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The Simple Lesson: What traveling to Haiti helped me remember

I recently traveled to the wonderful country of Haiti to speak and to launch a few projects.

After my plane touched down, I began to walk on the runway to begin my journey, I heard the sound of music being played. The atmosphere was vibrant and the energy was high. I navigated my way through customs and entered the streets of Cap-Haïtien.

As my driver steered through the congested streets, I took time to take in the culture that surrounded me. I saw the beautiful mountains that bordered the city, motorcyclists and tap-taps filled to capacity, cows mixing in with traffic, and hundreds of thousands of people moving rapidly in and out of the streets. Everybody was heading somewhere.

As you may know, Haiti is categorized as a third-world country, and is ranked as one of the lowest countries economically in the Western Hemisphere. As I continued my journey I could see poverty all around me.

Over the years, a number of things have caused challenges for Haiti. Earthquakes and hurricanes have taken a toll over the land. Much of the infrastructure has had to be rebuilt over the years because it was either damaged or destroyed, but ironically, the spirits of the many people that I came in contact with during my stay were stronger than you could even imagine.

As I walked the streets of the community, I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people with incredible stories.

As one would look around and see the circumstances that have seemed to plague the country, you would think that it would be hard to keep a smile if you lived in such conditions.

But that’s not what I experienced.

I was blessed and inspired by people that were full of love. Their smiles lit up the environment around them. Their voices were wrapped with joy. Their attitudes were inspiring. The positivity that they each put off was contagious. Their spirits were rich in happiness.

I had to remind myself of something that we too often forget: The happiest people don’t have to have the best of everything to be happy…they just make the most of everything they have.

Happiness can’t be bought, consumed, driven, or traveled to. It’s a choice, not a result. Happiness is the experience of living every moment with gratitude.

Nothing will make you happy until you choose to be happy. No person will make you happy unless you decide to be happy.

Your happiness will not come to you. It can only come from you.

There’s going to be stress, challenges, and struggles in life, but it’s your choice whether you allow your circumstances to affect you.

Never allow anything to steal your joy or rob you of your happiness. In spite of your circumstances you can still find reasons to be happy. There is hidden value in life and we each should make a daily effort to search for that treasure. It’s found in every moment, but we can’t overlook it.

You may not have everything that you want, but be grateful that you have everything that you need.

It’s not all about what comes to you in life, it’s more about what you bring to life. Bring joy. Bring positivity. Bring love. Choose to be happy.

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