The solution, I realized, is to choose success. Fly off to sit on a dais, or stay at home $400 richer—both are success. Enjoy the toast, or skip it and feel skinny. Success isn't objectively verifiable like the height of the Empire State Building or the location of Missouri. It's a matter of attitude, of interpretation.

Some people tend to notice what's right in what they do. The rest of us must cultivate this trait.

The sense of being correct or incorrect resides in each of us. We project our verdict onto the world. I am essentially right, I told myself. A big mistake wasn't made when I was placed here on this planet. I am filled with more kindness than greed, more good thinking than stupidity.

That morning in my kitchen, I got up from the table and slung another slice of bread into the toaster, and when it popped up, I buttered it and munched away. I licked my lips. I decided to feel satisfied. And I was.

Bonnie Friedman is the author of The Thief of Happiness: The Story of an Extraordinary Psychotherapy (Beacon Press).

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