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  • Bob Burg

“Business volume to our new targeted market increased by 300% in just 3 MONTHS! ”

~ Dave Brandt, Divisional Vice President, GE Financial Advisors, Genworth

I’m Going To Write That Down

April 16th, 2012 by Bob Burg

Dunkin Donuts CoffeeAs I was leaving Dunkin’ Donuts yesterday after my usual Sunday morning two hours of coffee, donuts (just two) and reading, I held the door for a woman who was walking in, smiled at her and said hello.

“How do you do it?” she asked. “You’re always smiling. Always so happy. How can that be?”

Background: she often meets her daughter and adorable baby grandson here on Sunday mornings. She seems like a lovely person, though she often seems to be annoyed at everything around her. She has that general aura of unhappiness. I’m not judging her (who am I to judge anyone?); it’s just how I’ve always seen her from my unique viewpoint.

“Well” I explained. Please know that I’m not always happy. Life throws us all curveballs; some more serious than others, but we all have our ups and downs. Life is…life! There are three things I try and keep in mind though.

“First, if I’m unhappy about something currently happening, there’s no reason to bring others down. It doesn’t add to their world, and it doesn’t make mine any better.

“Second, there’s a lot to be grateful for. When I’m in a down mood I try and keep in mind that there are people in other parts of the world living on a dollar a day and walking miles and miles in quest of drinking water for themselves and their loved ones. And, there are people who have disabilities and are living in devastating pain every day. So, while my heart breaks for them,  I realize I’m very fortunate, and I’m filled with gratitude.

“Third, I simply act my way into feeling happy.”

“What was that?” she suddenly asked. And, I must admit, I thought she was asking in a way that implied it was about the silliest, stupidest thing she’d ever heard in her life.

“Well,” I explained, “most of us have been taught that we must first feel happy in order to be happy. However, it’s actually the opposite. We can actually act our way into the feeling we desire. Put a huge smile on your face and just try to be sad. It’s difficult, if not impossible to do so because the mind cannot simultaneously hold two opposing thoughts.”

She looked amazed. “So, act happy and you’ll be happy. You’re saying you can really act your way into happiness” said as though she needed affirmation that what she’d heard…I’d said.

“Yes. You can act your way into feeling happy.”

“Amazing” she replied. “I’m going to go in and write that down right now!”

Now, that made me happy…no acting necessary. :-)

70 Responses to “I’m Going To Write That Down”
  1. Patricia Rossi said at 8:20 am on

    Dear Bob,
    Loved this post!
    It is so true.
    Best,
    Patricia

  2. When I first heard this years ago I, too, thought it was crazy talk. Then I went ahead and tried it, and yep, it works! Thanks for the reminder, Bob!!

  3. Bob Burg said at 8:43 am on

    Patricia: Thank you! And such a polite note. You must teach manners! :-) {Patricia Rossi’s excellent book on this topic is at http://amzn.to/IqXuII}

  4. Melissa Maze said at 8:44 am on

    Thanks for this great post Bob!! Being happy or unhappy is a decision that we make. And I am busy being happy :)

  5. Bob Burg said at 8:45 am on

    Beth: Thank you. I first learned the concept of “acting your way into feeling” from the classic “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Dr. David Schwartz. Applied his advice and it worked. Made a huge difference in my life. Thank you for your comment!

  6. Bob Burg said at 8:45 am on

    Melissa: That’s awesome, my friend. Keep up the terrific work! :-)

  7. merlin said at 8:52 am on

    Fabulous! love that you spread this wonderful approach.
    Big hug from me to you and Happy Spring!

  8. Steve Borek said at 8:53 am on

    The brain likes to do things fast. Simply putting a smile on your face changes everything. It’s a great habit to practice before getting out of bed in the morning. Close your eyes, smile, and say I’m going to have a great day. You’re feeding the subconscious with great thoughts.

    I wrote a post last night that talks about regrets and happiness. http://endgamebusiness.com/blog/coulda-woulda-shoulda/

  9. Linda Ryan said at 9:00 am on

    What an awesome topic to start an awesome week! I first learned this by reading “Excuse Me, Your Life Is Waiting” by Lynn Grabhorn and I was forever changed. Not that I was unhappy prior, but I learned that when I’m not happy I can and should do something about it. And I have come to learn that it is SO much easier than I thought AND perhaps THE most important work I do every day. Great, GREAT post, Bob! CAN’t WAIT TO HUG YOU :-)))

  10. Lou Imbriano said at 9:06 am on

    Bob,

    You are constantly spreading good will and genuinely giving of yourself. You are the role model parents should be pointing to, not celebrities or athletes. Thank you for being you and for always reminding us to aim for happiness.

