Are you searching for the secret to happiness?

Do you wonder why other people seem to be more successful than you—even if you believe that you work harder than they do?

In my mind, a big part of happiness and success comes down to three attributes.

  • The ability to accept and adapt to change.
  • The ability to believe you are Good Enough to love and be loved.
  • The ability to express gratitude.

Let me break these down for you.

I grew up in a military family. I knew when my Dad came home with a manila envelope that inside were transfer orders and the location of where we would be moving to. I remember the feeling of being the new kid walking down a classroom aisle to an empty desk in the front row while everyone stared at me. I hated it. I learned as a little girl that I had a choice -- make friends on the playground or stand alone. I realized that I needed to accept the changes that occurred when we moved to a new community, adapt to my new environment, make friends, and enjoy the journey.

This has served me well through career changes, divorce, and grief. While others live in the Who-Moved-My-Cheese stagnation unable to accept that their life has changed and unable to adapt to the new adventures ahead of them, successful, happy people hone the ability to accept and adapt. You may not always like the event that spurred the change, (and there is always change) but you must cultivate the ability to thrive in the space you find yourself – no matter what!

We are bombarded with the message that we are Not Good Enough! We all protect that sore space hidden inside where we believe we are not thin enough, smart enough, rich enough…the list goes on and on. The newest guilt inducers verified by the thousands of self-help books on the market are that we are not happy enough, healthy enough, or holy enough.

Here is the thing – WE ARE ALL GOOD ENOUGH! I believe that just by the pure biological chance that we were created and survived the birthing process proves this –it is no accident! We were all meant to be here. I believe you are good enough and I can tell you this all day, but YOU must do the work on this one. YOU must come to believe, right down to your inner core, that YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH!

It doesn’t matter what trauma you had as a child or what wrongs you have committed you must come to a place of knowing that you are good enough to love and be loved. If you don’t believe it no one else will believe it of you. Relationships, love, happiness, and success will avoid you—after all you are sending off the vibe that you aren’t good enough and don’t deserve it. When you are circled in that type of negativity- happiness and success beware!

Lastly, you must express gratitude. Until you are grateful for what you have, you will never receive more. Let me repeat that, until you are grateful for what you have, you will never receive more. If all you have is a pair of shoes on your feet and a sandwich to eat for lunch, be grateful for that! Then dig deeper. Be grateful every morning that you open your eyes. Be grateful for every step, every breath, and every moment you are given and for all that your life is filled with.

Don’t just say, “Thank you.” You must feel gratitude with every cell of your body. Tell others why you are thankful for them. Write thank-you notes, make phone calls, volunteer, journal, pray, sing, dance – whatever moves you to a grateful, loving place. Do it!

You cannot hold on to a negative like hurt, anger, or fear when you are filled with love and gratitude. Practice the ability to express gratitude until it becomes part of your DNA.

Life is wild and unpredictable. If you are in search of happiness and success, begin studying the people you know who are happy and successful. I believe it won’t take you long to see that they hold and nurture these three qualities. They accept and adapt to change. They believe they are good enough. For them, expressing gratitude is not just social politeness, it is engrained in sincerity. When you begin to cultivate and practice these three attributes you may just find yourself smack dab in the middle of happiness and success.

Pennie Hunt was born and raised in Rapid City. She is the author of the book, “Love Your Life- NO MATTER WHAT -76 Tips to Live Life With Love and Gratitude,” and writes the blog, “From the Corner of Spirit & Brave.” She is a professional speaker and member of the National Speakers Association. Email: penniehunt@gmail.com