Photo Notation: Bears (Barry Neil Kaufman), CEO/Co-Founder of the Option Institute and Author of Happiness Is A Choice and Samahria Lyte Kaufman Co-Founder/Co-Creator

“Sweet image. Easy to digest. But we don’t fix people. Why? No one needs to be fixed. Period. But what we do help people to do is help them to change themselves… a little at a time, a lot at a time… and/or dramatically and irrevocably.

“How? The title of one of my books says it all: ‘Happiness Is A Choice.’ When you learn that… and get that… every aspect of your life will change. Really! During an editorial meeting when this book was first published, the editors didn’t like the title (‘Not possible,’ they protested). And when I suggested the subtitle ‘And misery is not inevitable, but optional,’ they appeared as if they wanted to withdraw my publishing contract. One argued: ‘Sometimes, you just get unhappy.’ Another said, ‘We all get miserable at times.’ Actually, they were accurate… if, and only if, they included the word ‘choose.’ Yes, sometimes we choose to be happy, and sometimes we choose to be angry, sad, discontent, jealous, distressed, and worried. Happiness and unhappiness don’t just happen to us… WE ARE IN CHARGE.

“Bad news? Of course not! Good news. Yes. Better even — this is great news… because if we create our happiness and unhappiness, we are not only in charge – we can change the choices we made or make.

“How? All happiness and unhappiness are fueled or created as a result of some belief we believe. If we change the belief, the resulting feeling will change as well. ‘I am a jerk.’ Unhappiness will probably follow. ‘I am stupid.’ Self-incrimination will fuel distress. ‘I am okay, really okay’ -contentment will follow. ‘I am lovable’ – ah, sweet feelings of warmth and ease will flow from inside. What you believe… you will see and then feel.

“What’s the process to make this happen? Self-studentship! But self-studentship of a particular kind. And what kind might that be? For us, it is learning to do Option Process® dialogues… or Power Dialogues, which enable all of us, yes every one of us, to uncover and change beliefs… which then changes our lives.

“Too heady? Look at our faces in the above photo. We did it for ourselves. We’re not perfect, but, wow, are we thrilled and grateful. And we’ve spent the last four decades, with our staff, teaching others to do it as well.”

Love and gratitude, smiles and laughter, Bears and Samahria Kaufman