Our Moral Compass: Our Disposition, Not Our Circumstance Determines Our Happiness

“I am still determined to be cheerful and to be happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learnt, from experience, that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances.”

-Martha Washington

     Having a positive, growth mindset is a choice. So is choosing to be cheerful and happy no matter what the situation may be. The former First Lady, Martha Washington conveys this in today’s quote. Most importantly we are in control of our own happiness or misery because of who we are and what we believe in, not on what happens to us per se.

To me that is the hardest thing about self management: not allowing the circumstances around us affect our emotions, thoughts or behaviors. I start each day meditating for about ten minutes to set the tone for the day. Most of the time it sets me up to have a good day but there are times when something unexpected happens that may throw my day into a tailspin causing me to forget to take a moment and breathe and instead overreact to the situation. In those instances I have let the stress get the best of me. Fortunately for me I recognize right away and am able to hit the breaks on my emotions and do any damage control needed. It still doesn’t make it right though and I recognize that and chalk it up to an experience I need to learn from.

When it comes to our disposition, our inherent qualities of mind and character, it essentially means what makes us us. One quality that people have said about me is that no matter the situation I try to find the positive in it. When Jon Gordon came out with his book The Power of Positive Leadership I was reading this book one summer and while at a training we were asked what book we were currently reading. When I had shared out that this was the book, the trainer, who was someone I had worked with in the past, texted me after that session and said to me that I could have written the book because she said I was the most positive person she had ever met. That comment meant a lot to me and its what I try to portray each and everyday. Am I always like it? No but I try to be because its a better way to live your life thinking that no matter what happens there is always a silver lining even in things that might not look so positive.

Remember you can’t control the weather, the traffic or the moods of other people. You can only control yourself. Once you realize this you can choose to be how you want to be. So why not choose to be cheerful and happy. Martha did and I think her life turned out pretty well.

What does this quote mean to you and how can you apply today’s message towards managing yourself better?

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