Book Review: Shift Happens

It’s holiday time 2011 but I wasn’t expecting Shift Happens:  How to Live an Inspired Life…Starting Right Now by Robert Holden, Ph.D. to bring me so many gifts.  Packed within its 300 pages is the kind of simple wisdom that makes you say to yourself, “Have I been making things too complicated?”  Of course, I probably have and in upbeat, happy ways Shift Happens came at the perfect end-of-year time to refresh my perspective and provide a little inspiration for entering 2012.

“The whole world gains when one person has the courage to heal, to love, and to be happy.  No one is healed alone,” writes Holden in the last chapter, appropriately titled, “Your Happiness is a Gift.”  “You are a gift bearer.  You are the “light of the world,” and so is the person next to you.  Do not forget your purpose.  Do not be distracted with “getting” and “having” and “to-ing” and “fro-ing.”  Do not give in to fear, and do not let old wounds blow you off course.  Your healing is a gift.  Your happiness is a gift.  Your loving touch is a gift,” he writes in what is my favorite passage from the book.

Holden is a “happiness” author who has written Happiness NOW! and Be Happy as well as undertaken a ‘Happiness Project‘ focused on the how and why people are (or are not) happy.  There is something affirming about a person who has dedicated his life to the study of happiness — something that makes me think twice (and without cynicism) about his statement, “Happiness is an inner light switch with no off light.”

There are all sorts of uplifting and motivational books out there and that requires some discernment for us readers.  This one is a gem — an excellent compilation of what-you-already-may-know, supplemented with any number of what-you-may-not-have-thought-of ways to see the world.  Some of my favorite examples marked on dog-eared pages:

*  “I have found that whenever you clear your stuff about God, your life shifts.  Life gets easier.  To be happy you do not have to be religious about God but you do have to be unafraid about God….What a pity it is that we made a religion out of God.”

*  “The world changes when you do…..being willing to show up differently is what makes something different happen.”

* “The meaning of life is made, not found,”

* “Any pain or struggle is a signal to relax and let go.”

* “Think less, live more.”

* “Anger always hides a gift.”

These are of course, just snippets — the book elaborates fills out each one with anecdotes, research and other thought-provoking tales.

The book is available for purchase at and  More information on Robert Holden is available on his website at

This is another book review in my partnership with Hay House. I was not financially compensated for this post. I received the book from Hay House for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

Are You as Happy as You Make Your Mind Up to Be?

I read the following passage the other day and wondered, “Where did the author get this crazy idea?” and “What’s this wacky idea about resigning yourself to your fate? I disagree.” What do you think? Here it is:

Abe Lincoln once remarked that ‘most folks are about as happy as they make their minds to be’. He was right. I saw a vivid illustration of that truth as I was walking up the stairs of the Long Island Railroad station in New York. Directly in front of me thirty or forty crippled boys on canes and crutches were struggling up the stairs. One boy had to be carried up. I was astonished at their laughter and gaiety. I spoke about it to one of the men in charge of the boys. “Oh yes,” he said, “when a boy realizes that he is going to be a cripple for life, he is shocked at first; but after he gets over the shock, he usually resigns himself to his fate and then becomes as happy as normal boys.” I felt like taking my hat off to those boys. They taught me a lesson I hope I shall never forget.” Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People, 1936. Reissued in 1964.