the very most significant influence on how happy or how unhappy we may become is our world outlook or thought pattern. facing exactly the same situation, one can feel just as happy as unhappy, depending on the way one looks at it.
when Roosevelt was robbed in his early life, he felt so grateful as to be particularly happy for 3 reasons: the robber had stolen only some of his belongings rather than all of his; Roosevelt was not physically harmed during the robbery; and the robber was not Roosevelt himself. a different person might well have looked at the situation dramatically from a different perspective, and thus become angry and unhappy instead. for another example, when criticized by the same composition teacher for the same reason, one student felt happy, believing that the teacher was trying to help him to writer better, while the other felt unhappy because he thought the teacher simply disliked him. as a result, one student eventually became an international famous author; the other remained good for nothing during his entire lifetime.
for most non-religious people, to obtain happiness means to gain a positive mentality. only when one develops a conducive thought pattern can one hope to attain an informed sense of happiness.
for most religious people, it is their faith that helps them to internalize a beneficial world outlook. genuinely religious people tend to be happier than secular people mainly because the former usually have a a more conducive thought pattern.
1/ more than anything else, one's thought pattern contributes most significantly to one's sense of happiness or unhappiness.
2/ whether you were born with a happy personality or not, you have to develop a positive mentality to live a happy life.
3/ a conducive thought pattern is not innate; rather, it can and should be acquired through learning and training.
4/ to live a happy life does not necessarily mean to feel happy 24 hours a day or 7 days a week; rather, it means to have a conducive thought pattern which allows you to have a sustainable informed sense of happiness.
5/ a conducive thought pattern is the biggest happifier.
6/ personally, despite of the unusually strong cynical and pessimistic tendencies that i seem to have been born with (my parents have told me many times that i never smiled in my childhood), i have developed a conducive thought pattern through self-learning and self-training, especially in recent years; as a result, i am a happy man.