When you look at this picture do you see a whole bunch of weeds or a field of beautiful flowers?

Did you ever stop to think that happiness might be just a state of mind? That being happy is just a simple decision away? One of my friends told me a story that I think about sometimes. She was staying with a very wealthy friend of hers out in California and one night he invited her out to dinner with a couple who were friends of his and who were also uber-wealthy.

The money isn’t the important part of the story, but what is most interesting is that this couple had just gotten back from Hawaii, which was a part of a bigger (and very glamorous) worldwide travel itinerary. But what struck my friend, and the reason she told me about this, was that all the couple could do was to talk about how bad everything was.

Service in Hawaii? Terrible!

Food on the island? The worst!

Oh, and don’t even get me started about the weather…

I think you get the idea, and you probably also see why this is, in fact, a sad story. It’s too bad that this couple is choosing to live and experience life in this way, because for them and for the rest of us, it’s always a choice. The story also illustrates that external circumstances do not ever lead to happiness. That, my friends, has to come from within. That’s where the decision comes in.

Regardless of your current circumstances, you can always decide whether or not you’re going to choose happiness and gratitude or whether you’re going the other route.

We may not always be able to stroll through a field of roses. Sometimes we get daisies. Other times it’s dandelions or, worse, nettles – but there is beauty there too. I read something today about what makes a plant a “weed” instead of a flower and it’s really about whether the owner of the garden thinks this particular plant is beautiful or not.

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean that we need to allow our gardens to run wild with no intentional planning or maintenance, but it does mean that if we’re willing to look for beauty and things to appreciate instead of things to complain about we’ll be fully able to embrace and fully experience our best, most abundant life.