I’ve always liked the designs of the “Life is Good” t-shirts. I was recently given Life is Good, the Book, written by Bert and John Jacobs, founders of the Life is Good company. It’s a nice, happiness book, and an easy read.

After explaining optimism as the philosophy behind their approach, and pointing to the mental and physical health benefits of optimism (which have been validated by scientific research), and talking a bit about their mom, who always focused on the positive, they break down their life lessons into 10 “Superpowers”. Here are some of my favorite takeaways:

In the chapter on courage, they recommend trying to do things and looking forward like a woman they quote who deals with significant daily challenges related to an accident: “I have a lot of setbacks, but I try to look at them as things that ruin my hour, but not my day, or my week.”

In the chapter on gratitude, which I’ve written about many times, they talk about taking stock of the many people, experiences, and things that are good in our lives and how as adults, we often lose the ability we had as kids to stay in the present, often spending precious hours dwelling on the past or projecting too far into the future.

They quote studies reporting grateful people are happier, more open and sociable, less depressed, express higher levels of satisfaction with their lives and relationships, have stronger coping skills for the challenges and setbacks they experience, share a greater willingness to seek out help from others, and have an ability to interpret challenging events in ways that help them grow. And they suggest changing the way you think about your to-do list. Instead of referring to have-tos, refer to them as get-tos (as in, in most cases we are fortunate to be able to get to do these things).

In the chapter on fun, they talk about how we can all benefit from making time for fun in our lives. Just like anything else important, we have to make it a priority—it’s not about not having time for fun, it’s about not making the time.

The chapter on compassion is wonderful. They define compassion as the concern for and willingness to help someone who is suffering and they talk about how when we help others, a circuit in the brain is activated and makes us feel good, syncing with what I’ve said many times about helping others being one of the greatest happiness strategies.

They also talk about the Buddhist practice of reminding ourselves, “Just like me, this person wants to be happy,” to help develop compassion for all people.

What good books have you learned from lately? Please join the conversation with your comments…

Best regards,