Secret to Happiness – Found at the Car Wash!

I’ve been in a bit of a blue funk of late.  Just “stuff”, you know, like a big job fell through and there’s a layer of orange pollen on every piece of furniture I own. Oh, and I just filled up my car with gasoline and now I have to get a second mortgage on my house.  Just regular stuff.

So when I pulled my car into the car wash today and was greeted by a young girl with a pad of paper, a pen and the biggest, happiest, most gorgeous smile I have seen in a really REALLY long time – I was curious as to what might be going on with her.  I mean she looked REALLY happy.

With flying eyebrows she said, “Hi! What would you like today?”  I responded, “Well, I’d like to be happy – kind of like everybody else on the planet. And YOU already seem to BE really happy.  What’s your secret?”

She laughed, right out loud and said, “Well, gosh, what’s there NOT to be happy about? I’ve lived in Sarasota all my life and it’s the most beautiful place in the world!  I also have a job and some of my friends DON’T!  Plus, my car broke down last week and I found out there’s a bus that comes ONE BLOCK from my house to right next door!  I mean, like I said – what’s there NOT to be happy about?”

And she smiled that fabulous smile at me as she wrote “wash only” on my ticket.

As I walked away I began to think.  Could it really be that simple? That our happiness comes from what we are focused on and what we are telling ourselves?

And don’t we all know other people who would say, “What’s there to be happy about?  I live in this same boring town that I’ve lived in my whole life.  I have this dead-end job where they don’t pay me enough to keep a rat alive, AND, my car broke down and I have to ride the stupid bus.”  And the result? One unhappy person.

Thank you so much Happy Girl of the carwash.  Thank you for reminding me that my emotions come directly out of what I am focused on.  And NO ONE can MAKE me focus on ANYTHING I don’t WANT to focus on.

I’m curious. If you had to break it down, how much time do you think you spend during the day focused on things you are grateful for, on who you love, what you have and how blessed you are compared to….all those other things…

I don’t know about you, but I could use a little work in that arena.

From your “Happy Because I Know What To Focus On” Motivational Speaker, Linda Larsen


Motivational Speaker Linda Larsen, CSP has been described by meeting planners and audiences as "hysterically funny," and "riveting." Known for her ability to connect on an authentic and emotional level with audiences, her spontaneous sense of humor, and her engaging and powerful stories, Linda is passionate about sharing ideas to help people live their finest, best, and most productive lives. Her riveting and true story of being kidnapped and held hostage at gunpoint by an escaped convict, and the strategies she used to escape, will give people the tools THEY need to rise above any of life's toughest challenges, to communicate more effectively with THEIR difficult person, and to find creative solutions to THEIR problems. To book motivational speaker, Linda Larsen: 941-927-4700

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  1. I LOVE this story Linda, and I love this carwash girl! And I love you, for admitting that you in a funk. That even motivational speakers fall into the pits sometimes. I get in those funks too, and have to work at getting out of them – by taking one of your famous gratitude showers – and then remembering the famous line to that song in the close of Hee Haw “If it weren’t for bad luck, we’d have no luck at all.”
    I hope you find your way out of your funk soon. I’ve heard a new pair of shoes always helps. 

  2. PS  There are some who believe (like me) that we were created with an empty spot – that only God can fill. We were created to know Him and have a relationship with Him. And until that spot is filled, we will always be missing true contentment – trying to scratch an itch we can’t reach. So sometimes the way out of a funk is to have a little faith.

  3. I’ve always felt that happiness is a choice. As mere mortals, with short attention spans, it is way too easy to ALLOW circumstances to affect our happiness. One of the sad ironies is that, often, the circumstances that put us in the biggest funk are inconsequential. I mean really petty. A family member falls ill – you pull it together. Your house is gutted by fire – you step up. Your favorite show get preempted for a Presidential press conference and you curl up in the fetal position with a quart of Haagen-Dazs. Great reminder. Sometimes it does take a motivational speaker.

  4. It’s so easy to observe how others are seeing their world through their negative lenses but not as easy to catch myself when I’m in grump mode.  You, my friend and wonderful motivational speaker, helped me to start every day with a gratitude check so I can say I spend at least a little time in the morning with the right focus.  Work in progress, thanks!

  5. Thanks Linda!  I love your writing.  Happiness really is a choice and it beats the alternative.  When I do my keynotes as a motivational speaker, I ask the audience ‘How many of you want to be happy every day?’ Hands shoot up, not all, but lots.  Then I tell them, ‘It’s okay if you don’t, just don’t be hanging out with me at lunch!’  It gets a laugh every time, but I’m actually serious.  I’m old enough to be able to realize I have a choice as to who I want to hang out with and my choice is always the people who choose to be happy!

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