We assume that happy and unhappy people are born that way. But both kinds of people do things that create and reinforce their moods. Happy people let themselves be happy. Unhappy people continue doing things that upset them.

What is the first sign of a healthy business? A healthy business plan. That is the argument of the Strategic Management Center, a business consulting firm. They believe every business must define its purpose and then create a strategy to accomplish that purpose.

This same approach can be used by people. Define what you want, then use a strategy to get it.

Ironically, children are better at this than adults. Small children know when being cranky will get them an ice cream cone. And they know when being too noisy will get them a cross reaction from their parents. Children understand that there are rules and predictable patterns to life, and they use a strategy to help them get what they want.

Living a happy life as an adult is like trying to get that ice cream cone as a child. You need to know what you want and use a strategy to get it. Think about what makes you happy and what makes you sad, and use this to help you get what you want.

Happy people do not experience one success after another and unhappy people, one failure after another. Instead, surveys show that happy and unhappy people tend to have had very similar life experiences. The difference is that the average unhappy person spends more than twice as much time thinking about unpleasant events in their lives, while happy people tend to seek and rely upon information that brightens their personal outlook.

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