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Happy Land


After I got off the cruise ship from my recent vacation and stepped back into my real world, a certain familiar mundane mood came over me. In the past when I would feel slightly depressed, I’d picked up a self-help book and attempt to “fix” myself. I guess this time I got a case of cruise lag because I started reading “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor.

I still openly lament the fact that I can’t safely walk alone, cook on a stove and I miss I the independence I use to take for granted. Okay, that’s enough of that; I think you get my point.

To be honest, I believe that if all these things were somehow given back to me, I would automatically be happy. It’s similar to the way one may believe that happiness will come when they lose weight or get that big job or promotion. But the thing is when we do get it we are happy for awhile then the bar gets raised and suddenly there’s something else a little farther off into the distance we need to be happy again. It’s like a never-ending journey to “Happy Land”.

This book has presented to me an entirely new concept. I’m only on page 80 of 210 but this is what I got so far. It basically shows us how to leverage the power of positive thinking in our lives. It says that we must be happy first where we are and then you can be more motivated and productive. In other words, happiness precedes important outcomes and indicators of thriving. The most interesting thing to me is that our external circumstances predict only 10 percent of our happiness. It’s teaching me to constantly scan my life looking for positive possibilities dormant in every situation.

The book’s author goes on to explain different exercises and principles that are very realistic. No, I’m not talking about a bunch of positive fluffy mumbo jumbo. That’s not really my thing. The lady who recommended the book to me is also in a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis and she said it has helped her cope. I took her recommendation to heart because a few years ago I think I may have overestimated the negative effects that living in a wheelchair would leave on my life. And so far this book has opened my eyes to new possibilities. I have new ways of looking at the same things.

I’ve decided to adopt an optimistic explanatory style to interpret the world I live in. I’m seeking out the positive. Something I don’t usually revert to. My husband once said that if I won the lottery, I’d be worried about paying the taxes! The idea that things are never as bad as we originally think is not a new concept. I just usually blow things way out of proportion.

Achor says it’s about using that downhill momentum to push us in the opposite direction. Now that seems tricky to me but I’m willing to give it a try. The question remains, can a change in my mindset really change the objective world around me?

“The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work” by Shawn Achor.

32 thoughts on “Happy Land”
  1. Kerri 6 June, 2013 on 5:25 AM Reply

    “Achor says it’s about using that downhill momentum to push us in the opposite direction.”

    I haven’t read the book, but the name of my blog is “Climbing Downhill” and I’m trying to make the most of what I have.

    • Nicole Lemelle 6 June, 2013 on 2:06 PM Reply

      Kerri, That sounds good to me. Thanks for stopping by. I post on Tuesdays. I will come on over and check out your site.

  2. Tim 18 December, 2012 on 1:23 PM Reply

    Amazing, why hasn’t the entire world been made aware of the proposed fact that our thoughts can change reality? Does he, or anyone for that matter really believe this? And better yet, has it been proven and demonstrated to be true? I’m hoping that I’ve misunderstood the premise but am sceptical none the less.

    • Nicole Lemelle 18 December, 2012 on 3:56 PM Reply

      Tim, Yes there have been many studies in the realm of positive psychology.

  3. Jenn C-W. 13 December, 2012 on 3:14 PM Reply

    Hey Nicole,

    This post and the comments within have come at a great time for me! I was diagnosed August of last year with the Relapsing Remitting varietal. Within that year, I’ve experienced a steady decline from walking on my own to needing a cane full-time and a chair/scooter for long distances. I know, poor me. It wouldn’t be a big deal except that I’m only 31 and took pride in being strong and self-sufficient. My outlook isn’t optimistic by nature, but I’ve become an angry and frustrated person in that year.

    I’m gonna make note and get through these little by little. I need something to supplement the sitcoms I keep handy. :-)

    • Nicole Lemelle 13 December, 2012 on 5:42 PM Reply

      Jenn, First thanks for stopping by. My story is written for folks like you. By the way I’m 37 diagnosed at 25. I would love to see you back around here. It sounds like we have so much in common.

      • Jenn C-W. 16 December, 2012 on 4:16 AM Reply

        Thanks! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, actually. So I guess the phrase, “Long-time reader, first time commenter,” applies to me here. I’m definitely here to stay. :-)

  4. Leslie 11 December, 2012 on 6:04 PM Reply

    Ah, yes. Perspective is key. Reminds me of …
    An old Cherokee chief was teaching his grandson about life.

    “A fight is going on inside me,” he told the young boy, “a terrible fight between two wolves. One is evil, full of anger, sorrow, regret, greed, self-pity and false pride. The other is good, full of joy, peace, love, humility, kindness and faith.”

    “This same fight is going on inside of you, grandson…and inside of every other person on this earth.”

    The grandson ponders this for a moment and then asks, “Grandfather, which wolf will win?”

    The old man smiled and simply said,

    “the one you feed.”

    And when it’s difficult to remember not to feed the negative wolf…

    there’s the Japanese proverb: Fall down seven times, stand up eight.


    It isn’t always easy, but we’re still supposed to try
    Even when we fall, we were Born to Fly — Paul Williams

    • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 8:37 PM Reply

      Leslie, I needed that one.

    • Sara 13 December, 2012 on 2:53 PM Reply

      To Nicole: I was brought to your blog partly out of curiosity, partly out of compassion and sincere interest, but I come away with appreciation for your drive to keep falling forward, keep evolving and maturing and passing your learned wisdoms along the way on to the rest of us. Thank you!
      Peace and Blessings to you.