    My best,
    Lou

  11. Bob Burg said at 9:08 am on

    Merlin: Thank you. Hug returned!

  12. Bob Burg said at 9:11 am on

    Steve: Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us!

  13. Bob Burg said at 9:12 am on

    Linda: Yes, I enjoyed Lynn’s book very much. Had some really terrific ideas! And, looking forward to hugging you back!

  14. Phil Stanoch said at 9:12 am on

    Bob,

    Great post and perfect timing for me! I have heard and done this in the past, but it was too easily forgotten. Thank you for the reminder! I needed it!

    Phil

  15. Bob Burg said at 9:13 am on

    Lou: Wow, I think this is one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me. Means a LOT. Thank you, Brother Lou!

  16. John Gran said at 9:13 am on

    Thank you for that delightful story. It’s a great way to start a Monday!

  17. Bob Burg said at 9:16 am on

    Phil: Thank you, and my pleasure. Please let us know the results!

  18. Bob Burg said at 9:17 am on

    John: Thank you so much. Greatly appreciated!

  19. Brilliant, and all TRUE! When acting happy, you cannot be unhappy, even if you try. Your brain goes into a big LOL mode because actually, it is quite funny to try to act the opposite.

    Thanks for sharing this fun story, Bob.

  20. Bob Burg said at 9:34 am on

    Ali: I love that! Thank you for sharing with us!

  21. Carol said at 9:37 am on

    Yes it works!:)

  22. Bob Burg said at 9:45 am on

    Carol: :-)

  23. Kathy said at 10:21 am on

    Great story! Thanks for sharing. Can’t wait for a few weeks or months to read “the rest of the story”, with observations of how she has changed (maybe even including you receiving a ‘thank you’ from her daughter for the change in her Mom). :o)

  24. Bob Burg said at 10:28 am on

    Kathy: It will indeed be interesting to see if she follows through and applies the information.

  25. Bruno Coelho said at 10:36 am on

    Free coaching at Dunkin’ Donuts? :) Excellent wisdom filled advice as always.

    Acting happy is a great way to gain the clarity of thinking and focus that we need to address the real issue that was making us unhappy in the first place.
    We can do this by:
    1) realizing that it wasn’t that bad after all and it really isn’t worth being sad about;
    2) understanding how we can use the current context to gain momentum towards our desired future;
    3) accepting that everything is temporary. “The night is always darkest just before the dawn”

    Loved this personal story Bob!

    Thank you!

  26. Bob Burg said at 10:39 am on

    Bruno: Thank you for your kind words and sharing your thoughts and wisdom with us, my friend!

  27. Gina said at 10:40 am on

    Wonderful advice Bob! I’ve been doing that last one for 20+ years. It works for more than just happiness too!

  28. Sean said at 10:40 am on

    Love this post Bob! This is a fantastic reminder about how much “choice” we have when it comes to our state of mind/attitude/outlook. This concept has totally revolutionized my attitude, and life – it was a huge breakthrough for me when I realized I had a choice in the matter! :) Love, love, love the power you receive in exchange for taking 100% responsibility for your life and attitude!

    I, like all the rest here, so appreciate the impact of your consistently positive, giving attitude. You not only educate and remind us, but you set the bar for all of us by example. Darren Hardy posted a quote from Jackie Robinson this morning that does a much more eloquent job of saying what I just said: “A life is not important except in the impact it has on other Lives.”

    Thanks for the “impact” Bob! :)

    -Sean

  29. Bob Burg said at 10:53 am on

    Gina: Awesome. Yes, sort of works right across the board, doesn’t it? :-)

  30. Bob Burg said at 10:56 am on

    Sean, thank you, both for your feedback, wisdom, and for your very kind compliment. And, I love the Jackie Robinson quote. Yesterday happened to be the anniversary of the day he broke the “color barrier” in Major League Baseball. The courage that took and the harassment he endured (with class and grace) were both beyond measure, and he impacted all our lives greatly as a result!

  31. Max Weiman said at 12:52 pm on

    Good stuff, Bob.

    #1 Don’t share your unhappiness.
    #2 Life could be a heck of lot worse.
    #3 Fake it, it works.

    There’s always good stuff, and there’s always bad stuff. At least let your brain give the good stuff equal time.

  32. Great post, Bob! It made me feel happy to read. You’re a shining teacher and beacon of eloquence, class and hope. You consistently provide ways to make our lives and the world a better place with personal stories and common examples.
    This has already made a good day even better here and I’m sure that your post will have a ripple effect out here.

