Abraham Lincoln said, “We’re as happy as we make up our minds to be. Whether we are on our way or we’ve already arrived, we’ll be as happy as we make up our minds to be – right here; right now.”
Benjamin Franklin believed in setting big goals and seeking big successes. But he also believed that happiness comes from the pursuit – in the right here; right now. It means that big achievements come one step at a time and that we must enjoy and celebrate the little accomplishments in pursuit of our grander goals.
2) Franklin’s second principle is that life is not rigid. Each of us has the power to mold ourselves and our environments. We have the ability to think, rethink, change, and adapt to impermanence which is life’s only guarantee. Franklin says that it’s up to each of us to begin the molding and become and achieve all that we aspire to and that this requires flexibility and a non-rigid approach to life. We must dream, plan, anticipate, act, measure results, and be flexible in our approach.
By using our minds and our abilities - and committing to focused discipline, we find that being flexible is transformative both in process and outcome. Holding on to limiting beliefs and habits is itself limiting. However, when we let go of the rigid and dogmatic demands that we place upon ourselves and others – and on life - we then have the ability to focus our attention on the little steps that will ultimately lead us to that something big.
3) Principle three, according to Benjamin Franklin, is that success is a pleasure. Franklin contends that if what we are doing today is not satisfying or gratifying, we can’t possibly view ourselves as successful. In fact, quite the contrary. If what we are doing today is not satisfying and is not pleasurable, we are laying the foundation for a non-satisfying future as well.
Even in the midst of chaos, conflict, and adversity, if we are unable to focus our attention on all that we have and all that we have to be grateful for, inclusive of the “tough stuff,” we cannot possibly be successful. In fact, Franklin says that regardless of how many worldly possessions we own, how much money we have, and the loving people we have in our lives, if we are unable to find pleasure in all that we experience, we cannot consider ourselves successful. And if we require evidence to support this principle, we need only look to the many people in Hollywood, sports, or business who seem to have it all – yet don’t find authentic pleasure in their successes.
I know that success is a relative term and it means different things to different people. To a school kid, success may mean three stars on her latest test. To a homemaker, it may mean having a well-run household and maintaining an organized schedule. To a businessperson, it may be the thrill of closing a major contract, having a backlog of clients in the pipeline, or the pride of receiving a raise or bonus.
But the one testimonial you will almost always hear from successful people is that they are happy because they envisioned something big and committed to it. But the happiness came from the many small daily successestheyhadwhileclimbingthemountainofsuccess. Andwhenthingsgottoughanddidn’tgotheir way as they headed toward the summit, they found pleasure in their own resourcefulness to best deal with it all.