deciding to be happier. Who? Me! :-) How about you?

4 Comments on “Are Most People As Happy As They Decide To Be?”

  1. Pingback: Bloggers Bug » Blog Archive » Are Most People As Happy As They Decide To Be?

  2. Thank you for this piece.
    The regular quote of saying people are as happy as they decide to be, though true, rings of an observer negatively judging the unhappy.
    Your take is more like a helpful affirmation “I will be happy by deciding to be” seems like good advice to the individual seeking a happier life.
    I came across your message while researching information for a short story about two people, one who is very depressed, poor, unlucky, yet in good health. The other is equally poor and mildly physically disabled but happy and who seems to be pretty lucky. The story will be about their encounter, budding friendship and “Lucky’s” influence on “Sad and Unlucky”.
    Thanks for your help!


  3. Are most people as they decide to be?

    Ok, forget for a moment that Lincoln suffered from depression and mood swings, so I sincerely doubt he decided to do that.

    So tell, me why did he work so hard to free the slaves? I mean, wasn’t it their fault they were miserable? Why do anything for them when all they had to do was “be happy”.

    I hate this saying, because it’s classic “blame the victim” mentality. “Oh, you’re living in a cardboard box because of your PTSD? Well, it’s your fault because you decided to be unhappy.”

    You’re the kind of person who tells people suffering from depression to “snap out of it”, aren’t you?


  4. Hello Shannon,

    Thanks for your comment. Please know I did not mean for my post to be a “blame the victim” and/or a cure for depression, mood swings, etc.

    I have PTSD and am not able to “cure it” by simply deciding to be happy. Having stated that, I do find thinking positive and not dwelling on my unhappiness helps. My post is a very personal one in which I tried to share how important it is to pay attention my point of view.

    I wish the best for you. And, please consider the last paragraph in my post where I strive to clarify how this is only a personal journey: “Are most people as happy as they decide to be? I don’t know, but I know one person who is resolving and deciding to be happier. Who? Me! :-) How about you?”

    Best regards,



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