I was at a fundraiser last night for the Ottawa Humane Society. It was a great time, everyone all dressed up, eating fabulous food, drinking fabulous wine, spending piles of moola on auction items, all for the good of the puppies and kitties. I’m all about stuff like that.

At our table, we got into a conversation about the power of living your life in a positive way. It all started with a reference to “The Secret”. I have not seen this film, or read the book, nor do I really have any interest in it. I guess it’s a turn off for me because I don’t believe for one second their promise what they will tell me will instantly change my life and give me all that I ever wanted. I’m not really too crazy about their viral marketing techniques either.

Anyway, back to the conversation. Something that one of the people said really struck me. She said “Having a positive state of mind is only the first step. It still takes work.” And she is absolutely right. Think about something in your life that has been a great challenge. Maybe it is the death of a loved one, a relationship break-up, the loss of a job, the start of a new one. All very challenging, emotional experiences. All that can be helped by being positive. But it goes beyond just thinking about it.

Take a break-up, for example. You break up with your boyfriend, and you feel bad about it. You sit back and get yourself into a positive mind set about it. You think happy thoughts, happy thoughts, happy thoughts. It helps for a while, but eventually the bad stuff creeps back in. Why? Because you have done nothing about it. You haven’t changed anything. You still feel bad, because you’re just hiding behind your own pollyanna thoughts.

So you pack up the old beau’s toothbrush and shaving kit and throw it out. Then you get out of the house. You surround myself, not with people who will commiserate with you about what a jerk he was, but people who will help you to rediscover how fabulous you are. You have hopeful, positive conversations and make happy connections with other people. You do things you enjoy, like listening to music, reading. Things that put you in a happy state of mind and keep you there.

What we all ultimately want is happiness. But it takes work. Just thinking about it will not make it happen. But putting yourself in a positive state of mind, then venturing forth and taking action, will get you closer than you ever thought possible.