Decide To Be Happy

“You can’t wait until life isn’t hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” Singer-song writer, Nightbirde,

This from a woman who, suffering cancer, was in the last months of her life. She made this statement during her audition on America’s Got Talent in 2021. She wasn’t able to compete in the finals due to her cancer. She died in early 2022.

Nightbirde lived her message. She glowed with a smile that left no doubt that she had chosen happiness in the face of a terminal illness at the tender age of 30. She became an inspiration to us all.

No exemption

I have yet to meet anyone, regardless of how astonishing their success, who hasn’t, or isn’t, dealing with some serious challenges. None of us is exempt. None of us goes through life unscathed. Yet the vast majority of us find ways to deal with whatever challenges life deals us. 

Joy in the face of challenge

At the same time, we experience the joy of family, friends, personal and professional success. We enjoy feeling valuable and valued. Feelings that are enhanced by the growth of our skills and ability. Some of our greatest joy comes when we use these enhanced skills to help others in the pursuit of their dreams or to assist them in dealing with their challenges.

Challenge and forgetfulness

In the moment of challenge, of new and unexpected shifts in our sense of well-being, we often forget that we’ve never failed to deal with any situation we’ve faced regardless of how daunting it felt at first.

We also forget all the good that we experience on a daily basis: the love of family and friends, the willingness of others to help us in our time of need, the power of our ability to learn and adapt…even when we have no previous experience in dealing with an issue.

We forget that nothing is all good or all bad…that each alternative solution to our dilemma has some aspects that we favor and some aspects we’d rather avoid. Our choices, when made consciously and objectively, enable us to find the solution that offers the greatest number of advantages and fewest disadvantages among the alternatives available.

How can this awareness help us “decide to be happy” even when life is hard?

For you

When faced with an unpleasant situation, pause. During the pause, within milliseconds, your emotions will subside and you’ll regain your full mental capacity. Then remind yourself that:

  • You’ve always found solutions to the challenges you’ve faced…even when you had no prior experience or training.
  • You have people in your life who are more than willing to help you through the challenges you face. All you have to do is make them aware of what’s happening.
  • Nothing is all good or all bad. That you are adept at evaluating alternatives to find the one that best suits you.
  • Once you’ve identified and acted upon a solution, you’ll not only experience the joy of accomplishment, you’ll appreciate the lesson learned and the growth in confidence it affords.

For our kids

When the kids in your life have an unpleasant experience, share with them Nightbirde’s message. Let them know that everyone experiences challenges throughout their lives, but that they also have a choice as to how they deal with their challenges. They can:

  • Bemoan them, which does nothing to alleviate their pain.
  • Accept them, extending the pain by viewing themselves as victims.
  • Remind themselves of the good in their lives and their ability to choose a solution that helps them return to that happy state of mind.

What greater gift can you offer a child than the ability to be happy even when life is hard? A gift offered by Nightbirde in the waning hours of her life. 

Let others know that you love them by sharing this blog post. They’ll appreciate that you care.

I love hearing your thoughts and experiences, please share your techniques for remaining happy in the face of adversity.

If you’d like to enjoy great confidence, check out our Confidence Self-Study programs (opens in a new link). 

If you’d like to enrich the lives of others by teaching them to be more confident, check out our Teaching Confidence Instructor Certification program (opens in a new link).


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4 Responses

  1. bill prenatt

    Dale. As usual your insights into happiness are remarkable.

    In my coaching, i find that many people are unaware that they are self-sabotaging their own happiness. In his book Do The Work, Steven Pressfield goes on to say that our brain has “a proactive, intelligent, tireless but also extremely malign force geared to stop us on the way of becoming the best version of ourselves.”

    • dfurtwengler

      Bill, I’m not familiar with that book, but I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment. I find it amazing, as I’m sure you do as well, that when we shine a light on another way to view a situation, the person’s return to happiness and their recommitment to their goal happen almost instantly. Thanks for sharing with us, Bill.

  2. Deanna

    What a wonderful and so true message. I am grateful for my friends that remind me of this often, usually when it is the most synchonistic moment. Thank you for your wise and heartfelt writing!

    • dfurtwengler

      Deanna, it’s amazing how often things show up when we need them. I’ve often said that what I need always shows up when I need it…rarely in the time frame I want it. The last phrase is not a complaint; simply an observation. How could I justify complaining when what I need always shows up when I need it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Deanna.

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