Excerpt for Simply Being Happy by , available in its entirety at Smashwords

What Readers Are Saying About

Paula Sullivan and Simply Being Happy

“If real and lasting happiness has eluded you, if you have always thought it was meant for others, and that you were just dealt the wrong hand in life, then this book was written specifically for you. Let Paula Sullivan teach you that you can become incredibly happy no matter what circumstances you came from in your past. You will learn that happiness is attainable to anyone who is willing to learn and apply the techniques she outlines in the chapters. And the biggest surprise you will discover is how easy it has been all along.”

— Amanda Torrey, author of The Healing Springs book series

“Simply Being Happy is a cornucopia of excellent techniques you can use now and anytime you have a free minute to increase your happiness quota. Pick it up in any place and you’ll find advice to perk up your mood instantly.”

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, PhD and Award-Winning Author of The Best Place and Spirit of the North

“No one can say it’s easy to find happiness, but Paula Sullivan fills this book with truths and simple processes that will make it easier. Simply Being Happy is a book we can all benefit from. It should be given to every kid in every school—what a happier world it would be then….”

— Nicole Gabriel, Author of Finding Your Inner Truth and Stepping Into Your Becoming

Simply Being Happy is a positive book from start to finish. Written in a way that can be customized to the reader, this book speaks directly to each of us as we need it to. Paula Sullivan’s many techniques are tried and true, tested and retested, and proven to work. This is a terrific book, not only as an inspiring read-through, but as a valuable asset to keep in your desk drawer—a long-term reference guide that can come to your aid any time you need a pick-me-up in your ongoing daily life. For many of us, happiness is the goal, and as Paula shows us, that very happiness is not as elusive as some might have us believe.”

— James F Johnson, Author of the Bullies & Allies novel series: Disaster Island, The Goat Driver, and The Puzzled

“Paula Sullivan shows us how we can find happiness in the most surprising niches in our lives. Practical exercises and a life-changing positive perspective make Simply Being Happy a real keeper.”

— Susan Friedmann, CSP, International Bestselling Author of Riches in Niches: How to Make It BIG in a small Market

“Who doesn’t want more happiness in life? And happiness is all around us when we are willing to be aware of our situations and make the choice to be happy. In these pages, with simple steps and profound exercises, Paula Sullivan takes us on the journey to the happier destiny we all seek.”

— Patrick Snow, Public Speaker, Publishing Coach, and International Best-Selling Author of Creating Your Own Destiny





Paula Sullivan

Copyright © 2017 by Paula Sullivan
Aviva Publishing

Smashwords Edition

All Rights Reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without the expressed written permission of the author.

Address all inquiries to:

Paula Sullivan




Editor: Tyler Tichelaar, Superior Book Productions

Cover Designer: Dianne Buehler

Author Photo: Karen Moriarty Photography

Every attempt has been made to source properly all quotes.


Jim, Jimmy, Tara, and Christine

I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”

— Kahlil Gibran

Preface How to Use This Book

Introduction Are You Happy?


1 Please Stand By

2 What Are You Waiting For?

3 What’s in Your Bag?

4 In the Hood

5 Just Breathe

6 Om

7 Puffy Clouds

8 Namaste

9 Cruising

10 Ball and Chain

11 Starting at the Very Beginning

12 The Basics

13 Our Operating System

14 Good Vibrations

15 Oh, Santa

16 Rock Your World

17 Nighty-Night

18 Goals in Sight

19 The Big Game

20 Golden Buddha

21 Ocean Breeze

22 Cake

23 Pie

24 Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

25 Water Crystals

26 Money, Money, Money

27 Party at the Ritz

28 Movin’ On Up

29 Upgrades

30 Start Noticing

31 Thank You!

32 Rich Girl

33 Champagne Wishes

34 Next Tour

35 One More Tour

36 Work and Work...

37 Gotta Have It

38 Me, Rich?

39 Money Talk

40 Say, What?

41 I Am...

42 Pick a Few

43 Ancient Chinese Secret

44 Complaint Department

45 Blue Smoke

46 Bye, Bye

47 Ocean of Energy

48 Best Quality

49 Doppelgangers

50 Character Overlay

51 Test Drive

52 Indiana Jones

53 Inner Wisdom

54 Personal Coach

55 Dream Team

56 Scrubbing Bubbles

57 Commando 450

58 Sprite

59 Fresh Air

60 Squeaky Clean

61 Morning Script

62 The Sea

63 Gray Meditation

64 Forgive

65 Forgiveness 2.0

66 Installing Jewels

67 Scoop It Up

68 In My Heart

69 Operation

70 Archeologist

71 A Do-Over

72 Labels

73 Brand Names

74 Going Back

76 Matzo Ball

77 Your Ideal Day

78 Your Ideal Day 2.0

79 Reverse Engineering

80 Fill ’Er Up

81 Picture Time

82 Ten Times More

83 Small Changes

84 Mindstorming

85 Bookends

86 Today Is Your Day

87 Projects

88 One Question

89 Having Fun?

90 Smile

91 Laughin’

92 What’s Your Newport?

Concluding Thoughts

About the Author

About Paula’s Visualization Teachings


How to Use This Book

To start, press any key. Where’s the any key?”

— Homer Simpson

I wrote this book with you in mind. My guess is that your life is already packed full of things to do, people to see, and places to go—you don’t need a long drawn-out book to read on top of everything else. Instead, you want a fun-and-easy way to get happy! Besides, who wants to feel like she is reading a school textbook? Simply Being Happy is, instead, more in tune with how we like to get our information nowadays—in seven-second sound bites, in 140 characters or less tweets, and in short, concise text messages. So ninety-three short and concise ways to acquire happiness should fit right into your life nicely.

