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Smile . . . For No Good Reason January 30, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Happiness, Less IS More, Life Balance, Mindfulness.

TimonA brief excerpt from Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky:

We have all experienced what it is like to be having a perfectly fine day and have a situation or crisis arise that sends us into a tailspin. It may be something small like a traffic jam making us late, or something more severe like the loss of a job. Our response can seem automatic.

Though at first it may be difficult to accept, freedom depends on recognizing that you’re not upset because of what occurred, you are upset because of how you perceive the situation.

* * * * *

Let’s imagine that you have a favorite coffeehouse that you frequent. The staff knows your name and always has a warm and friendly greeting as you walk through the door.

An extremely grumpy woman whom you have never seen before serves you this particular morning. She appears preoccupied rather than caring about you or what she is doing.  As she pours your hot coffee a good portion spills in your lap. Despite your jumping in shock, no apology follows.

Your experience is anger: both toward the waitress and the owner, Joe, for hiring such an incompetent person.

Then, a friend of yours at the next booth says, “Isn’t it great that Joe hired her!”

“Great! Are you out of your mind? She just spilled hot coffee in my lap and walked away,” you reply with your best indignant voice.

“Oh, you didn’t hear the story?” your friend whispers.

“What story?” you angrily reply, still drying off your new slacks, wondering how you will go through the day looking as though you wet your pants.

“Yeah, Joe didn’t know her from Adam. He read in the paper that her husband had died last month in a car accident. Apparently her husband’s health insurance stopped, and she was looking for another job in order to pay for her sixteen-year old son’s chemotherapy for leukemia,” your friend responds.

Now, you still have hot coffee in your crotch, but are you still angry?


The only thing that shifted was your perception and attitude.  Through discovering a reason to be compassionate, your entire experience changed.

Donald-Duck-BaseballWhen you are upset remind yourself the cause of your discomfort is your own attitude.  This is freedom.

Aah . . . that’s better!

To read more and for ordering information:  Smile for No Good Reason by Dr. Lee Jampolsky

Remember:  How you relate to the issue IS the issue.



1. Tori Nelson - January 30, 2013

I loved the title… and everything that followed. I forget how much my attitude matters sometimes!

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

As soon as a thought arises, we are presented with a choice to (1) REACT to the thought or (2) let it drift away.

Many thoughts arise based on PAST experiences. Thinking ANGRY thoughts makes us angry. Thinking HAPPY thoughts makes us happy. Thinking SAD thoughts makes us sad.

We hold the remote and can CHOOSE which thoughts to explore further and which to let go ~ once we see that, we are poised to reclaim our FREEDOM.

2. colonialist - January 30, 2013

Or, to put it differently, wait until you have full data before you react? In the case of nearly stepping over a cliff, all the data you need is assimilated VERY fast! 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

Even simpler . . . always assume the BEST, rather than jumping to negative conclusions about the whys and wherefores.

Who knows? Maybe there’s a pile of soft fluffy mattresses at the bottom of that cliff. Like in Kate’s post about defenestration. :mrgreen:

colonialist - January 30, 2013

Hmmm. I still think jumping to negative conclusions is better than jumping to discover there ISN’T something soft down below! 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

True dat! 😯

3. Three Well Beings - January 30, 2013

Oh dear…so it’s that old nemesis “choice” is it? LOL! I so look forward to how you share happiness, Nancy. My day is just getting started…so I like it! And I’d like the book, I think! 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

Thanks, Debra. When I got the e-mail about this book from Simple Truths, I thought a few SLTW readers might be interested in obtaining a copy for their bedside table. 😀

4. suzicate - January 30, 2013

That is an excellent example. We don’t always know another’s story. Happiness is always our choice. And smiling is great…frowning develops wrinkles! 🙂

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

Once we “get that” . . . we no longer buy into all the thoughts we think. We realize how easily we can “get it wrong.” And that allows us to get it right! 😀

5. ericjbaker - January 30, 2013

This is why I don’t drink coffee.*

*today, the part of someone who missed the entire point is played by EJB

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

I am laughing at the part played by EJB . . . someone is always going to miss the point, eh? 😀

6. judithhb - January 30, 2013

Share your smiles, we all have a never ending supply. And yes, we do make assumptions and get angry without knowing the full story. 😀

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

When someone cuts me off in traffic . . . I never hang on to the flash of anger that arises.

