“I’M so bad at math, Dad,” Angel complained with a frown on her face. “Ben is so good at it.”

Her Dad knew it was not her math skills that dampened her feelings but the way she saw herself in comparison with Ben, her younger brother. “If Ben is good at it, I should be good at it.”

“You’re both gifted Angel, but differently.” Her frown started to disappear.

“You play the guitar so well. And I’ve seen how you care for your friends.”

“Thanks Dad!” Angel smiles and hugs her dad.

The more “shoulds” you have in your happiness formula, the less happy you will be. Your formula might go like this: “People should _____ then I will be happy.”, “I should have _______ then I will be happy.”

He should come on time.

She should know how to cook!

I should have x amount in my ATM.

She should be more sensitive!

These are all reasonable expectations.

At work, standards of excellence are important, especially for customer service and product quality. “We should give our customers the best service.” “Our products should be above standards.”

At home or in any relationship “shoulds” are helpful. “We should be honest with one another.” “We should praise in public and correct in private.”

Standards or “shoulds” are great, but there are just days that people forget. Sometimes people have a bad day. Things don’t work out the way you want them to. Miscommunications take place.

Do you want to have a magnificent day? Keep your standards, just change your happiness formula. Do not let your happiness hinge on your standards being met. Let your happiness be a choice.

He’s late. Tell yourself: “He should be on time. But I choose to be happy!” Then tell him, “I’m happy you made it, but next time can you tell me in advance if you will be late?”

The sales are down. You can have a “blame session” with your sales team or happily find ways to improve your marketing strategy. A joyful meeting is guaranteed to bring in more solutions than a miserable one.

It’s your birthday. No one’s greeting you. Just the same, choose to be happy! Write a list of 12 blessings that you received in the past 12 months! Before you know it, when they start seeing that grateful smile on your face, they will remember your special day! But even if they still forget, choose to be happy!

“I should lose more weight”, you tell yourself in the mirror. Smile at yourself and say, “Yes, I will work at keeping myself healthy, but I choose to be happy while I’m working on it.”

Keep your standards but don’t let your happiness hinge on them. Here is a happiness formula you might like to try out: Happiness equals my gratefulness for being alive. It’s that simple. As long as you’re breathing, you can choose to be happy, whether circumstances are meeting your expectations or not!

Choose to be happy! Have a Magnificent Monday!