To get the best out of this book, I wouldn’t leave any pages unread, though. There is so much interesting, valuable, and perhaps, for you, even earth-shattering content on every page that you wouldn’t want to miss out on anything that could potentially make a huge difference in your life. It’s amazing how even reading a sentence or phrase in just the right way can do that. I encourage you to jump around; flip the pages; write in the lines, out of the lines, and in the margins; cross out, comment, highlight, and do everything else that will make this book personal to you in your quest for a happier life.

Speaking of jumping around—except for the chapters early on in the book that explain the basics, all others are assembled fairly randomly. In other words, Chapter 87 may be no less important to you than Chapter 12. That’s because everything in the book is pretty much related to everything else. It’s like those infographics that come out in Cosmo magazine every now and then that show which actresses slept with which actors—and they’ve got lines all over the place connecting them all, which essentially means they all slept together. It’s like that. Everything in the study of happiness is connected. So keep that in mind when you’re trying out exercises. One exercise might appear to be only helping you to install positive images, for example, and it might be labeled that way. But in reality, at the same time, you will be clearing and replacing negative ones, boosting your self-image, etc.

And don’t let the huge number—ninety-three—overwhelm you into thinking you couldn’t possibly fit all of these exercises in. Some of them are simple questions that you can answer once. Some might be practices that you’ll want to add to your daily routine; others might be weekly or even monthly exercises; and many of them you can use as life situations present themselves.

I’m going to ask just two favors of you. One is that you don’t mistake the simple-and-easy nature of the exercises for shallow and insignificant. They are actually the complete opposite. They are not only really profound, but they can make an incredible difference in your life, if you apply them thoughtfully.

The second favor is to keep an open mind. What might seem strange at first glance, and maybe even silly, could be just what you’ve been needing. Each one of these exercises allows you to go deeply into yourself and see the stuff you are really made of.

The other thing to keep an open mind about is that, aside from the questions, all of the exercises are in three basic forms: meditations, visualizations, and affirmations. All three of these need to be practiced for my book to work for you. That’s so important. You cannot try meditating twice and decide that you can’t sit still for five minutes, so you’ll leave that out, or that you can’t see your goals clearly enough when you visualize, or that you might get caught speaking your affirmations. I’ll show you how to get over every single hurdle or excuse you come across. I’m going to be your coach through this process. In fact, email me with any questions you might have at: paula@simplybeinghappy.com.

And lastly, have as much fun as you can learning from and practicing everything in this book, but take the study of your happiness seriously. Treat it as if it were your second career. What could be more important? Can you think of anything at all? And just like being physically fit doesn’t happen by chance, neither does being mentally strong and strengthening your imagination. It’s those daily habits that keep your body fit and healthy. Treat your mind the same way—make it strong, healthy, and happy!

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’”

— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There


Are You Happy?

We’re here to pump [clap] you up.”

— Hans (Dana Carvey) and Franz (Kevin Nealon), Saturday Night Live

Are you happy? What’s your answer to that question? Maybe you’re like most people and your answer is, “I would be happy or a lot happier than I am right now if:

• I got that raise.

• My company treated me better.

• My relationship with my spouse was like it used to be.

• My kids respected me more.

• My pile of bills was smaller.

• Etc.”

Or you might answer the question by saying, “I’ll be happy when:

• My mortgage is paid off.

• I lose thirty pounds.

• I retire.

• Etc.”

Are you always hoping for something to change in your current circumstances or biding your time until “someday” comes? Is being truly happy something elusive to you? Is it something that’s out there for you to somehow stumble upon or get lucky and find? You know, as in, “the pursuit of happiness.”

Let me tell you something here and now: You are looking in the wrong direction! Happiness is not out there; it’s not close by or far off in the distance. It’s not going to come tomorrow, or next week, or next year. It’s inside you! It’s inside every one of us. And in this book, you are going to learn the secrets to becoming a truly happy person. Notice I didn’t say you are going to learn how to attain happiness. You don’t have to attain, acquire, get, or earn something you already have. You simply have to become aware that it resides in you and be given the tools you need to bring it to the forefront. No matter whether you are barely happy, sort of happy, pretty much happy, or anything in between, this book will increase your happiness rating exponentially—I guarantee it!

And here’s the shocking news—at the root of all happiness is your imagination. If you are not right now, at this very moment, truly happy with what you currently have and excited about your goals for the future, then you have not been using to the fullest of your ability one of the most important gifts you’ve been given—your imagination. Consider it like a muscle that’s weak from years of underuse.

At this point, you might be saying, “How can she make such a bold statement? Surely, something like having faith in God is way more important than one’s imagination.” But think about it for a minute. Who or what is God? We can’t see him or her or it. We can’t hear, touch, or feel God with our physical senses. So what do we rely on to have faith in God and believe? Where does faith come from? Our imagination! I’m telling you—it’s powerful stuff!

This world is but a canvas to our imagination.”

— Henry David Thoreau

Let me bring you back down to earth for a minute and tell you about myself. My statements might be bold, but I’m just a woman who has been researching the subject of happiness for several years now. I’ve always been fascinated with people and why some are happier than others, but it was only after I began researching the study of success, in order to learn all I could about running a small business, that I began to uncover such incredible findings. I just kept delving deeper and deeper into the actual science of happiness. And like many people who study happiness, it led me to the field of quantum physics. I actually began studying Einstein and his theories—this coming from a girl who wrote cheat notes all the way up both arms before science exams.

At the same time, like many people, I’ve always carried around my own hang-ups and fears that I had developed as a kid and that got in the way of my success—both personal and business. So learning all I can about happiness is extremely personal to me.

