It’s been 150 years since President Lincoln’s assassination at Ford's Theater in Washington, but his words and deeds still deliver a strong message of inspiration.

Ever a figure of interest and respect in the history of U.S. presidents, Lincoln seems to have been a keen observer of human behavior and a pragmatic viewer of the skills of others as he went about the business of keeping a nation together, before, during and after however briefly a wrenching civil war.

Lincoln also had a wonderful grasp of that most uncommon of all senses common sense! Lincoln once said, "Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." Cognitive researchers, including Martin Seligman and Albert Bandura, have scientifically proven, a century and half later, that Lincoln was correct.

The word "cognitive" simply means having to do with thought or perception, and cognitive psychologists like Seligman and Bandura operate on the principle that it is our thoughts, not external events, that create our moods and the way we view our days, our work, our relationships in essence, our life.

Bottom line, it's not so much what happens to us, but rather how we respond to what happens to us that ultimately determine how we feel about ourselves. Our response matters greatly!

We can learn to respond to what’s happening around us, and to us, in ways that create success and happiness instead of failure and depression! We can learn to detect our negative thoughts and stop them in their tracks, and we can learn to substitute more useful thoughts in their place.

Good or bad, from an early age, we learned how to create our current moods and attitudes from the environment that surrounded us.

The good news is that we can unlearn them as well. Millions of people have done the same, and there is no special college degree or complex learning required!

The information is out there, but you must take accountability for seeking it out and using it and for making the changes needed to make in order to learn and grow.

There is no better time to start than right now. Take 2-3 minutes quiet time to ask yourself “what would make me truly happy and content?” Using the answer, then put together a short list of action items which will help you achieve your desires. Make sure to replace all negative thoughts with positive affirmations to ensure you’re doing what you can to be successful. Remember Lincoln’s words, and make up your mind to be happy.