“So often we get caught up in the illusion that there is something just beyond our reach that would bring us happiness: a better family situation, a better financial situation, or the end of a challenging trial.The older we get, the more we look back and realize that external circumstances don’t really matter or determine our happiness.We do matter. We determine our happiness.You and I are ultimately in charge of our own happiness.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf
I’ve shared a lot in my blog posts this week about the different things I learned from my recent trip to Russia but I’ve saved one of the very best lessons from the trip for last. It’s a lesson I learned from watching our amazing tour guide we spent most of our week with in St. Petersburg named Tatiana.
Throughout our trip the board members I traveled with asked Tatiana questions about what it was like for her growing up in Russia back when food and supplies had to be rationed and there were many other hardships that had to be endured before conditions began to improve. As Tatiana shared her experiences with us it was amazing to me to see how despite the tremendous difficulties she’d experienced back in those years she would always make sure and share the things that also brought her happiness during those same times.
As I watched her wrangle our group of 40+ top CEOs and business leaders who are all type A personalities I saw how she would handle things each time something wasn’t going according to plan – she would acknowledge that one thing or another wasn’t going exactly as we’d hoped and then she’d immediately smile and say something cute like “It’s much better to have your umbrella and not need it, then to need your umbrella and not have it” and then she’d laugh out loud with joy. We literally couldn’t help but laugh right along with her and everyone would feel better about things.
You couldn’t help but feel happy whenever you were around Tatiana! That’s because she is clearly a person who’d learned long ago that she was in charge of her own happiness, and that’s exactly what she was choosing to do, take charge! No matter what external circumstances were she was happy because that’s what she was choosing to be! That seriously made me love her to pieces :).
Saying goodbye to Tatiana at the airport the last morning was so hard! I wanted to put her in my suitcase and bring her home with me because being around her made me and everyone else in our group HAPPY!!! I’ve had serious Tatiana withdrawls since I’ve gotten home…I miss that constant smile, and the never ending funny comments, and the way she always sees the positive in every situation. She set an example for me that I will never forget. I want to be a lot more like Tatiana in my life.
We are in charge of our happiness. CHOOSE HAPPY!
~Amy Rees Anderson (author of the book “What Awesome Looks Like: How To Excel in Business & Life” )