Wake Up Happy!

_WUHYep, another self-help book—by a celebrity. This one just release by Michael Strahan—the hardest working man on television. Maybe he really has something to say, and I can’t wait to read his book, “Wake Up Happy: The Dream Big, Win Big Guide to Transforming Your Life.”

Strahan has too many jobs—co-hosting Live with Kelly and Michael, NFL Sunday pregame show commentator, Good Morning America cohost. His fame of course started with the NFL, where he set the record for single season sacks in 2001 and being inducted into Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2014. Strahan played with the New York Giants including a Super Bowl win. He was one of Barbara Walters’s 10 Most Fascinating People of 2014. So now we get to hear how he grew up and made a name for himself. What can Strahan tell us that we have not already heard from the hundreds of other self-help books spun from Norman Vincent Peale’s “The Power of Positive Thinking?” What can we learn from Strahan that the Bible cannot teach us with this one sentence from Jesus to the paralyzed man: “Take up thy bed and walk?” From the online Amazon reviews of Strahan’s books plenty of people think he has a lot to say.

An online review of Strahan’s book quotes him as saying this about his new book: “Using stories from my own life and from those whose journeys have inspired me, I draw upon the power of positive thinking often. Take the time the producers of Good Morning America approached me about joining the team. I was scared to death. I was just getting my sea legs on LIVE with the talented Kelly Ripa and didn’t think I could handle sitting at a news desk with esteemed journalists like George Stephanopoulos and Robin Roberts. Then I had to ask myself, “Well, am I not trying it because I’m afraid or is it because I think I can’t do it?” After some reflection, I admitted to myself that I was afraid of trying and failing, and that wasn’t a good enough reason not to give myself a chance.”

I look forward to getting my copy to read “Strahan Rules,” which he says hopefully will get the reader to “transform your attitude so you can accomplish your goals. I was having a conversation with a friend recently. We were talking about how it is that some people seem able to drive toward their goals with so much joy, while for others it’s struggle after struggle and setback after setback. All I know is that for as long as I can remember, I saw life as a game, a puzzle that I could solve again and again to get and achieve the things I wanted the most. I never—well, rarely—allowed myself to be overcome by doubt. I just kept telling myself, “I’ll get there somehow.” Did I know the exact method or route to achieve my dreams? Absolutely not. But I created a set of tools—rituals, ideas, formulas that helped me get from there to here—and that’s what a lot of this book is about.

Even now when people say, “You’re successful, you can have anything you want,” I think, “What does that mean?” No matter what we accomplish, we’re always searching for something else. I’m not talking about money or material things. I just think we have an innate desire, as human beings, to continue to achieve. Achievement, the quest and the process of doing more and being more, is the most powerful pathway to happiness.

Everything people ever want is because, at the core of it, they believe that it will make them happy. The goal could be a relationship, a house, or a career. But I’ve learned that happiness is, in and of itself, a choice you make every day. Every morning I ask myself, “How do I get to happy today?” Then I keep asking questions: Is happiness freedom? Is it honesty? Is it the passion you feel when you’re doing something you love? Is it feeling wanted? Is it feeling needed? Is it giving and being of service? Or is it all of those things?

I’ve spent a lot of time asking myself these questions because, while I work extraordinarily hard and I play hard too, I want to make sure that I’m spending the limited time and energy I have on the things that make me happy.

Life changes every day, every minute. You’re thrown things that don’t seem fair at times; you’re thrown things that you don’t know how you’re going to handle, or if you can even bear to handle them. But happiness is something that you have to find every single day. It’s not a “Been there, done that.” It’s not “Well, I finished the happiness test and I got an A and now I’m moving on to the next thing.” The quest for happiness is an ongoing pursuit, maybe the most important test of our lives. Because at the end of your life, if your stack of happy days is bigger than your stack of miserable days, then yours was a life well lived. It’s that simple.

My goal with Wake Up Happy is to set you up for the win in your own life, no matter how many obstacles appear to be in the way. To quote lyrics sung by the legendary jazz singer Billie Holiday, “The difficult I’ll do right now. The impossible will take a little while.” So let’s get started.”

Copyright 2015 – L. Arthalia Cravin. All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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