I remember when I used to walk my girls to school a few years back, I used to meet various other parents on the path. One day one of these parents stopped me on my way back and demanded to know why I always seemed so cheerful.
The simple answer was, and remains, 'I choose to be cheerful'. It's an effort, a discipline - and it keeps me sharp and focused.
Does bad stuff happen in my life? Yes, of course. But I try not to choose to view it as being disastrous, because rarely have I found that becoming a victim about things serves any useful long-term purpose. All it seems to do is get you deeper in the hole of victim-think.
I don't try to fix my pain, I don't deny its existence - and perhaps most significantly, neither do I let it start controlling how I choose to live my life and interact with others.
I have my painful times and I know they are there to teach me something about myself. I hold the thought that there is perfection somehow in what I have experienced and a great lesson to learn somewhere.
And when you realise that you are always learning, and that those lessons often come in the most unlikely ways and through the most unexpected people, well- what is there not to be cheerful about?
An open heart and a willingness to learn from everything are two very powerful tools in personal development...