Instead, I CHOOSE to assume that the driver is racing to pay the ransom to someone who kidnapped their 3 year old daughter.

7. diannegray - January 30, 2013

My mother has always instilled in me that it’s not what happens to you in life that is important – it’s how you react to it 😉

This is a great story and the book sounds excellent! I needed this yesterday when I was talking to the bank about $3,000 of mine that they ‘lost’. Today it’s been ‘found’ so it was a complete waste of a worry! 😀

nrhatch - January 30, 2013

Your mom = WISE woman!

So many of us treat “automatic thoughts” as the truth, when there is almost ALWAYS another way of looking at things.

That said, I’m glad your $3,000 is back on the right radar screen.

diannegray - January 30, 2013

Me too! 😀

8. Team Oyeniyi - January 31, 2013

OK – that made me cry. Both Mr O and I have been under enormous stress lately and today we had a fight. We don’t have many, but language issues still hit every now and then.

He knew I was stressed and despite his stress he had bought me a bottle of wine and was really sweet – yet I was so stressed we still clashed.

Life. It just gets us sometimes

nrhatch - January 31, 2013

It does, indeed. And we must always start where we are . . . we can’t press rewind, ask for a do-over, or fast forward over the “bad bits.” So thank Mr. O for the wine and mend the tear at the first opportunity. G’day! 😀

9. Pocket Perspectives - January 31, 2013

Thanks for the suggestion, Nancy….sounds like a good book! I learn so much from reading!

nrhatch - February 1, 2013

I feel the same about books, Kathy . . . hearing something once may make an impression, but it doesn’t necessarily sink in. With a book, I can read and re-read it until I’ve garnered what I want from its contents. And I can skip through parts that don’t interest me, and rewind back to those that do. 😀

10. bluebee - February 1, 2013

Great post, Nancy – everybody’s struggling in some way and a smile can just dissipate so many tense situations.

nrhatch - February 1, 2013

Yes! And smiling makes US feel better . . . even if no one else is around. 😀

11. sufilight - February 2, 2013

Nancy, another inspiring post. Will be checking to see if this book is in the library, if not, will order from Amazon. This is my cognitive self- therapy. 😀

nrhatch - February 2, 2013

Thanks, Marie. I’m not sure whether Simple Truths sells their publications on Amazon, but they often run sales on their site. Yesterday, if you spent $20 you got a free book valued at up to $17. And . . . I expect that MOST of their titles would appeal to you. All are uplifting and designed to give our spirits a boost!

12. Perfecting Motherhood - February 2, 2013

It’s all about perspective, isn’t it? I really enjoyed reading that 100 secrets of happy people too. It was very positive and full of simple tips to be happier.

nrhatch - February 2, 2013

Being happier is the goal behind all goals . . . but we are often mistaken about what we THINK will make us happy. It’s usually NOT fame, fortune, or another pair of shoes that we need. It’s a bit more simple than that.

Perfecting Motherhood - February 2, 2013

Life is so simple, it’s difficult to understand it.

nrhatch - February 2, 2013

Well said. 😀

13. kateshrewsday - February 2, 2013

Our response to external happenings is the work of a lifetime, Nancy. Sometimes I respond well to negative happenings in my life; sometimes I don’t. All I can do is learn the lessons from each episode and move on, I guess.

nrhatch - February 2, 2013

Same here, Kate. Sometimes I feel like I’ve learned how to respond in a mindful manner. Other times, I feel I’ve learned nothing at all. 😉

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