I’ve been married to my husband Jim for twenty-three years and we have three children: Jimmy, twenty-one; Tara, nineteen; and Christine, sixteen. We have a wonderful…. (Strike that—my son put a bunch of my hand wash sweaters in the dryer earlier today and shrunk them all, then just lectured me on leaving clothes in the washing machine.) We have a real family life. But can I brag about being really happy? Definitely!

To give you a little background on me, I’m number five out of six kids. Three boys and three girls—just like on The Brady Bunch, which ironically was my absolutely favorite show as a little kid. Hearing the expression, “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!” cried by the middle Brady girl Jan still cracks me up. We were the complete antithesis of the Bradys. So just picture The Brady Bunch and anything you remember or have heard about from the show, reverse it, and you’ll have an image of the Kurczys of Woonsocket, Rhode Island. But seriously, my family was not perfect, and what real life family ever is? I’ve grown to appreciate so much of what we had in our family growing up. Especially in this generation, when large families of six kids and more are pretty rare. Like all the fast food specials these days, everything was kind of supersized in our big family.

High school was pretty typical (boys). I mean, the usual topics of interest (boys). Subjects that I focused on (boys) were, let me remember—oh yeah, fun, and, you guessed it, boys. My friend Linda and I actually took a sports theory class as an elective just so we could spend forty-five minutes a day with the good-looking jocks.

I did love learning, though, and after graduating from high school, I attended local colleges for years, taking business and interior merchandising courses while working full-time. What comes to mind the most from back then, aside from partying and carrying on, was the long list of jobs I held—tons of cool jobs I usually had a blast in. I loved working, loved getting my paychecks, loved spending them.

After Jim and I married, I knew I was going to stay at home with the kids when they were very young, and we were fortunate that Jim, now Superintendent of Public Works in our town, had such an incredible work ethic and stable position. Even in tough economic times, when other people would be experiencing layoffs and downsizing, we never directly felt the effects—thanks to Jim. He built our house from the ground up and the house next door that we rent. In his over thirty years in our town’s Public Works department, he has built miles and miles of roads and sidewalks, not to mention being in charge of the town’s water systems and wells. He paid off our mortgage years ago and built the second house using cash, so our family has been virtually debt-free for years.

The day Tara graduated from kindergarten, I remember clearly being in the living room with the kids when she said, “I want to start a business this summer.” That statement had a familiar ring to me. If there was something my siblings and I wanted even as little kids, we had to find a way to make the money ourselves to buy it. Lemonade stands, little yard sales, washing cars, and plenty of other enterprising projects were commonplace in my neighborhood.

So with little sister Christine in tow, brother Jimmy and I pitched in to help Tara get her business going that afternoon. We came up with a garden-weeding company. Jimmy thought of the name—Wacky Weeders. A little wordplay on a weed wacker. Pretty clever, I thought, for a second grader. We created a logo with an adorable little garden fairy drawing we found on an old calendar that we cut and pasted. And a newspaper coupon with 10 percent off the first weeding service went into the local newspaper the following week. We also made photocopies of the coupon that we snuck into mailboxes around the area. We got our first call right away, and business poured in all summer. What a blast!

In the meantime, we decided we were going to use the profits to purchase our first puppy. So on rainy days, we would be at the library or pet shelters, exploring dog breeds. And at the end of the summer and of our weeding season, we got our new puppy Spy. He was so cute and tiny at six weeks old that the grass on the lawn came up to his chin.

So that was the start of our entrepreneurial pursuits. The following year, I took it up a few notches and we started a business called Seasodies that I ran with Jim’s help and the help of the kids when they were young. Seasodies are decorative, hand-painted fish made from recycled soda bottles that we sold to coastal gift shops mostly in New England in the beginning, and then we grew the business until we sold to shops up and down the East Coast. The business was a part-time one for five years and then full-time for another five years before I sold it in 2015. Our fish now reside in St. Augustine, Florida, where owners Linda and Victoria are taking good care of them. I loved every minute of running the business and am proud of what I accomplished and learned along the way. The most special memories were just working with my family on things like making huge batches of fish, creating new designs, working on ideas for new machines, and the times when we would pack up and head to cool festivals to sell them. Running that business was really tough at times, and I definitely made tons of mistakes. I held onto it too long and ran myself quite ragged before finally letting it go. I’m so grateful to my family for putting up with me all those years.

All the while I was running and growing the business, I kept reading and researching happiness. And then I started really applying what I was learning in my own life—practicing age-old techniques on a daily basis and also developing my own. The results and the changes for the better that I was starting to see in my own life were surprising me, to say the least. I knew I was on to something huge. It was only after I came up for air after selling the business that I was able to see the piles of books, notebooks filled with information, studies, personal observations, and experiences I had amassed over the years. Having that extra time on my hands, I was able to focus and really accelerate my learning.

Getting back to the statement I made earlier that your imagination is at the root of your happiness—if you’re like most people, you’re under the impression that an imagination is pretty much child’s play. That is an absolute misconception that’s been handed down through the generations, and through no fault of any one group of people. It’s just that the real truths about how the world operates have been sort of lost in translation. Think of Mel Brooks’ History of the World: Part I from 1981, if you’re old enough to remember. Moses, played by Brooks, is coming down from Mount Sinai carrying three stone tablets from God. He proclaims, “The Lord has given unto you fifteen ... [Here, the tablet drops and breaks into pieces] ten, Ten Commandments for all to obey!”

