While it might be tempting to simply sneak away, sooner or later we will each need to confront the question "what is real - for ME?"

With #7 in the list of “15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently” we tackle the issue of lookalikes.

By this I mean, when one thing masquerades as another, how do we know which one is “real”?

What if they are both real – for instance, what if the presence of a “problem” is as real in the life of an unhappy person as the presence of a “challenge” is real in the life of a happy person?

It is for just such a dilemma as this that Ms. Purpose Fairy (aka our beloved “15 Powerful Things'” authoress) apparently wrote her article.

According to #7, “Happy people will see PROBLEMS as CHALLENGES, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lays many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.”

Period, the end.

With most of the other points, there is additional explication, quotes from famous people, etc. But with #7, this is all we get – and this is all we need.

In my personal experience, this is also one of the easiest habits I have found to learn and one of the hardest to unlearn. This is because our me-centric culture often exerts little effort to encourage and every effort to tear down. Swirling around us is a capitalistic “survival of the fittest” culture that embraces the use of shame, vicious peer pressure, bullying, blaming, pointing fingers, dog-eat-dog behaviors and the like to ensure that those who have already clawed their way to the top can stay, and those beneath who are still jockeying for position have increasingly less advantageous positions to choose from.

Herein lies “the problem.”

The challenge, then, becomes creating a culture that works better for us, one day and one life (preferably our own) at a time.

When Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world,” he didn’t mean “because everyone else has already volunteered for another project.” He highlighted the necessity of us, our lives and the change all inhabiting the same space at the same time because that is the only way change – positive or otherwise – can ever occur.

Today’s Takeaway: Are you disturbed like I am by the problem-centric culture we ourselves and the next generation are continually exposed to? I have found it helpful in these moments to remember that the people I care for most – my friends, my family, my nieces and nephews, the college students I speak to – are not looking at “the culture” for direction. They are looking at ME. I really CAN take on this challenge and make a difference. You can too.