“Today, on my forty-seventh birthday, I reread the suicide note I wrote on my twenty-seventh birthday about two minutes before my girlfriend, Carol, showed up at my apartment and told me she was pregnant. Her words were honestly the only reason I didn’t follow through with it. Suddenly I felt I had something to live for, and I started making small positive changes one day at a time. It’s been a journey, but Carol is now my wife and we’ve been happily married for nineteen years. And my daughter, who is now a twenty-one-year-old university student pursuing a degree in medicine, has two younger brothers. I read my suicide note every year on the morning of my birthday as a reminder to be grateful—I am grateful I stopped waiting and started doing things daily that ultimately gave me a second chance at life.”
That’s a direct quote from a course student of ours that we’ve shared with permission in our new (New York Times bestselling) book, Getting Back to Happy: Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Reality, and Turn Your Trials into Triumphs. As Angel states in the book, “This student’s words remind us that sometimes we have to endure our very darkest moments in order to be reborn and rise again as a stronger, happier version of ourselves. Although circumstances and people will occasionally break you down to the lowest of lows, when you keep your mind focused on the positive, your heart open to love, and continue to put one foot in front of the other, you can recover the pieces, rebuild, and come back much stronger and happier than you ever would have been otherwise.”
Because here’s the reality: a tiny part of your life is decided by completely uncontrollable circumstances, while the vast majority of your life is decided by how you actively respond to them.
Whenever our students come to us feeling down about a life situation they can’t control, we typically start by [Read more…]