05/29/2009 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

How To Be Happy: Interview With Marci Shimoff

Happiness is one of the most natural yet elusive parts of our human nature. Like the butterflies that we chased as a child, it is often sought and seldom caught. Many spend their lifetime thinking, "If I only had X, then I'd be happy", only to achieve X and still find themselves living discontented lives.

It's difficult for most people to name five people that they would describe as truly happy. Not just happy in the moment, or happy with their job or relationship, but happy regardless of their exterior circumstances. Interestingly enough, these five people aren't always the wealthiest or most successful people we know.

These happy folks are not only difficult to find; some don't believe they exist at all. I did a quick survey online through Twitter as I was writing this blog. Less than half who responded thought that they were personally happy or could name five others who were happy.

Some described happiness as a myth or a fairy tale, others as something that is only found in fleeting moments.

We spend our whole lives working hard to provide a good life for our families- with the end goal of happiness, yet, we struggle to name five happy people! Upon reflection, I wondered if my friends and family would describe me as a happy person. Of course I hope they would, but I wonder how they see me. Would I be on their list of five happy people? What is it that happy people know that so many don't?

No matter their background, circumstances in life, demographic or socio-economic background, happy people have one thing in common. They know a simple secret that most of us are missing- happiness is a choice.

Today's Inspirational Luminary, Marci Shimoff, author of Happy For No Reason, wasn't born with a naturally happy disposition, but she was born with the happiest man in the world as her father, and an insatiable curiosity. When her dad shared his best advice, "Honey, just be happy!", she was determined to find out just how to do that.

Marci interviewed one hundred unconditionally happy people. The one thing they all had in common was the belief that this is a friendly universe; one that's out to support us.

Einstein said the most important thing you can ask yourself is, "Is this a friendly universe?" If you believe the world is out to get you and live an "Oh, poor me" existence, you'll have a great story to tell but no one will want to listen.

On the other hand, if you believe it is a friendly universe, that you are supported and that there's a lesson or a gift in each experience, you will live a happier, more fulfilled life. You'll still have adversity, but you'll be better prepared with a greater understanding of the higher purpose behind what's showing up.

When I think of the happiest people I know, I realize they expect the best from life. They have a vitality that attracts people and experiences to them. They are living a life, following their heart and their passions. These happy people are givers unto life; the lights that everyone is drawn to like moths to a flame.

Even though some of them have experienced significant adversity in their lives, their happiness isn't based on external conditions, but on their own connection within.

How can we change to live a life like this? According to Marci, the only difference between people who are deeply, truly happy and those that aren't, are their habits. "Our habits need to support our personal expansion of mind, body, heart and soul".

Research shows that it takes twenty-one days to create a new habit. In our interview, Marci recommends that in order to improve your life, choose one habit and focus on it for the next three weeks. There are many ways to be happy, but it all comes from our habits and most importantly, what we choose to create as our habits.

We've nothing to lose in trying something for twenty-one days. Listen to your heart, pick that which sings to you, and start with gratitude for the things already in your life. From that place, choose a healthy routine with exercise, meditation or prayer, nourishing foods, lots of water and plenty of sleep. Add a heavy dose of inspiration and appreciation, surround yourself with inspirational people, and get ready to know a new level of happiness.

And remember, your happiness IS your choice. You have the power inside to be, do or create anything, including your own happiness. So go shine your light on the world, knowing that each day we're given the gift of a new day and the choice to be happy for no reason.

We invite you to listen to today's FREE Inspired Interview with host, Gail Lynne Goodwin, Ambassador of Inspiration from and today's guest, Marci Shimoff, author of Happy For No Reason.