BRENT STOLLER

Writer. Advice giver. Peanut butter and chocolate enthusiast.

Happiness is a Choice

A rocky ocean landscape beneath a purple and red sky

“Gonna wash the dust off my soul/
Gonna listen to some rock ’n’ roll/
No cares, come what may/
I’m making a beautiful day.”

Those four lines comprise the opening verse of Joshua Radin’s, “Beautiful Day,” one of the tracks that’s routinely included on my playlist to help me beat the morning blues.

It’s included for a reason.

Yes, I love the song’s easygoing melody and the singer’s captivating vocals.

But mostly I love the lyrics’ life-changing message:

Happiness is a choice.

Of course, that’s a message I haven’t always agreed with.

In fact, during my lowest times, it’s been a concept that has infuriated me.

When you’re feeling down, and you don’t know what to do, and everything you do know to do proves ineffective, how are you supposed to feel? How are you supposed to choose happiness when you’re being denied it at every turn, in every way imaginable?

How can you possibly believe you have any choice at all?

Those are questions I’ve struggled to answer, and still do at times.

And it sounds like I’m not the only one.

Joshua Radin does, too. Or at least he did.

As he explains in this behind-the-music moment, there was a time when he was unhappy with where he was (Los Angeles), so much so that he was contemplating returning to where he’d been happy before (New York).

Each morning, he’d hike to the top of the hill behind his house. It was there, where he was removed from his struggles and able to take in the panoramic wonder of his current situation, that he decided to make himself have a “Beautiful Day” — which inspired him to write this song.

And now, that song does the same for me.

It’s a reminder that while we can’t always control what’s going on around us, we can control what’s going on within us.

Our attitude, our perspective, our response to the challenges we encounter — those are all choices left to our discretion.

We have the power to choose how we take in and go through life.

So why not choose to make the best of it?

*****

This originally appeared on 100 Naked Words.

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