“Put the Lime In the Coconut”

The secret of happiness is this: let your interests be as wide as possible… -Bertrand Russell

Bertrand Russell was a British philosopher and mathematician. Most of the things he’s famous for are over my head. However, I like the above quote. It pairs nicely with one from French writer and philosopher Simone de Beauvoir, 

“In old age, we should wish still to have passions strong enough to prevent us turning in on ourselves.” 

I’m pretty sure that’s true for all ages. Too much Self focus is lethal! I’m not talking about building self-image or self-confidence. I’m referring to Self as a central point of reference.

I used to believe that life-experience was determined by circumstance. I’ve come to experience, however, that context is even more important. When Self is our primary context (the default position), we’re usually headed for a fall.

If you doubt this, test the theory out on people you know. Who’s more joyfully resilient to difficulties, inwardly focused people with a narrow band of interests, or outwardly focused individuals with broad interests? I think you’ll find; there’s no comparison! 

In his book, A Swim In a Pond in the Rain, American writer George Saunders noted: 

“There is no world save the one we make with our minds, and the mind’s predisposition determines the type of world we see.” 

That’s for sure! Whenever I have the presence of mind to witness why I’m upset, I usually find it’s because something happened against my wishes. What kind of fool expects the world to always cater to his desires?

Wait, don’t answer that!

Lately, the world has dealt us some cards I’m not impressed with. There’s not a lot I can do about that, which leaves two options; let it drag me down, or accept that “it is what it is” and move on. 

Which brings me to my main point… The Secret of Happiness. (Please forgive my hubris, there’s only been about eighty-thousand books written on the subject.) 

Three Steps for a Happy Life:


The more disturbing our hardship, the more we tend to dwell on it, rolling it over repeatedly in our minds. The only remedy I’ve found to ease the pain from this swirling gyre is to notice when I’m doing it, and then hit the stop button. I never succeed on my first try.  I usually have to hit the stop button over and over again before finally squenching the negative thought.  If we don’t stop touching our wounds, they never heal.


If there’s an action I can take to improve a bad situation, I take it. If not, I focus on fully accepting the situation as it is without regret! This is hard. It takes more discipline than the first step.  I’m still working on it, but I’m making progress, and it really helps.


Once we hit the stop button and fully accept a situation without regret, it’s then time to move on and shift our focus away from Self to something uplifting. For me, that’s often the beauty of the day or even the moment. There is always plenty to be thankful about. 

Life can be difficult.  We try as best we can to control our lives, but things always happen that knock us for a loop. Sometimes, our only choice is to accept it without regret. If you are a regular reader, you already know that I get inspiration from song lyrics. Here’s one for difficult times:

“Put the lime in the coconut and drink it all up.” 

Remember the Harry Nilsson song from 1971? If you do, it will be stuck in your head for the rest of the day! 

Life mixes in the sour with the sweet. Sometimes there’s no choice other than to “Drink it all up.”


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Proceeds donated to support individuals suffering with anxiety and/or depression.

2 Replies to ““Put the Lime In the Coconut””

  1. I like this comment a lot——” If we don’t stop touching our wounds, they never heal”

    One has to try their best and understand their true needs and feelings and then learn to accept their situation and move on from it—– There are so many new things coming one’s direction and to dwell too long on a bad thing or situation will mire you down and you will miss the next real opportunity.

    They call all of these Life’s Lessons—– a truly rich life has many, many Lessons !!!

    Thanks again Tim for sharing your Thoughts and Lessons with all of us each week—–reading your thoughts each week makes my life broader and richer.



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