But even on just a basic, practical level at school, in order for teachers to get through their lessons, young kids are told to, “Sit still and pay attention,” “Stop daydreaming,” and the familiar, “Color inside the lines.” I don’t believe this sort of philosophy was questioned on a large scale until the past several years with the emergence of charter schools, where the entire curriculum is based not on stifling, but bringing out and nurturing a child’s own unique creativity.

The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.”

— Albert Einstein

On graduation day, there’s this unspoken rule that now it’s time to grow up and get real. Instead, the principal should hand out each diploma and say, “Here, kid; good job; now go out and learn to use your imagination to the fullest.” In this book, I’m going to explain why that encouragement should be given.

You’re not only going to learn why your imagination is so important to your happiness, but you’re going to learn easy, step-by-step lessons on how to use your innate abilities to create the life of your dreams. By the way, don’t misunderstand this book’s intention. It’s not written to try to teach you to be happy with your meager lot in life—to accept somehow and be gleefully happy with so little, if that’s your case. Not in the least. This book is going to debunk that incredible misconception handed down through the generations as well—that the world is lacking and we have to ration everything we have—including our happiness. You will learn that the world is plentiful—that our lives are expansive, and that we are meant to grow and be, do, and have everything we desire in life. It gets me revved just thinking about it.

So get ready to start exercising and strengthening your mind on a daily basis. Consider this book your training manual for your personal happiness. And think of me as being like Hans and Franz’s cousin, but instead of teaching you to pump up your biceps, triceps, and abs, I’ll be your happiness coach, teaching you to work your imagination muscle and create a beautiful, amazing life!

Hear me now and believe me later.”

— Hans and Franz

Are you ready to get started? Are you ready to be excited again about every single day? Are you ready to take your life to new incredible heights of happiness? So am I! Let’s dive in.

Paula Sullivan


I’m not a doctor. I just play one on TV.”

— Peter Bergman, 1980s TV commercial

I want to clarify something for you right from the get-go. I don’t hold a medical or psychology degree. I’m not a licensed therapist, or a certified clinician or any other position in the medical field. But there’s something to be said for real-life, on-the-job training. And that’s what I can bring to you that many others who hold official degrees might not be able to.

Sonja Lyubomirsky, the author of The How of Happiness, is a professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. Early on in her book, she explains that she and her colleagues prefer to keep their distance from all of the happiness gurus out there who proffer their advice based on limited experience and assumptions. She and her colleagues also insist that the national discussion on happiness “abide by strict scientific standards.” Remember when Doug Heffernan from the King of Queens couldn’t think of a good comeback, but would put his hand over his mouth and make a slightly disgusting sound to show his contempt? Fill that in here.

Do we really need to abide by strict scientific standards? In fact, where would we all be if all the great inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs before us had stuck with strict standards? And maybe there are plenty of people out there who are claiming more than they can deliver. But is being a happiness guru such a bad gig? Is helping others get happy without drugs and without extreme or radical practices really wrong? I’m not claiming to be a doctor. I wouldn’t try and help someone with serious mental health issues. But for someone who is stressed, worried, broke, and issues like that—bring ’em on! I know that if a person learns these exercises, continues practicing them, and creates new daily and weekly habits around them, her level of happiness will increase dramatically.

This reminds me of my husband, Jim, in his job. He is the Superintendent of Public Works in our town and has been in the department for almost forty years. He knows every mile of road in the town. He knows where every water pipe runs under the streets, where the water shut-offs are, where the sewers run—you get the picture. He knows because he’s in the ditches every day, literally and figuratively. Yet in his job, he communicates often with state officials and engineers. The town might be required to conduct an in-depth study of a well’s output that costs $100,000 and entails months of engineering work. He’ll come home and tell me the “suits” are in town, usually referring to engineers who, most times, have never seen the inside of an actual ditch in the road. And at the end of the study, Jim will tell the selectmen, “Yeah, I could have told you that the day you asked.”

With all due respect to Lyubomirsky and her colleagues, I’m definitely not claiming to be on their professional level. But I’ve been in the trenches and I know this subject. I also know I have a lot to teach you. The thing that gets me excited when I read books like Lyubomirsky’s is that all of their research and study findings always point to the principles that Simply Being Happy is based on—that our thoughts are powerful, and that the images we hold in our minds create our reality. And, most of all, the doctors might never mention the Law of Attraction in their books, but their findings, in my opinion, confirm its existence.

Nothing is without. Everything is within.”

— Neville Goddard


Please Stand By

Oh, they have the Internet on computers now.”

— Homer Simpson

Imagine you just left Best Buy with a shiny new laptop. The associate installed the usual programs on it before you left the store, and now you’re heading home to take on the world with this fresh, clean, unfettered technological wonder.

Different scene: Imagine the laptop you’ve had for four years just crashed. The motherboard went down and it’s going to cost you beaucoup bucks to fix it. So you head downstairs to your basement and dig out an old laptop that’s been gathering dust for years. It must still be in some type of working condition, right? There it is lying with other old computers on a huge bin of about a thousand different computer wires and old parts. After a while, you’re finally able to identify the matching cord and untangle it from the heap. You give it a good swipe with your hand to get the top layer of dust off and head upstairs to make it “new” again. First, the musty smell is pretty strong and the dust is pretty caked on, so a bottle of rubbing alcohol and a can of compressed air are your first orders of business.

Then it’s time to pry it open, fingers crossed, and hit the start button. It lights up—yay! And that old familiar home screen eventually appears. You remember now why it made its way downstairs, but you’re proud of reviving your old, loyal friend. You’re now ready to start anew (sort of) with this cluttered and quite sluggish, from what you remember, technological wonder.

