Ever a figure of interest and respect in the history of U.S. presidents, Abraham Lincoln seems to have been a keen observer of human behavior and a pragmatic viewer of the skills of others as he went about the business of keeping a nation together, before, during and after – however briefly – a wrenching civil war.
Lincoln also had a fine grasp of that most uncommon of senses – common sense. He once said, “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” One hundred and fifty-odd years later, cognitive researchers have scientifically proven that Lincoln was correct.
Now the word “cognitive” simply means having to do with thought or perception, and cognitive psychologists operate on the principle that it is your thoughts, not external events, that create your moods and the way you view your days, your work, your relationships – your life.
In other words, it’s not so much what happens to you, but rather how you respond to what happens to you that determines how you feel. And that’s a “mindset,” something we have the opportunity to create for ourselves.
You see, the good news is that you can learn to respond in ways that create success and happiness instead of failure and depression. You can learn to spot your negative thoughts and stop them in their tracks, and you can learn to substitute more useful thoughts in their place.
You see, you have already learned how to create your current moods and attitudes, so you can unlearn them as well. Millions of people around the world have done the same, and there is no special college degree required. The information is out there, but you must take accountability for seeking it out and using it – and for making the changes you need to make in order to grow.
As the saying goes, “There’s no time like the present.” Choose your mindset, and watch how your life changes, dependent on the mindset you choose.