      To Leslie: Those proverbs, wise sayings, wisdoms are timeless and irredessant (sp?). The beauty within shine multi-faceted to reflect the many-fold lessons that teach us, calm us, remind us to stay truly focused on what matters in this life journey. Thanks for the reminder!

      • Nicole Lemelle 13 December, 2012 on 5:35 PM Reply

        Sara, I’m so glad you stopped by and hope you return on Tuesdays to get the latest new normal perspective!

      • Leslie 14 December, 2012 on 8:08 AM Reply

        I love Nicole’s BLOG. Reminds me that as … Strange/freaky/weird my body (& sometimes mind) feels – I am not alone or unique. Well, I’m unique alright – just like everybody else! 😉 And reinforces that it’s okay to feel whatever we feel, but that we can choose to TRY and feel better. People sometimes comment on my upbeat attitude (which truthfully, I don’t always feel) but I know for sure that being miserable NEVER makes me happy. 😀

        • Nicole Lemelle 14 December, 2012 on 4:53 PM Reply

          Leslie, Thanks so much for reading. While I wouldn’t wish this on my worse enemy it’s nice to find one more person that can at least understand.

  5. Tim 11 December, 2012 on 3:10 PM Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    Sounds like an interesting book yet I have too many that I haven’t read yet to add it to my stack! However, the concept of looking at things differently and eventually they start to look different is a creed I live by. While I may not always avoid getting in “ruts” in my thinking, it is the first tool that helps me get my thinking, and my gratitude, back on track. Hope you enjoy the book and thank you for your work.

  6. life well lived 11 December, 2012 on 2:58 PM Reply

    For years, I have prayed with my daughter every night before bed, and we end it with something from the day for which we are thankful. I’m agnostic, but I always wanted my kids to grow up thinking about how much they have for which to be thankful. Ending the day thinking about some thing positive has always helped me keep moving forward, and I hope it helps them too.

  7. Lisa H 11 December, 2012 on 1:28 PM Reply


    The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude is more important than the facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what people say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company…a church…a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day, We can not change our past…we can not change the fact that people act in a certain way. We can not change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you and me…we are in charge of our attitudes. Author unknown. I read this and know it is the truth. It has gotten me thru cancer and now MS. This paragraph is priceless to me.

  8. Renecia B. Cullier 11 December, 2012 on 12:25 PM Reply

    I really look forward to receiving my emails from you on Tuesdays! They usually make me see things in a totally different light. I’ll definitely have to get a copy of “The Happiness Advantage”! Nicole I really appreciate having you and your outlook in my life. Thanks!!!!!

    • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 1:26 PM Reply

      Renecia, Thanks for reading again.I’m about to read it again too!

  9. Linda Burke 11 December, 2012 on 12:02 PM Reply

    Congratulations on encountering the book you needed at the time you needed it! I can relate to your journey to understand the effect of our thinking/attitude on our experience — it is so true! Being in a wheelchair is a tremendous journey — not one I ever expected/planned on/would have chosen, but I too am learning how to learn from the journey rather than resent it. Although I do wish it were different, it does not determine my happiness — I get to decide! Good luck and thank you for the recommendation! A book that has been very helpful to me is You are not Your Illness — Seven Principles for Meeting the Challenge by Linda Noble Topf. She also was diagnosed with MS, and the book has been a wonderful guide to to help me navigate life with a chronic health condition. Check it out!

    • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 1:31 PM Reply

      Linda, Thanks for the recommendation. You read a plethora of books.

  10. Kathy Young 11 December, 2012 on 10:13 AM Reply

    Hey Nicole — I think you’ll find that by altering the way you look at things, your world, will indeed, change. The power of positive thinking has a long list of clinical studies behind it. It really works. Another thing that works: humor. Find something funny in everything and laughter will deliver you from the worst of things. On a very bad day, I’ll watch funny movies and stand up comedians. There are actually hormones released when you laugh that help ease pain. Just the act of smiling sets of a physiological reaction that releases endorphins – “feel good” hormones. When you feel your worst and are really hurting – smile. No kidding – it will help. You’ll feel like an idiot – but it will help. Another thing: my mother used to say – “the anticipation is worse than the realization.” I’ve found that to be true many times. One last thing – always remember “it seems to help the stress, just to say F-U-M-S”!!!

    • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 1:39 PM Reply

      Kathy, I know that’s why I attend Laughter Yoga! Look it up.

  11. Kim C 11 December, 2012 on 12:46 AM Reply

    It is true….you have to think different to be different! Surround yourself with all the positive Zen you can. It is a catalyst for positive mental energy. Kim C

    • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 1:34 PM Reply

      Kim, I like that. I’ll have to remember constantly. You have to think different to be different.

      • Kim C 11 December, 2012 on 6:43 PM Reply

        Hi, changing your mindset will not change the objective world around you, it can however change the way you perceive the world around you and how you react to it. Kim C

        • Nicole Lemelle 11 December, 2012 on 8:33 PM Reply

          Kim, I’d like to be the first to agree. But there are all these studies that the author speaks of that says it can.

          • Tim 13 December, 2012 on 10:45 PM Reply

            Hi Nicole,
            After a second read I question wether the author of your book actually believes that a change in mindset, perspective, or just how we look at things differently can actually alter that which we are considering. In other words, that it changes reality? Scientifically, philosophically, and logically, I think he, or anyone else could study long and hard enough to prove such a possibility. But hey if they have, they would be the first to do so and I say put them on the research team for a cure of MS! Thanks.

            • Nicole Lemelle 13 December, 2012 on 11:28 PM Reply

              It’s hard to believe but yes that is actually what the author suggests.

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