Start Choosing Happiness

week ten—brenna e. p. by Garrett Farlow (CC BY-NC-ND)

week ten—brenna e.p. by Garrett Farlow (CC BY-NC-ND)

Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.
―Laurie Buchanan
Choosing a path meant having to miss out on others. She had a whole life to live, and she was always thinking that . . . she might regret the choices she made now. . . . She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none. ―Paulo Coelho
This I choose to do. If there is a price, this I choose to pay. . . . Where this takes me, there I choose to go. I choose. ―Terry Pratchett


Once upon a time, before the world was divided into fiction and nonfiction, great stories seamlessly wove the world into meaning. Tradition, duty, and magic infused every aspect of life and paths were laid for each generation long before they were born. Life unfurled itself in great anticipated cycles.

But today the abundance of stories—many compelling, some conflicting—can overwhelm you. As the world shrinks and borders blur, tales chafe one another, vying for your limited attention. The opportunity and pressure to choose which you’ll live by have never been greater. It’s easy to grow paralyzed with indecision, stalling for clarity and discovering too late that inaction is also a choice.

The universe is so full of possibilities that you have to be selective to function at all. To thrive, you have to radically simplify—declutter your life of habits, commitments, info, people, places, and thoughts that aren’t helping you. (Me, I avoid shoulds, can’ts, and don’ts.) Ditching the stories that hold you back isn’t easy, but fulfillment is worth the effort.

Life is short. We live the stories we tell ourselves. To create a life you love, select those stories wisely. Start choosing happiness.





  1. Well, as I sit gazing at the accumulation of papers of professional work products for clients over 40 years, I am truly amazed at the amount of effort put forth. Not in the work itself, but in the keeping of the pigmented cellulose fiber.

    As your thoughts reveal, a choice to preserve such data in preparation for the unknowable opportunity the future may have been offering, now seems amazingly silly.

    I do not regret the choice, but upon reflection, a different choice now seems an improvement, a simpler, uncluttered path.

    I would like to think your bringing this reflection on choices may well help others just beginning their journey.


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