We all want to be happy, but sometimes difficulties and circumstances out of our control can rain on our parade and make our lives unhappy. Most of the time, it’s our very own thoughts, actions and habits that cause us dissatisfaction and we don’t even realize it.
As Marcus Aurelius said, “Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking.”
Most of us weren’t born with a sunny disposition, but we can all learn how to have more satisfaction and meaning in our lives by unlearning the destructive daily habits that are stealing our joy.
The following is an article written by Marc and Angel Chernoff, authors of 1000 Little Things Happy Successful People Do Differently, that will help you become aware of habits that may be hurting you and how to overcome them.
#1. Focusing on everyone’s story except your own.
Don’t be so satisfied with the success stories of others and how things have gone for them that you forget to write your own. Unfold your own tale and bring it to life. You have everything you need to become what you are capable of becoming. Incredible change happens when you decide to take control. This means consuming less and creating more. It means refusing to let others do your thinking, talking, and deciding for you. It means learning to respect and use your own ideas and instincts to write your passage.
If you want your life story to soar to new heights, you’ve got to clear a path, reduce the time-sinks and burdens weighing you down, and pick up the things that give you wings. Keep your best wishes and your biggest goals close to your heart and dedicate time to them every day. If you truly care about what you do and you work diligently at it, there’s almost nothing you can’t accomplish.
#2. Waiting for the perfect moment.
Don’t buy into the myth of the perfect moment. Moments aren’t perfect; they’re what you make them. So many people wait around for the stars to align to do what they’re here to do. The perfect moment, the perfect opportunity, the perfect state of being, etc. Wake up! These states of perfection are myths. They do not exist.
Your ability to grow to your highest potential is directly related to your willingness to act in the face of imperfection. You will come to succeed not by finding a perfect moment, but by learning to see and use life’s imperfections perfectly. Read ‘The Power of Now.’
#3.Working for nothing more than a paycheck.
Work without interest is imprisonment. Even if you aren’t super-passionate about your work, you’ve got to at least be interested in it. When you design a lifestyle in which your work is something you suffer through daily strictly to pay your bills, you end up spending your entire life wishing you had someone else’s.
Think about it. This is your life; your work will fill a large percentage of it. It’s not all about the money; it’s about you. Ignore the propaganda, especially from people who say, “Don’t let your work define you.” Reverse this message and mediate on it: “I will do work that defines me.” When the essence of who you are defines at least some slice of the work you do for a living, that work generates fulfillment.
Bottom line: Interest in your work puts quality in your output and happiness in your mind. Don’t settle for a paycheck. Shuffle around until you find work that interests you.
#4. Harboring feelings of hate.
As Martin Luther King Jr. so profoundly said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Truth be told, when we harbor feelings of hate, it eventually gets the best of us. It takes control of us. We forget why we hate, what we hate, and whom we hate – we simply hate for the sake of hating. And then, naturally, we begin to hate ourselves too.
Everything and everyone you hate rents permanent space in both your head and heart. So if you want to eliminate something or someone from your mind, don’t hate. Instead, disconnect yourself, move on, and don’t look back. Read ‘The Mastery of Love.’
#5. Holding tight to worries and fears.
Someday when you look back over your life you’ll realize that nearly all of your worries and anxious fears never came to fruition – they were completely unfounded. So why not wake up and realize this right now. When you look back over the last few years, how many opportunities for joy did you destroy with needless worry and negativity? Although there’s nothing you can do about these lost joys, there’s plenty you can do about the ones that are still to come.
You will find that it’s necessary to let some things go simply for the reason that they’re heavy on your heart and soul. Let go of them. Don’t clamp shackles to your own ankles. It’s incredibly easy to enjoy more of your life right now, no matter what the situation. It’s just a matter of letting go of the layers of nonsense that are weighing you down.
Let go of your worries and fears, of your rage and jealousy, of your need to always be right and control others. Let go of your pretentiousness and your need to have everything your way. Underneath all these layers of nonsense there is a happy, productive person. When you start peeling them off and simply appreciating everything for what it is, life can be wonderfully fulfilling.