  33. Bob Burg said at 1:01 pm on

    Max: Thank you. I think that, with #3, the faking it is not for its own sake, but to lead us to where we don’t *have* to fake it. LOL

  34. Bob Burg said at 1:11 pm on

    Heather: Thank you, my sweet friend. I appreciate your always-very kind and encouraging words. Means TONS to me!

  35. Ari Kahn said at 1:31 pm on

    Very nice Bob. Love the idea. Love and Happiness are two elements that are limitless, unlike other natural resources which disappear, the more Love and or Happiness are used the more they are manifest and grow.

  36. Bob Burg said at 1:49 pm on

    Reb Ari: Thank you for your great thought and wisdom. How very true!

  37. Brenda Taylor said at 1:56 pm on

    Thank you, this made me happy reading this!

  38. Bob Burg said at 1:57 pm on

    Brenda: Thank you. And, I’m happy that you’re happy! :-)

  39. Christie Ellis said at 2:05 pm on

    What a great post! If I am unhappy I just start smiling and laughing, usually not in a public place, until my mood changes. Works everytime! PS I can’t wait to hug you too :)

  40. David Lapin said at 2:08 pm on

    Great piece Bob, love it.

    “Our hearts (emotions) follow our actions.”
    ~ Sefer Hachinuch (12th century).

    David

  41. Bob Burg said at 2:20 pm on

    Christie: Thank you. That’s awesome. I can just see you doing that! :-) And, likey-wisey on the hugs!

  42. Bob Burg said at 2:28 pm on

    Reb David: Thank you! Love that quote from Sefer Hachinuch!

  43. Maria del Pilar Cuadrado said at 2:57 pm on

    Hola Bob,
    Me encanto y resono totalmente conmigo!!!
    Nobody can tell I am sad sometimes, It is just the way I manage and decide my way into feeling happy.
    Un beso grande, can’t wait to hug you either (lol)
    Maria (Pili)

  44. Bob Burg said at 3:33 pm on

    Hola, Maria: Muchas gracias por su palabras muy simpatica. Un beso a ti, tambien. Quiero a beso ti tambien, y quiero a bailar contigo! :-)

  45. Tina Parish said at 3:54 pm on

    A wonderful post, Bob! I agree 100%! I loved the way you explained it to her. I may have to try that tactic.

    Growing up in rather undesirable circumstances, I know what its like to be perpetually unhappy. It was a theme that carried into my adult life. But, one day I met someone who gave me a speech similar to the one you gave the lady in the post. I didn’t buy it for a second, but I thought “What do I have to lose by trying?” I was already unhappy, so it didn’t hurt to try. It didn’t take long at all before my attitude did a complete 180 as did my life. I was filled with joy each day and my life took a drastic turn for the better. Therefore, its my opinion that attitude makes all the difference in life. Forget being a glass only half fulf person, I am a glass completely full person each and every day. I try to pass this train of thought on to my friends and family and it just hasn’t stuck with them. But knowing what I know and how it changed my quality of life, I’ll never stop trying to make them see the benefit of “Acting” their way to happiness.

  46. Bob Burg said at 4:05 pm on

    Tina: thank you. I’m so sorry you had to grow up in those circumstances. Sounds like you’ve really worked on yourself and made some great strides. If I may suggest, in terms of your last sentence and “trying to make” others see the benefit, perhaps introduce the information in such a way that they know they are being given a choice to make their own decision. I find that typically people are much more open to the advice when they know they have a choice in terms of whether or not to use it. Please know I’m very proud of you for how far you’ve come!

  47. Kim said at 9:00 pm on

    What a wonderful story. Each of you gave the other a wonderful gift and by sharing it with us the gift keeps growing.
    It is so true that no matter what our challenges there are others who have it much worse and we shouldn’t forget our many blessings. Thanks, Bob!

  48. Dondi Scumaci said at 9:29 pm on

    I love this story. The Law of Influence from the inside out. You are fabulous.

  49. Bob Burg said at 10:05 pm on

    Kim: Thank you, what a kind comment. Very appreciated!

  50. Bob Burg said at 10:06 pm on

    Dondi: Thank you. You ALWAYS make me smile! See you in a few days at “The Go-Giver Retreat.” Thank you so much for being our “lead off hitter.”

