Sam Berns suffered from a very serious condition called Progeria. He seemed a very positive person though who really enjoyed life. His thoughts on how to be happy therefore are worth consideration.
Here are his top tips:
- Focus on what you can do not what you can’t
- Surround yourself with people you want to be with
- Keep moving and looking forward. Especially by being brave.
- Finally – Never miss a party if you can help it!
Sadly Sam died shortly after recording this TED talk but clearly these things worked to some extent in his life. Basically it seems to me to boil down to one thing. Positive thinking. Being Positive about what you can do, who you can be with, what the future holds and what there is to celebrate right now.
Being positive will get you a long way, and I wish I was more positive. I should be. But being positive can mean living with one eye shut. Should we, or can we, shut our eyes to the evil in our lives. I am not saying that the people who live positively do that, as many look evil in the face and do something about it. What I’m trying to highlight it the problem of what you do with the evil you can’t change. The people who you can’t get away from. The things you can’t face and move forward in. The times when you are not invited to the party.
We can shut our eyes to those and choose not to think about them but is that really the best thing to do? Sam if definitely on to something but for me there needs to be a bigger world view and a broader principle in which positive thinking operates and that world view needs to process, not ignore, evil. It also needs to provide some basis, beyond the pragmatic, for why thinking positively is a sound rational thing to do. Doing something because it makes me feel happy is not necessarily the best thing to do.
For me the Christian world view provides all this. I can think positively because God will work all things for my good. I can trust him to deal with evil and not ignore it. The best way to live is to love God, and in that loving relationship we find fullness of joy. Through faith in Jesus God will provide for us and providentially work all things for us. Through faith in Jesus our own evil is dealt with and when Jesus comes back he will see justice done. Through faith in Jesus we are adopted into a perfectly loving and joy filled relationship with God as our heavenly father. We can keep one eye on the evil in the world and one eye on Jesus in faith for him to overcome it.
I am looking forward to being at the greatest party ever – the marriage supper of the lamb.
I agree with Sam’s four points and I am glad I have a valid reason to put them into practice.