Everyone says that happiness is a choice. I’m not so sure. I’ve personally coached more than 8,000 people to achieve greater happiness and success in their lives and many were blocked. “Just choose happiness,” wasn’t a coaching tactic they could implement. No matter how much discipline my clients’ implemented, choosing happiness seemed impossible.

Over the last 20+ years I realized that happiness is not a choice, happiness is a skill. You have to practice being happy. Dan Gilbert’s iPhone Study, showed us that the mind automatically wanders to thoughts that make us feel bad. In other words, the mind defaults to what is traditionally deemed as, “Negative.”

When you’re unhappy, it’s a reaction. See, happiness is not a choice. It’s a conditioned response. Unhappiness is not a choice. It’s a conditioned response. Your emotions are a reaction to what you perceive in the environment.

The most important skill you can implement to create greater happiness is catching the mind reacting. You must question your reactions. When you watch the news and you see that some stranger has been hit by a car, notice your reaction. What exactly are you reacting to? Is this an appropriate response? Does it feel good? Are you happy right now? Do you want to be happy right now?

When you find yourself in a negative situation in your life. Start asking yourself more effective questions. How am I creating this? What good can come of this situation? What would be a more effective response? What do I want? How can I get back to happiness again?

The mind wants to assign blame. The mind will make situations about you and make you feel ashamed. These are all just conditioned responses. In the end, blame won’t solve anything and shame is an ineffective response to the situation.

Instead, begin to train yourself to be happy. Why? When you feel good, life just works.