"Dreams are renewable. No matter what our age or condition, there
are still untapped possibilities within us and new beauty waiting to be born."

-- Dale E. Turner



This week I heard Julie Andrews' recording from "The Sound of Music" and as near as I could catch the words, she sings "when the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling sad, I simply remember my favorite things and then I don't feel so bad." In the song, she celebrates falling snow, apple strudel, and presents wrapped up with string, and adds, "these are a few of my favorite things."

I thought about how profound that is!

Our world is filled with far too much negativity, and I think it comes in at least two forms that we can control.

The first is the negative influence of the news media. I understand news is a competitive business and I understand that people are interested in controversial and shocking events, but it's an awful business.

Normally, our lives are NOT filled with car wrecks and corruption, or violence, or evil in our neighborhoods. Yes, of course, we want to be informed, but bad news fills our lives, and that's a shame. Increasingly, we live in a world that is "all news, all the time" and we are swamped with reminders of risk, danger, violence and corruption and it distorts our perceptions of reality. Sometimes, "just say no" and turn off the news -- you'll feel better!

The second kind of negativity is our pervasive sense of dissatisfaction.

We are so rich! We have so much! We have access to beauty, history, romance and joy! We are the most educated, most blessed people on earth. We have beautiful homes and wonderful cars. We have cell phones! And yet, we make ourselves unhappy because we don't have "more."

Increasingly, I am convinced the road to true wealth has little to do with more money. Increasingly, I am suspicious that peace of mind has relatively little to do with where we live, how much money we have or what we do for a living.

Now, I'm not against ambition or the desire to make things better. I just want to stand for "an attitude of gratitude."

Inner peace, joy, and "the good life," it seems to me, are more about gratitude than about having more stuff. There is a wonderful quote from Gandhi that "there is more to life than increasing its speed." I think he was right, and I think there is more to the "good life" than having more and more things.

Julie Andrews sang about her "favorite things" as an antidote to bee stings, but when I heard the song, I thought about my favorite things as a positive, pro-active source of joy. In the midst of so much negative news, and the pressure to do more and make more and have more, how about a radical departure? How about interrupting that routine with a daily dose of "favorite things"?

What would happen if every single day we took time for something wonderful? What if we laughed out loud, or tickled our kids, or ate a cookie, or played with a puppy for a few minutes every single day? What if we made love more often or told more jokes, or instead of downloading music we actually sang our own songs? Would that change the world? Would it change our lives?

Make a list of a dozen wonderful, delightful things that bring you joy. Share your list with a friend, and make a pact that every day you will take time to enjoy at least one of them. Let's see if it catches on -- maybe we can spread a virus that causes an epidemic of joy, a tidal-wave of happy, smiling people! Every day, be happy, and pass it on.

By Dr. Philip E. Humbert, professional coach, author and popular speaker. www.philiphumbert.com
Copyright (c) 2004, all rights reserved.

If you like the idea of spreading joy, forward this article to at least 5 people. Encourage at least 5 people to join you in doing something fun, joyful and wonderful, every single day. Just use the "Forward" button in your e-mail to send this to a few friends.

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March 19, 2004
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