Are you getting the metaphors? Actually, our brains are thirty times more powerful than today’s most advanced supercomputers, according to a 2015 study by Katja Grace from the University of California, Berkeley and Paul Christiano from Carnegie Mellon University. The research was carried out as part of a project, which, among other things, compared robotic intelligence with human intelligence.

But you get the point. The Best Buy example is actually a completely unrealistic depiction of an adult’s mind. Other than with the use of some futuristic memory-wiping machine like the ones that appear in plenty of science fiction films, our minds are being filled with programming from the day we are born—actually sooner. And by programming, I mean images, since that’s how memories, thoughts, beliefs, and habits get stored in our minds. The premise of this entire book is basically centered on this computer analogy. And unless you are one of the few people whose programming has been positive all through childhood and adulthood, you could use this book.

Most of us have plenty of both positive and negative programming stored in our subconscious minds: all of our memories; all of our interpretations and feelings of those memories; everything we were part of and are still part of; everything we have seen, heard, felt, etc.—it all makes up our programming. The problem is that many people’s negative programming gets in the way of their success and their happiness, so they spend their time searching on the outside for solutions, when in reality, the solutions are on the inside.

Exercise: Please Stand By

(Fun questions like the ones below are meant to get you thinking. They are great jumping-off points for gaining awareness. Have a good time with them.)

Think of your mind as a computer for a few minutes. What programs installed on it are positive?


What programs installed on it are negative?


How is its operating system running these days?


What new programs would you like to install that would excite you?



What Are You Waiting For?

Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.”

— Earl Nightingale

Remember Foreigner’s 1980s song, “Waiting for a Girl Like You?” Well, take out the word “girl” and replace it with:

Lottery ticket like you....

Rich uncle like you....

Huge, mysterious payoff like you....

Many people have this assumption that wealthy, successful people somehow were the benefactors of some huge payoff at one point and that’s how they got what they have. It was one big inheritance, one lucky break, one Shark Tank deal that changed everything. Except for very rare instances, that’s not the case. In fact, even celebrities often say they were a ten—or twenty—year overnight success. But people wait and wait and wait. Most people don’t see that it’s the regular routines of hard work and self-discipline that add up over time that allow people to have the lives of their dreams. You know, the old tortoise and the hare fable—slow and steady wins the race. It’s the consistent, daily habits done over and over again through the years that will win out every time. Darren Hardy, in The Compound Effect, explains this concept.

Real and lasting success requires work—and lots of it!”

— Darren Hardy

Simply Being Happy isn’t a book about a get-rich-quick scheme. It isn’t about bypassing the real world work involved in making your dreams come true. Just like there’s no magic diet pill that can replace eating healthy and exercising, there’s no magic wand for happiness. If you’ve been avoiding work like the plague for years, hoping now that you can just visualize your way to fast millions, it’s not going to happen.

I always remember a story a young comedian told years ago about a conversation he’d had with Jerry Seinfeld. When he asked Jerry how he got so successful in the standup-comedian business, Jerry told him to write every day and never to miss a day. As simple as that sounds, I remember being really inspired by that advice. Here is a guy who is incredibly successful, and who always has a genuine smile on his face, by the way, and he didn’t tell the kid to tell the funniest jokes; he didn’t tell him to know the right people; he didn’t tell him to break into Hollywood. He said to work consistently every single day on writing—and for us non-comedians, that means to work on our craft every day. So simple, but I guess when it was raining out and he felt unmotivated, Jerry still wrote; when his friends called to go to dinner or to go get some soup, he still wrote; when the Mets were playing in town, he still wrote.

Discipline is the master key. It unlocks the door to wealth and happiness, culture and sophistication, high self-esteem and high accomplishment, and accompanying feelings of pride, satisfaction, and success.”

— Jim Rohn

Exercise: What Are You Waiting For?

Get quiet for a little while and ask yourself these questions:

• Have I been secretly waiting for some mysterious payoff to rescue me from having to do real work?

• How much effort have I been putting into my craft lately?

• How can I improve my daily work habits?



What’s in Your Bag?

Da plane! Da plane!”

— Tattoo, Fantasy Island

Imagine for a minute that you are carrying around an invisible sack on your shoulders. It’s sort of like a small version of Santa’s bag, but instead of toys, it’s filled with your excuses, ready to be whipped out anytime you need one.

When might you need a good excuse? When someone asks a question like, “Did you go for that job you were talking about?” “How’s that new class you were going to sign up for?” “Have you started that new program yet?”

It’s funny how easily we can see excuses being used by other people. Just ask your spouse any question, any day of the week. Seriously, though, seeing the excuses we use ourselves is almost impossible. And it’s amazing how creative we can get and how fast we can turn them out. We might not remember what we had for dinner last night when questioned, but let someone ask us why we stopped that new exercise program and, suddenly, we turn into a champion Jeopardy player. Even before the person finishes the question, we’ve already spewed out, “What is: the teacher is a jerk; it’s too far to drive; I always have to work late; and my spouse doesn’t like me being gone every night, Alex.”

I’ve always loved Brian Tracy’s explanation of what he calls the disease of excusitis. He guesses that probably 80 percent of the population have this disease and live on Someday Isle most of the time. In his book No Excuses!, he writes, “We say: Someday I’ll upgrade my skills. Someday I’ll get my finances under control. Someday I’ll do all those things I need to do to achieve all my goals.” And what is the chief topic of conversation on Someday Isle, according to Tracy? Excuses. He writes that they all sit around and swap excuses for being on the island. “I didn’t have a happy childhood.” “I didn’t get a good education.” “No one appreciates me.”

The first rule of success is simple: Vote yourself off the island. Losers make excuses. Winners make progress.”