  51. I love this post ,Bob! I love the fact that you were completely honest… Which you always are.I never really had a complete definition of letting go of your problems and living in the moment for others. I feel I will be quoting you, on this, in the future. Hope you had a Magical Monday! xoxoxo ~ Michelle

  52. Cat Virzi said at 12:21 am on

    Thanks Bob for more of your practical, everyday wisdom!
    Cat

  53. Nick Ng said at 2:14 am on

    There is a reason why we follow you and keep you on our favorites on Facebook. Thank you, Bob. I’ll be sharing this.

  54. Lori Gosselin said at 12:05 pm on

    Hi Bob,
    So true – the brain takes its cues from the body! Smile and you’ll convince yourself you’re happy!
    Lori

  55. Bob Burg said at 12:18 pm on

    Michelle: What a kind compliment. Thank you, my friend. xoxoxo back at ya’!

  56. Bob Burg said at 12:18 pm on

    Lori: Right on! Thank you!

  57. Love this post Bob!

    And you are so right about being able to act your way into a better frame of mind. If I catch myself in a down-in-mouth-kind of mood it is the easiest thing in the world to find something that will make me smile if I consciously go on the hunt for it. It can be as simple as making faces at myself, or turning on some high energy kick butt music and dancing around with a cat. If your face smiles, your body and your brain smile with it.

    Thanks for the great post.

  58. Stacy Shelton said at 3:52 pm on

    Dear Bob,
    I heart you

  59. Bob Burg said at 6:48 pm on

    Cat: Thank YOU. Very kind!

  60. Bob Burg said at 6:49 pm on

    Nick: Very appreciated. And I saw your reposts on Facebook. Thank you so much!

  61. Bob Burg said at 6:54 pm on

    Denise: Thank you. And, I like your way of thinking! :-)

  62. Bob Burg said at 6:54 pm on

    Dear Stacy: I heart you…MORE!

  63. Laurie Hurley said at 9:51 pm on

    This is so true. And I never used to believe it until I started practicing it. Thank you for sharing.

  64. Bob Burg said at 10:16 pm on

    Laurie: My pleasure. Thank you for your comment!

  65. Marie-Christine said at 8:06 am on

    ‘I’m going to write that down’
    it’s good,when you write it down
    you do w n – you do win -
    Have a :) day.

  66. Bob Burg said at 8:45 am on

    Marie-Christine: Thank you. I appreciate you joining our discussion. Always welcome!

  67. Jens Dalsgard said at 8:27 am on

    Great post Bob. One thing I’ll like to add is to remember that often things that seen major right now often seem minor later.

    Looking back, issues that seemed to almost break you, instead made you stronger and wiser, and not looking that big anymore.

    Smile because it WILL get better.

    Have a fantastic day everyone! :-)

  68. Nick said at 4:51 am on

    Thank you !! Loved the post.. especially the points.. so true.. However, I want to ask Bob, how to feel happy when you are at an established position and in a competitive world but feel like others are moving ahead every passing day.. Am I being too ambitious to compete with only the best? Or Am I thinking just too much?

    Just a line, if you may :D

    Thanks again !!

  69. Bob Burg said at 12:49 pm on

    Jens: Thank you. Very true, and being able to stay aware that all eventually happens for the good helps us to be able to deal more productively with the very uncomfortable and challenging things that happen to us as part of life. Of course, while it is good for us to keep in mind, when we come across a person who is dealing with a very uncomfortable, distressing, or heartbreaking challenge/problem/situation, it’s best for us to simply comfort them rather than try and teach them by reminding them that things will eventually get better. I know you know that…but I felt it important for me to print here anyway.

  70. Bob Burg said at 1:04 pm on

    Nick: Thank you for your kind words and for sharing your thoughts and situation with us. There is both a short answer and a longer one, if I may.

    When you ask, “how do you feel *happy* when…?” – my response would be that you feel happy because you choose to feel happy. You feel happy because you realize how fortunate you are in many, many ways and that, in numerous ways, you are blessed beyond belief.

    What I really think you are asking though (and, of course, this is simply based on my opinion – I certainly could be wrong) is, “how do you feel satisfied with your present situation when there are some important areas, which you hold to be of high value, that you feel you are simply not where you want to be?”

    Is that correct?

    If so, then you have choices to make. What would need to happen in order for you to feel the type of satisfaction in this area of your life that you need to feel? And, are you willing to do what it takes to get there? It might take a lot of work. It might take learning new things. It might take finding ways to provide value to your prospects/clients that you haven’t previously thought of in order to separate yourself from the excellent competition that you have.

    Nick, not knowing you or your specific situation, I’m not really qualified to provide any specific thoughts or recommendations. Hopefully, the above provided some food for thought you can use as you think through the situation.

    Best wishes for great success to you!

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