Make it a Habit

During one of my railroad journeys… a half-dozen of us were shaving in the men’s lounge. As always in such close and crowded quarters after a night on the train, this group of strangers was not disposed to be gay, and there was little conversation and that little was mostly mumbled.

Then a man came in wearing on his face a broad smile. He greeted us all with a cherry good morning, but received rather unenthusiastic grunts in return. As he went about his shaving he was humming, probably quite unconsciously, a gay little tune. It got a bit on the nerves of some of the men Finally one said rather sarcastically, “You certainly seem to be happy this morning! Why all the cheer?”

“Yes,” the man answered, “as a matter of fact, I am happy. I do feel cheerful.” Then he added, “I make it a habit to be happy.”

That is all that was said, but I am sure that each man in that lounge left the train with those interesting words in mind, “I make it a habit to be happy.”

The statement is really very profound, for our happiness or unhappiness depends to an important degree upon the habit of mind we cultivate. That collection of wise sayings, the book of Proverbs, tells us that “…he that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast.” (Proverbs 15:15).

In other words, cultivate the merry heart; that is, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast, which is to say you can enjoy life every day.

Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking