Making Your Mind Smile

In 1991, Steven Spielberg, Robin Williams, Dustin Hoffman, Julia Roberts, and plenty more came together and put out a movie called Hook.  It was a sequel to the movie, Peter Pan, and the critics didn’t seem to like it much, only giving it a lowly 29% on Rotten Tomatoes. Director Steven Spielberg didn’t like it much either, but it fared far better with the actual viewers who gave it an audience score of 76%.  I’m siding with the audience score on this one, partially because I love any movie Robin Williams is in, and partially because of one scene from the movie that stayed with me.

For those who have never seen this movie, Peter Pan’s young children are abducted by his old arch-enemy, Captain Hook (Dustin Hoffman.)  Peter Pan had become a middle-aged lawyer named Peter Banning (Robin Williams,) who has returned to his fairy-tale origins as Peter Pan to save them, and perhaps, even save himself.  He remembers little of his past, and must learn, all over again, the magic of his past, particularly how to fly again… which he struggles with mightily.

In the movie, the process of flying is actually quite easy; it just requires that you find your “happy thought.”  This is a thought that calms you down – a thought that makes you feel positive – a thought that makes your mind smile.  It takes a while, but when Robin Williams finally begins to rise off the ground and fly, he later looks at his young son and proudly proclaims: “Do you know what my happy thought was?  It was you.”

Your happy thought, or happy thoughts, are more valuable than you can imagine.  They probably won’t allow you to fly, but they may do something even more important; they’ll help you relieve stress, refresh your mind, and help you to perform at your best.  Do you think that might be of value to you?

So, what’s your happy thought?  Maybe it’s petting a dog or cat.  A study from Washington State University found that petting a dog or cat can relieve stress in just 10 minutes. Maybe it’s the beach, or a forest, or a restaurant, or a childhood place.  Quite frankly, it can be any place or event that brings you joy.

Now, please let me remind you of how helpful finding your happy thought can be.  Not every day is a positive day. The more desperate we are to force ourselves to be positive, the more challenging it is to actually feel that way.  That’s where your happy thought can come to the rescue.  You don’t need to be on a vacation, or physically pet a dog to use that memory to calm yourself down, put a smile on your face, or make you feel positive.  Regardless of how much more upbeat you might feel, we can certainly agree that recalling and applying a true, deep, happy thought will help you perform better.

All happy thought events eventually come to an end, but not without leaving you with many great memories and eagerness for the next one.  The good news is, your happy thought is a place that you can visit anytime you feel the need, and when you do, one thing is for sure; you’ll benefit from it.  So, what’s your happy thought?

Related: How to Hook and Hold Your Audience