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Why We May Be Raising the Most Unhappy and Unfulfilled Generation Ever – and How to Change That

 

by Glenn Shepard
October 3, 2017
Category: Personal Growth


 

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Generosity is not only a key to happiness, but also a determining factor of long term success.
Source: University of Texas Professor Dr. Raj Raghunathan in his book “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy?”

 

 


It’s a conversation I’ll never forget.

When I was about 7, I asked my mother why my father never smiled.

She responded, "Because nothing has ever made him happy".

That perplexed me, because he had plenty to be happy about. Like most people, I thought that if things are good in your life, you’ll be happy.

But then I read "The Power of Positive Thinking" by the great Norman Vincent Peale, and learned that happiness is a choice.

I went to the library to learn more about this concept, and found an interesting quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln. It read “Most folks are as about as happy as they make up their minds to be”.

I was intrigued by the concept, but confused about one part of it.

It made sense that people can choose to be happy. But why would anyone “choose” to be unhappy?

I learned that the choice to be unhappy isn’t a conscious one, but it is a habit. So many people focus on the negative, which would make anyone unhappy.

The problem with making our happiness dependent on outside events is that we have limited control over those events. This amounts to a form of what psychologists call “Learned Helplessness”, which leads to a mentality of victimhood.

Nobody has ever been happy while wallowing in victimhood, though lots of people embrace it to the point that they’d lose their identity if they let go of it.

While special events like a big promotion, the birth of your first child, or getting a new puppy will make just about anyone happy, events like those are few and far between.

Unless you want to be miserable the rest of your life, you have to make the conscious choice to be happy when things are normal, and as much as possible, even when they stink.

I learned how powerful this concept is while promoting one of my seminars in 1993.

I was advertising on a Nashville radio station and received a call from a guy who had a little talk show on that station. He said that if I’d let him attend my seminar at no charge, he’d let me be a guest on his show and promote the seminar.

When he came to the seminar at the Opryland Hotel, he gave me a copy of a self-published book he was selling out of the trunk of his car. It was titled “Financial Peace”.

When I greeted him with the customary “How are you today?”, he responded, “Better than I deserve”. He had recently lost a multi-million-dollar real estate empire, and was trying to rebuild his life. I found it intriguing that someone would be so happy when he had plenty to be unhappy about.

He made a very conscious choice to be grateful for what he did have, which made it easier to be happy.

Today, it is my firm belief that the secret to happiness is to expect nothing and be grateful for everything.

But in a society with an ever-growing entitlement mentality where people – especially young people – think they deserve the best of everything just because they have a pulse, they’re not going to appreciate what they do get. For this reason, we may be raising a generation destined to be the unhappiest one that has existed for many years.

If you want your kids to be happy when they become adults, teach them to be grateful when they’re still kids.


To Your Success,


Glenn Shepard


P.S.
 The guy who attended my seminar in 1993 was named Dave Ramsey. Today, he has over 600 employees, and his radio show reaches over 13,000,000 listeners every week through 585 radio stations. He was grateful when he didn’t have a lot to be grateful for, and now he has a lot more to be grateful for. I’m confident he would not be where he is today if he’d spent the rest of his life being bitter and resentful about what he’d lost.

 

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