— Brian Tracy

Exercise: What’s in Your Bag of Excuses?

What are the old reliable ones you pull out often?


Have you gotten creative lately with new ones?


Take a few minutes to relax and visualize this bag of excuses on your shoulder. Feel how it’s been weighing you down all these years. Imagine lifting it off of your shoulders and letting it just dissolve away in your hands. Now feel how much lighter, how much freer you feel.

Make a vow to yourself now never to use those excuses again. When they pop up automatically in conversations, change the subject. And they will pop up, because they are programmed into your subconscious. Just continue to reprogram your mind by creating this new habit of “no excuses” and they will eventually clear out for good.


In the Hood

Too often in life, something happens and we blame other people for us not being happy or satisfied or fulfilled. So the point is, we all have choices, and we make the choice to accept people or situations or to not accept situations.”

— Tom Brady

Meet excuse’s cousin—blame. Instead of living in a sack on your back, blame is a little different. Take your hand and point it at the center of your chest—that’s where blame resides. Inside you, right in your core. Unlike excuses, blame doesn’t make an appearance here and there when you conveniently need to pull it out. Blame pretty much just stays there silently in the way, silently blocking your happiness. It doesn’t show itself in conversations. It appears in such destructive emotions as anger and fear.

It seems innocent enough at times. “Oh, the miserable weather.” “It’s the economy.” “Those politicians.” “My mother.” “Your mother.” But there’s no place for blame in a really happy, beautiful life. Eradicate it. Make a vow to clear it from your life!

Brian Tracy talks about the huge percentage of people living on Someday Isle. I also believe there are the same numbers of people who live in the hood—victimhood. They bask in their poor me conversations, sometimes all day long. It’s time to move out. Pack up and leave the old neighborhood. Your life will be so much better off for it.

How do you move from victimhood to a really happy place? How do you change from being a person who is continuously in blame mode to a person who is free from being a victim of past and present circumstances? Just the fact that you’re reading this book shows that you are ready and willing to do what it takes to create the life of your dreams. Just keep plugging away every day.

Exercise: In the Hood

List five things (big or small) below that you are angry about these days.

Next to each one, write the person or people who are to blame.


Rewrite that list, and now next to each one, write exactly what you can do to change it.



Just Breathe

Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor.”

— Thich Nhat Hanh

Let’s get into basic relaxing breathing right now. This is a sort of refresher course, since most of us are familiar with breathing techniques from sports, yoga, meditation, and things like that. A little FYI—I interchange the terms “relaxing breaths” and “cleansing breaths” throughout the book. They are the same for our purposes.

Here is the most basic technique I use when I need to pause from whatever I am doing for a few seconds or a few minutes and clear my mind and relax. Also, I use this breathing technique to get into a relaxed state before every meditation and visualization.

There are slightly different versions of this basic technique. You might come across variations that really resonate with you.

1. Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose, bringing the air all the way in as if it’s filling up your belly.

2. Breathe out slowly through pursed lips as if you are letting the air out of a balloon. Make sure to get all the air out. Another good way of exhaling is dropping open your mouth and breathing out from your throat.

3. Pause for a few seconds.

That’s it. Then just repeat for as many times as you’d like.

Think of cleansing breaths as being for your mind and spirit what water is to your body—cleansing and refreshing. Use this technique throughout your day.

You can take breathing exercises up a notch by visualizing during your in-breath that you are inhaling fresh, cleansing air. Feel it refreshing your mind and body. And on your out-breath, picture what’s coming out as tension, or anything else you want to let go of at the moment. It could be frustration, anger, worry, etc.

You can take it up a notch further by visualizing during your in-breath that you are inhaling love, awareness, confidence, forgiveness, or anything else you might be wanting. The same goes for your out-breath. You can visualize that specific feelings, habits, beliefs, etc. are clearing out.

Exercise: Just Breathe

Practice cleansing breaths and write down any thoughts or insights that come up. How did you do? How did you feel afterwards?




Meditation is like multivitamins for your brain. Good to take every day.”

— Giovanni Dienstmann

The benefits of meditating regularly are so profound. I could fill ten pages trying to explain them all. Let’s just say that meditation increases happiness in incredible ways. By definition, it is simply the practice of being still and quieting your mind. It’s amazing how it clears and refreshes both your mind and body!

You don’t even have to be good at meditation to reap its rewards. The trick is to make it a daily routine. Even ten minutes a day will make a huge difference in your life. I believe what’s important is for you always to consider yourself a student of meditation. Know that you will get better with practice. And learn more about it when you can. That’s so easy to do these days with the Internet at our disposal. You might even want to find classes in your area at yoga studios and such. Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it’s called, is all the rage right now. It’s basically a meditation where a person repeats a secret mantra to herself the entire time in order to reach a level of pure awareness. The difference between this and traditional meditation is that in traditional meditation, you learn to concentrate on an object or a sound, and in TM, you actually learn to let go of any thinking and concentrating. It’s best that a person is taught TM one-on-one with a certified instructor, who will give the person his or her secret mantra. And TM is practiced twice a day for fifteen to twenty minutes each.

I personally can’t think of meditation without thinking of Deepak Chopra. What an amazing, beautiful teacher he is. I am in awe of his profound lessons on spirituality, on our connection with the universe, and on the things he knows from our ancestors. Another person who has been a huge advocate for meditation in recent years, especially TM, is the genuine and likable Russell Simmons.

