What's up DOC? You'll be up! Just as soon as you read this article and start putting it to work. Nine years ago, Stacy asked me the following question. Can't you give us a formula for happiness? Can't you give us a way we can understand and use it? This way we can practice it, and it will always be there for us. I told her, I had no formula for happiness, or ever hear of one. I created one and if you don't know about it, here it is. I have spent a great deal of time working on this formula. It is a Happiness Formula that will help to understand the way happiness can work for you.

You can become your own Happiness Doctor. The title gives you a hint of the formula. The DOC letters stand for Decision, Obstacle and Choice. The formula is as follows: Happiness = Decision - Obstacle + Choice. Your decision to be happy is negatively affected by obstacles and can be controlled by your choice.

Start off with the decision to be happy, and you now have 100 percent happiness. If you don't start off with happiness, you're never going to find happiness. Happiness is an inside job. Anyone can be happy right now, even with problems.

Be compelled to make the decision to be happy now. The moment you make a decision you create power with it. Your life is too important to be left to mere chance. By making this decision you change from passive to powerful. This gives you the power to carry out your decision.

Believe it or not, if you are not happy to begin with, even a positive occurrence could not possibly make you happy for long. For example the fear of loosing something you just received would make you unhappy, because you were not happy to begin with it would not sustain you.

Let's say you are 100 percent happy now. Very soon an obstacle presents itself in life. It can be overcome, if handled in the right way. The first step is to understand that life is offering something to you that you are seeing as an obstacle. The second part of the formula is the Decision - Obstacle. You have to deduct the obstacle from the 100 percent happiness you had.

The next thing we start to realize is that the Obstacle has a negative value. Zero = no problem, and 100 = a very big problem. If a flat tire represents 60 on the obstacle scale than you deducted 60 from your 100 percent happiness and you are left with only 40 percent. Once you are under 51 percent you have given up controlling interest in managing your life. Happiness is control.

Now, what do we do about it? The last part is Obstacle + Choice. What choice you make will determine how much happiness and power you will have. Your choice, not your problem will determine your happiness and power.

What happens when you have an obstacle? You run up against an obstacle and you lose your happiness. We think that the obstacle we are facing is taking our happiness away. It is necessary not to make the obstacle more than it is. It is important to make happiness more important than the problem. When you think more about the problem than you think about the solution, you lose all control. That is how you get wrapped up in the problem and lose your happiness. You can take control of the obstacles in your life, by making the best choice.

You can even make a choice to live with the problems you cannot change. This immediately raises your acceptance level of the problem and gives you back the happiness and control you were losing. You are back in control again and balancing the scales at 100 percent in your own favor.

It is always about what you can do about the problem that matters. If you treat a problem on a scale of 0--100 as a 90 and if 0 = a feather and 90 = a sledgehammer. You are better off hitting yourself with the feather than the sledgehammer. You have to find a way to reduce the problem in your mind with the right choice so you don't hurt yourself. The feather allows you to be light on yourself and more accepting of things and change them the best way you know how.

Happiness = Decision - Obstacle + Choice. You must have the intention, the decision to be happy, you must handle the obstacle that comes your way by making the best choices you can. You must want happiness even more than you want to get rid of the problem.

You can think of the happiness formula with decision as the highway, and obstacles might be the weather, traffic and construction delays, accidents, and choice would be the steering wheel. As long as you stay on the highway and have taken hold of the steering wheel, you have ultimate control over your destiny. The obstacles along the way increase your driving proficiency, and make you a better driver. By taking control your able to see that what other people call problems are just life's little road bumps.

Being happy will sustain you for the rest of your life, or for eternity, whichever comes first. (You have to think about that one.) Without the decision to be happy, you will never be happy. With the decision, the obstacles you encounter will only make you more determined. Happiness is power because of the control you have over yourself, by making the best choice for every obstacle you encounter. We live in a country that gives us the freedom to carry out our own pursuit of happiness. You have the power to make your life the best it can be. Choice is your God-given right. Choose wisely, choose well, and by all means, choose happiness.

Lionel Ketchian is the founder of the Happiness Club. He can be reached at PrintLRK@aol.com. The Web site is www.HappinessClub.com.