Is happiness something that happens to you, or something that you make happen for yourself? If you ask "Glee’s" Jenna Ushkowitz that question, she’ll tell you it’s the latter.
In fact, she’s written the book on finding your own glee through the power of self-affirmation and positive thinking. “Choosing Glee: 10 Rules to Finding Inspiration, Happiness, and the Real You” is part memoir, part self-help tome, and all motivational. Written through anecdotal vignettes, personal photos, lists and charts, “Choosing Glee” is Ushkowitz’ way of giving back to the world, putting out positivity as a means of reaping more good vibes. “I like to think that positivity is a choice, and you wake up and make a conscious decision,” says the 27-year-old actress. And though she admits, “I’ve never been through any really dark times where I hit rock bottom,” she seems to know what she's talking about.
So, what’s this book really about?
It’s 10 rules that I live by, to success, to where I’ve gotten, where I am. I just wanted to share that with my fans and readers. You know, to tell them that it’s something you can choose to believe in every day. It’s like your mantra. You know, there are like people who feel that they’re the victim and it’s always happening to them? You can turn that around, and change your outlook on life, and it really makes life a little bit brighter.
Have you always thought this way?
Yeah, I think I’ve always been this way. You could say I was born this way, but I also think I owe it to my parents teaching me to have a good head on my shoulders, and rely on my support system, and always stay true to who you are.
But what about somebody who wasn’t born that way?
Well, again, it’s making it a choice. You make it a choice, and every day you wake up and make it your mantra and say today I’m going to make the best of every situation and look at every situation with the glass half full. And then, after awhile, it sort of becomes subconscious and it becomes a way of life. It’s a lifestyle change, it’s like a diet. People always say, oh, I’m going to diet for this amount of time — well, it’s actually a lifestyle change you need to make.
Can you think of a recent situation where you had to make that choice?
Sure, I mean there was a time in the industry where I did a pilot — my belief is that everything happens for a reason — so I was doing this pilot and it got picked up, and I was all excited, and then I got this phone call that they actually weren’t going to pick me up, that they were going to recast me. And the first thing I thought was, 'Oh, well, I’m not a good actor; I’m fat, I’m ugly, they hate me!' (laughs) And then you turn around and say, you know what? It wasn’t me, it wasn’t meant to be, and actually it turned out that the reason was that I was a little too young. But you still believe, Oh, they're lying,' so I went to my friends and we vegged out and did our thing, it’s like a breakup. But then you get over it. And I then went on to book “Spring Awakening,” and then “Glee,” and wouldn’t have finished college. So you have to look at it like, well, I wouldn’t have been able to experience those things.
So you’re obviously a big believer in karma.
Oh yeah, 100 percent. Everything happens for a reason and I believe in karma. I believe that what you give to the world — the energy that you give to the world — is what you get back. And it will come back to you if you’re not good to it. (laughs)