Let me explain something at this point. I happen to love all the guided meditations available online, which to me are like cheat sheets. You just settle in, relax, and let someone guide you through. You can pick and choose a meditation that feels right at the time. Plenty of them are specific to different issues and goals. To me, though, many of these guided meditations are actually guided visualizations. For that reason, I believe you need to practice basic meditation daily and also separately practice visualization daily, because there is a real stillness and quietness in basic meditation, whereas you are usually using your imagination to create images in guided meditations. My favorite guided meditation experts are: Michael Sealey, Trigram Healing, Vortex Success, and The Honest Guys.

As far as books on meditation go, my favorite is Ten Minutes to Deep Meditation by Michael Cavallaro. Don’t let the name make you think it’s a quick read. There’s so much in the book that it’s like an encyclopedia of meditation.

Here’s a basic meditation if you’re a beginner:

• Get comfortable either sitting or lying down with your palms face-up. (To be honest with you, palms facing up is the correct placement of your hands, but, as you’ll see as you keep reading, I’m not a purist. I can meditate casually on a train with my eyes closed and my arms crossed, or in a doctor’s office, with a magazine in my hands, looking like I’m taking a ten-minute cat nap—anywhere, really, where I’m still for a little while.)

• Close your eyes and really start to relax your body—your head, your neck, your shoulders, your arms and hands, your back, your abdomen, your legs, your feet. Think, warm, soft noodles.

• Start cleansing breaths, like I explained in the last chapter.

• As you continue with these breaths, begin to concentrate on your breathing by feeling the cool air pass through your nose; then notice how it becomes warmer as it moves down your throat and fills your lungs. Then feel it as it flows out of your body through your mouth.

• Keep repeating. And when your mind wanders, bring your thoughts back to your breath.

• On the out-breath, you can also chant a mantra like “om” or “relax” or something that feels right.

That’s it—extremely simple.

This is a very basic version of meditation. Many other versions are out there for you to try out and get creative with. Some have you tighten and then relax every part of your body from your feet up; others have you tell each part of your body to relax; others have you concentrate on an object in the room; and there are plenty of other variations as well.

Here is what some familiar people say about meditation:

The deeper you go, the quieter it gets. The more radiant it gets…quiet, deep, empty, serene, complete, boundless.”

— Richard Gere

It feels good. Kinda like when you have to shut your computer down, just sometimes when it goes crazy, you just shut it down and when you turn it on, it’s okay again. That’s what meditation is for me.”

— Ellen DeGeneres

The one thing I want to do is center myself every day and make that a practice for myself. Because I’m 1,000 percent better when I do that.”

— Oprah Winfrey

Exercise: Om

If you’ve never tried meditation, try it now for ten minutes and write down your thoughts on how it went.



Puffy Clouds

The true secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life.”

— William Morris

Have you ever wondered what mindfulness is since we hear about it often these days? Do you guess it’s a form of meditation? Or a separate practice in itself? The answer is it’s both—it’s one type of meditation and it’s also a “state of being” that we can practice and strive for throughout our days. It’s essentially learning to be in the moment. Anytime you are intentionally paying attention to what you are doing and to the world around you, you are practicing mindfulness. You can consider it the complete opposite of multi-tasking. It’s being aware even when you’re doing simple tasks.

I think mindfulness is an incredible practice because we have over 50,000 thoughts a day. Think of how often our thoughts can seem to overtake our day. Picture yourself driving to work in the morning, for instance. Do you notice the sun rising, the sky, the trees, the gorgeous cars on the road, the smell of your coffee, your crisp outfit, etc.? Or are you thinking of what you didn’t get done yesterday, what needs to get done today, your mortgage payment being due, etc.?

You can train yourself to “be” in the beauty of the world around you better. You can learn to bask in the special moments of your day that you might otherwise be missing by being stuck inside your head.

Michael Sealey has an excellent guided mindfulness meditation on his website that teaches a person to let go of worrisome thoughts and tackle the habit of rumination. If you want to make real, lasting change, don’t just listen to it a few times, though. Listen to it fifty or one hundred times for real results.

Exercise: Puffy Clouds

Here’s a great mindfulness exercise. Relax, take a few cleansing breaths, and close your eyes. Begin meditating by focusing on your body as you slowly breathe in and out. Pay attention to the breath as it travels through your nose, down your throat, into your lungs, etc. In the meantime, when a thought pops in, imagine it’s floating by like a puffy, white cloud in the sky, and refocus on your breathing. Continue doing this for several minutes with every thought that comes into your consciousness. And that’s it.

Make this a daily meditation if you’d like. Then use this same cloud technique with your thoughts throughout the day. Learn to let your thoughts drift by anytime you’d like to be in the moment.

Try this now. How did it go? Write down your thoughts below.




Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”

— Omar Khayyam

I met a guy the other day and asked him the usual, “How ya doin’?” He got this big smile across his face, and I thought I heard him say, “Obscenely,” so I said, “Come again?” He answered, “I’m doing serenely. I mean, I’m calm and serene, and I’m loving life!” He told me how he was on his way to yoga class and began to explain that since he had started meditation and yoga about ten years earlier, he had become an incredibly happy person. I couldn’t get enough of his story in the few minutes we had. What a breath of fresh air he was. What an inspiration.

It was also great to hear how different his life used to be. He shared how drinking, financial difficulties, job issues, divorce, not seeing his kids, etc. were his way of life before. Now you could tell those issues were faint, distant memories to him. And he has custody of his kids to boot.

He couldn’t tell me enough about his regular practice of yoga. In a few weeks, he was heading to the New England Yogathon, where over a thousand yogis gather every year.

Since it combines breathing, meditation, and physical exercise all in one, yoga is an incredible practice. And it’s amazing how it works your muscles. It’s been around for five-thousand years, so it’s not exactly the latest exercise craze. Just like meditation, you are getting all kinds of benefits, even at beginner levels.

