Wanna Be Happy? STOP This.

person hiding in closetYou know, there are a lot of self help articles and books out there selling the idea of happiness in a nutshell. I’ve always kind of rejected the idea of a formula for happiness, as if someone else could possibly know and then tell me how to be happy. There is no one formula for happiness, it is subjective, we all get to define what makes us happy and should be skeptical of any “instant happiness” pitches: pill, pint, pair of panties, or paraphernalia (you get the point). Happiness is the fulfillment of our deepest and truest desires and values as well as allowing for situations that we cannot yet imagine; it is unique to our own genuine and individual self. I do however buy the idea that we can sabotage our ability to be happy, I read a great article that summed up all the ways we can sabotage our happiness in  “10 Habits You Must Quit to Be Happy”. 


  1. “Quit procrastinating on your goals.” We gotta start somewhere, even if it is just writing the idea out. There are a lot of couch potato geniuses complaining about how they had this great idea once, but someone else got it out there first. Potential doesn’t mean much if it is never developed.
  2. “Quit blaming others and making excuses.” We can all come up with a bunch of great reasons why we should be depressed and rightfully so. Everyone has a sob story and obstacles in our path. But where does that leave us — miserable. It is your choice to place control of your choices in another’s hands. However, it is a self defeating fantasy that it is someone else’s fault that we aren’t living up to our potential.
  3. “Quit trying to avoid change.” Live in the reality of now. The only constant is change. Darwin doesn’t say the strongest will survive, he says that the most adaptable will survive. We cannot adapt if we will not accept changes in ourselves or our worlds for what they are. If we define our reality in the context of the way we think it “should be” versus the way it actually is, we become ill equipped to cope with the playing field’s limitations and our newly acquired abilities, resources or skills. This is maturity.
  4. “Quit trying to control the uncontrollable.” There is very little we actually control in our world, not other people nor our futures. We have influence in our relationships, with our health, with our finances, successes and safety, but in reality much of this is left to luck, fate, or whatever else you want to call it. We have control over our choices, not even necessarily the options — but we do control our choices. We only have so much energy to spend in our pursuits, make sure you invest that energy in areas that are really important to you and what you want out of your life. The fantasy of control is seductive, but ultimately an exhausting and unrewarding exercise in futility.
  5. “Quit talking down to yourself” I heard a quote once (I’m sure I am misquoting it) “If you believe you can or you can’t you are right”. There is alot to be said for self fulfilling prophecies. There are enough nay-sayers out there, why add your voice to the choir, and with that being said, it would also be a good idea to surround yourself with people who believe in you as well. You will get much more accomplished when you aren’t wasting your energy trying to combat the negativity.
  6. “Quit criticizing others” One of my motto’s is: “My success is not contingent on another’s failure”. Sometimes it helps us in dealing with our feelings of inadequacy to put others down around us, but again, this is a waste of energy and ultimately brings us down. Being negative is not the same thing as being realistic, we never get a realistic view of possible outcomes when we ignore an entire section of the plethora of possibilities. If someone is disappointing you, it is more than likely a problem with your investment in your unrealistic expectations of that person. Focus on your own efforts and the elements necessary to accomplish your goals, if someone else is not helping or contributing to your goals, then find someone else to be on the team.
  7. “Quit running from your problems and fears.” Everyone who has ever tried to accomplish anything has encountered obstacles and setbacks. Nobody is a pro at anything new in the beginning. We all have limitations, ignoring our problems and succumbing to our fears debilitates us and ultimately steals our ability to really learn anything new or accomplish anything remarkable.
  8. “Quit living in another time and place.” I don’t know how many times I have heard from new college students something in the vein of “I wish I was as (smart, pretty, successful, popular…fill in the blank).” The reality is that you can never go back to that place and time again, it will never be the same, and more than likely we have a skewed perception of what we were like back then anyway. I can promise you that you are smarter today than you were in high school, you are also more accomplished as well. We have all heard the cliche about the big fish in a small pond, feeling small when they are a big fish with other big fish in a bigger pond. This is college. You are in an environment with other intelligent and accomplished people, instead of pining for days when you were the “best”, why not use that energy in actually expanding your wisdom and experience and learn something new in the here and now.
  9. “Quit trying to be someone you’re not.” My mom said once “It takes all kinds of people to make a world.” This means a lot to me, especially when I get down on myself for the areas in my skill set or character that are not my strengths. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, when we invest our time and energy trying to compare to some ideal or idea of the person we think we are supposed to be or be like, we miss out on the opportunity to actually develop our genuine strengths which are usually in line with our personal value systems. Trying to fulfill another person’s expectations or our perception of their expectations often times leaves us feeling exhausted, lonely, and defeated. You have something to offer, be true to yourself, follow your heart and reaching your goals will be that much more fulfilling.
  10. “Quit being ungrateful.” Nobody accomplishes anything great, alone. Very rarely do people even enjoy sustained happiness completely alone. Supportive relationships begin with respect, appreciation and gratitude both with ourselves and with others. We are all given chances from time to time in our lives, opportunities to expand the possibilities within our world. Nothing steals the joy out of any situation more than an attitude of entitlement; gratitude can make all the difference in the amount and quality of happiness you enjoy when you have the experience of accomplishment.
Happiness is the result of a series of choices we make. People do not fall into sustained happiness magically. Clean out the clutter in your happiness house and make room for what you really want in there.

Original content by Ron


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