Essay # 1
The cultivation of cheerfulness.
Cheerfulness makes for success and happiness in life.
Cheerfulness makes sunshine for others.
Some people are naturally of a cheerful disposition. They habitually look on the lighter side of life, and even when the sky is clouded, they look forward hopefully to the sunny days that are coming. But all are not so. Many are by nature inclined to despondency. They see only the dark side of life and are easily discouraged and depressed. Such people should learn to cultivate cheerfulness; for it would be a great blessing to themselves, and to others.
A cheerful man is much more likely to make a success in his life than one who is always gloomy and sad. As the old verse says:
“A merry heart goes all the way,
Your sad tires in a mile, O”.
The cheerful man rises above trouble like a cork, while the despondent man sinks to the bottom like a stone. He faces difficulties bravely, and makes light of obstacles in his path; while the gloomy person makes a mountain out of a mole-hill, and cries, “There is a lion in the way!” And even when cheerfulness does not bring success, it brings happiness out of all sorts of little things which go unnoticed by the sad eyes of his gloomy brothers.
It is still more necessary to cultivate cheerfulness for the sake of our friends and companions. They have their own cares and worries, and we have no right to make life more difficult for them with our sighs and frowns and gloomy faces. A gloomy and sad person depresses everyone he meets and becomes an unwelcome companion; whereas a cheery friend makes life brighter for everyone. We must learn to hide our own troubles, to “consume our own smoke,” and, even when we feel sad, keep a smiling face and a cheery word for others. To force others to share our sad feelings is selfish. There is enough sorrow in the world without our unnecessarily increasing it with our own depression. Even at the cost of effort, we must rather increase the sunshine by our cheery presence.
Essay # 2
A cheerful person is always more disposed to be happy than to be miserable. He looks at the bright side of things, and thus often derives pleasure from circumstances which would depress the spirits of an ordinary man. This being the case, to say that, cheerfulness promotes happiness, is as much a truism as to say that leads to the doing of just acts, and truthfulness prevents men from telling lies. We may go further, and say that cheerfulness promotes happiness more than anything else in the world. The cheerful beggar is far happier than the melancholy millionaire. As sources of happiness, neither wealth, nor fame, nor beauty, nor power, nay, not even health itself, can for a moment be compared with a cheerful disposition: As a rule, health and cheerfulness are associated together in the same persons; but, in the rare cases- when this is not so, we find that health fails to secure happiness and that a confirmed invalid may be happy in spite of weakness and bodily pain.
There are many delicate women; condemned by what seemed a cruel fate to pass their lives on a sofa who have by their cheerful endurance of the inevitable, so far conquered fortune as to be happy themselves and make all around them happy. So true it is that our happiness depends on ourselves, that is, on our minds, far more than on the gifts of fortune.
Another great advantage of cheerfulness is that it enables a man to do better work and prevents him from being easily exhausted. This truth is well expressed by the homely words of the Shakespearean Song, that tells us how A merry heart goes all day, Your sad tires in a mile”. The labourer who whistles over his work goes homeless tired and can work harder than another who as he labours, broods over real or imaginary troubles. This is also true of intellectual work, which is seriously impaired by depression of spirits. Therefore, as the cheerful man is happy himself, and by his cheerfulness adds to the happiness of all who come into contact with him, and in addition is enabled to work all the better because of his cheerfulness, it is a plain duty for everybody to do his best to cultivate a cheerful spirit.
But some will say that cheerfulness is a gift of nature, and cannot be attained by any effort of the will. There is a certain amount of truth in this objection. It is true that some men are born with cheerful dispositions and others with melancholy temperaments. Nevertheless, it is possible for the cheerful person to make himself more cheerful, and for the melancholy man to diminish his tendency to depression of spirits.
The two best means for the attainment of this desirable end are plenty of congenial work and attention to the rules of health. Although, as was said above, it is possible for the healthy to indulge in melancholy, it is almost always found that improvement of health promotes cheerfulness. A very large part of the melancholy in the world is due to preventable indigestion. The connection between cheerfulness and regular occupation is not quite so close, but the experience of life shows that the greatest depression of spirits is to be found among those who either won’t work or unfortunately cannot get work. Therefore, if we wish to be cheerful, we must be careful of our health and avoid idleness. By so doing we shall become more cheerful, and the effect will react on the cause; for we shall find that in its turn oily cheerfulness will improve our health and the quality of our work.