Exercise: Namaste

If you’ve never tried yoga, try a ten-minute beginner video online.

Write down your thoughts on how it went.




Let’s go places.”

— Toyota slogan

I want to mention a subject right now that not many people want to talk about. The negative stigma around psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and counselors. Heaven forbid anyone gets caught going to an appointment. But many extremely happy, successful people use these professionals regularly. How do you think many of them got that way? Think of how powerful our brains are? We have more than 100,000 chemical reactions taking place in them every second. And as I mentioned, we have around 50,000 thoughts a day. And here’s a figure that will grab you: Studies estimate that in most people, 70 percent of those thoughts are negative. Can you see why getting help from the experts is a good thing?

This reminds me of my daughter Tara’s first car. It was a bit of a clunker. She kept a crowbar in the backseat, and when she and her best friend Amanda were cruising down the road and it would stall out at a light, she would take the crowbar, open the hood, and give the engine a few good smacks in just the right spot. They still have some good laughs about it. But that’s pretty much what many of us do when something is wrong in our personal life that’s beyond our expertise. We kind of just bang around enough to keep going—instead of getting under the hood, where the real causes of our problems lie.

Certain methods of therapy get to a person’s programming, like hypnosis, EFT (emotional freedom technique), and EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) to name a few. Many of these techniques have been practiced and researched for years and are based on real science. In my opinion, before you get into something like this, you should really research everything you can find on the technique; make sure it’s being practiced by a real doctor, research the doctor, and make sure you’re comfortable with him or her.

It’s funny, though, how something like hypnosis has gotten such a weird label through the years. Hypnosis is basically going into a deep meditative state, while having suggestions given to your subconscious mind for the purpose of healing and reprogramming. When it’s administered by someone who is trustworthy and knowledgeable, it can be incredibly beneficial. Yet whenever I think of hypnosis, it reminds me of a night several years ago when my friends and I went to watch the well-known R-rated hypnotist, Frank Santos. He had people up on stage thinking they were Tarzan and Jane and some other characters. My friend actually thought she was a gorilla—an extremely hot gorilla, who needed to start stripping off her clothes. It was hilarious! And now that I think of it, wasn’t someone always getting hypnotized on the TV show Gilligan’s Island?

But what’s nice about these methods is that they “get under the hood” and reach deep down to where the real issues reside. They can work to clear things like energy blocks or traumatic memories that we can’t get past. I love Denise Duffield-Thomas’ quote on the subject. She says, “Throw everything at it!” in your quest for a beautiful, wealthy life.


Ball and Chain

Infinite riches are all around you if you will open your mental eyes and behold the treasure house of infinity within you. There is a gold mine within you from which you can extract everything you need to live life gloriously, joyously, and abundantly.”

— Joseph Murphy

Do you want to get really happy—now? And accomplish your goals in the future? Then start visualizing! Start using this innate ability we were all given. Start making visualization a daily practice and you will begin to see your life change in beautiful ways. Like that computer in the earlier chapter, our subconscious minds are our operating systems. They are also connected to everything in the outside world (more about this later in the book). When you begin visualizing, you are learning to run your operating system as it was meant to be used—to create with intention the life you desire.

You might be saying at this point, “Why do I have to sit and close my eyes and dream up pictures every day in my head?” You might add that you don’t think incredibly happy and successful people are sitting around daydreaming and chanting. First, I beg to differ. They might not be wrapped in the lotus position in a field speaking in tongues for hours every day, but you can bet they understand the importance of taking care of their minds and consciously choosing their thoughts, words, and actions. And for the most part, the pictures they have stored, the ones they choose to dwell on, are positive and powerful—and big and bright.

You might also be saying, “Well, you don’t know what I’ve been through. Other people haven’t had to go through the ‘stuff’ I’ve been dealing with.” You definitely have a point. I understand that some people have had easier childhoods, easier adulthoods, and have been given more of the things you didn’t get. But think of all the examples we know of people who’ve had tough childhoods, have dealt with adversity as adults, and who are incredibly happy and successful. Like Oprah, for example. I could fill pages with the list of names of people like her. Let them inspire you. In fact, many experts agree that experiencing adversity is actually a good thing in many ways. People usually learn traits like inner strength and determination from what they’ve had to go through.

And today is a new day. Start now. Understand your past, forgive your past, clear your past—but get out of it. Live in the today. You know the old ball-and-chain pun about marriage? Take the ball and chain of your past off of your ankle and get rid of it. Move on and move up.

Exercise: Ball and Chain

Speaking of a ball and chain, try this fun visualization:

Relax for a minute and take a few cleansing breaths.

Close your eyes and imagine you have been walking around with a ball and chain around your ankle. It’s invisible, but you can still feel the heavy iron on you constantly. The iron was actually cast from all the wrongs that were done to you in your past. It was made from all the negativity you’ve had to endure.

Now imagine yourself taking that ball and chain off your leg, chucking it out the window, and watching it dissolve in midair.

Visualize how your ankle feels now that it’s free of that shackle. Picture yourself walking around now. How does it feel? Much lighter on your leg, I’m sure. Imagine that your mind is lighter and clearer as well, free from the negativity we tend to dwell on so much.

(Don’t get me wrong. I’m not claiming that your thoughts and feelings were instantly transferred into that imaginary ball and chain and are now gone out the window. But didn’t it feel good? It’s simply symbolic, which is how our subconscious minds work anyway. And visualizations like this actually do clear out the negativity holding us back. You’ll learn more about how in the chapters to come.)


Starting at the Very Beginning

Purchase this book or download sample versions for your ebook reader.
(Pages 1-34 show above.)