Norton: Hold on to your happiness from yesterday and build it today and tomorrow (column) | VailDaily.com

Norton: Hold on to your happiness from yesterday and build it today and tomorrow (column)

Michael Norton
Valley Voices

"Happiness is not something you postpone for the future; it is something you design for the present." — Jim Rohn

Last week, we covered the importance of love in our past and the role of love in our present and love in our future. This week, we will have some fun with the topic of happiness past, present and future.

I have yet to meet the person who cannot remember or find something that brings them either fantastic happiness or unspeakable joy from their yesterdays of life. A happy moment, a happy place, a song, a vacation, a piece of art, a meal cooked by grandma or maybe grandpa's homemade lemonade, a puppy and so many more moments in time that have the ability to bring us right back to the kitchen, the park, the studio, the dance floor or wherever our happy place from yesterday exists.

For me, Beaver Creek elicits happy memories of skiing, family time, friends, hiking, concerts and chocolate chip cookies. I am smiling right now thinking about each moment of snow falling on me as I skied the trees in silence, as I am instantly transported back to the bottom of the lift thinking about the cookies and the smiles on my children's faces. I remember the happy and cherished moments shared there on the mountain and in the village with the love of my life.

Our happiness in our yesterdays plays such an important part in our happiness today. And as Jim Rohn points out in his quote above, happiness is designed for the present. It is so easy to get frazzled or down as we try to keep pace with the chaos and craziness around us. It really is too easy to become sad, if we allow ourselves to buy into the sadness. The good news is that there is a possible cure for our sadness; we call it happiness. We call it hope for a better and happier tomorrow.

Phil Collins said it this way in his song "Groovy Kind of Love," "When I'm feeling blue, all I have to do, is take a look at you, then I'm not so blue …" What is it you can look at to not feel so blue? What memory do we have from yesterday that is so powerfully happy it can turn today's sad day around?

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You see, we don't really get any more yesterdays, but we get plenty of todays and all of the tomorrows we can imagine. And in each one of our todays, in our current situation or condition, we can all find something to be happy about. And it's probably just not in our memories; it is probably sitting right in front of us. It's opportunity, it's a smile, it's our favorite current song, it's a new business, it's a new acquaintance, it is faith, it is hope and it is love.

This is all well and good, you might say, and you might ask, "But how can I know that I will be happy tomorrow or next week or next year or in five years?" Great question, and I am glad you asked. There is no doubt that tough times, crisis and sadness or difficult moments will creep into everyone's life. It happens. When that does happen, when those times come, we can still find happiness, even in our melancholy moments.

And we would also do well to remember that happiness in our future is a choice. Happiness is an attitude. To prepare for a happy future, we need to remember our happy places, happy moments and happy memories of yesterday. We need to build upon our happy moments and experiences of today, storing them away and building up our happy muscles for all of our tomorrows.

Let's explore practicing happiness in a potentially unhappy world. The person who dreads going to their office because it is stressful and unhappy can find happiness in the fact that they have a job right now. And remembering that when looking for a new job, no one ever hires unhappy people.

The person who is sad visiting the hospital can experience happiness watching as the nurses and therapists helping patients are actually bringing relief and comfort to the patients in their care. Certainly there are situations that call for a less happy appearance and approach, and we can all relate to those moments and understand the sensitivity that we feel in those situations.

So how about you? Where is your happiness found in your yesterdays? Where is your happiness found today? Are you prepared for the future and preserving your attitude of happiness? I would love to hear each story at gotonorton@gmail.com. And when we build upon our happiness of yesterday, nurture our happiness today, it will be a happy tomorrow and a better-than-good week, as well.

Michael Norton is a former resident of Edwards, the past president of the Zig Ziglar Corp., strategic consultant and business and personal coach.