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This Is Why You Should Not Aim At A Happy Life Anymore

This Is Why You Should Not Aim At A Happy Life Anymore

Happiness is different things to different people. Philosophers believe happiness is about living a good life and flourishing, not simply defining the term as an emotion. Western culture leads us to believe that a happy life is full of money, cars, fame, and fancy clothes. Actually, happiness really comes about by living a meaningful life.

Eckhart Tolle, international best selling author of The Power of Now and A New Earth, explains in his blog:

“The more unconscious you are, the more you are identified with form. The essence of unconsciousness is this: identification with form, whether it is an external form (a situation, place, event or experience), a thought form or an emotion. The more attached to form, the more unsurrendered you are, and the more extreme, violent or harsh your experience.”

The more we attach ourselves to being happy and living a happy life, the more unhappy we become. A happy life is a by product of living a meaningful life. In order to live a meaningful life we must explore different ways to do so.

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1. Accept what is.

We perceive our own reality. We can fight our way through life or we can accept what’s happened. Upon acceptance, we can work out how to manage and learn from those challenging experiences.

2. Identify your values and beliefs.

Many of us don’t know our values or beliefs because we’ve never actually identified them. Take time, think it through, and write them down to create your own mission statement.

3. Don’t compromise those values and beliefs.

It’s important for us to stand up for what we believe in. Our values guide, motivate, and inspire us to change.

4. Maintain emotional flexibility.

People who live their lives with rigid rules and standards are setting themselves up for a lot of disappointment. The same can be said for people trying to live a happy life. By maintaining behavioural flexibility, we allow ourselves to be more open to change, which will effectively allow us to deal with it a whole lot better.

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5. Connect with nature.

Most of us live in concrete jungles. The closest we get to nature is a house plant. However, we should be connected to the world around us and try to become one with all living things. The deeper we dig ourselves into artificial lifestyles, the farther we are from connecting to a deeper meaning of life.

6. Find something that makes you tick.

Whether it’s your job or a hobby, find something that sings to you. Create purpose in what you do. Whatever you do should make you feel good!

7. Give back.

What are you doing to contribute to the greater good of humanity? There are thousands of volunteer opportunities out there. Just one-hour of your time per week or every fortnight can change someone else’s life forever.

8. Be grateful.

Gratitude is a way of being thankful for what you have. It also allows you to return the favour of kindness. A life without gratitude is not worth living. Take these following words of wisdom and run with them.

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Eckhart Tolle said, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”

Oprah said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.”

Buddha said, “Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.”

9. Use Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to deal with difficult thoughts and painful feelings.

Dr Russ Harris, M.B.B.S., author of The Happiness Trap, takes a different approach when dealing with challenges. ACT gets it name from one of its core messages: accept what is out of your personal control, and commit to action that improves and enriches your life. The aim of ACT is to maximise human potential for a more meaningful life. I highly recommend reading his book!

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10. Know your strengths.

Instead of dwelling on what you don’t have or can’t do, think about what an amazing person you are, the things you are good at, and all the people that love you for it.

11. Don’t force a happy life.

We shouldn’t try to live a happy life because we think we’re supposed to. Happiness has been shoved down our throats for quite some time now, but it’s up to us to realize that’s really not what life is truly about.

Featured photo credit: Kenny Louie via flickr.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

Perceptual Barrier

The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

Attitudinal Barrier

Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

Language Barrier

This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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Emotional Barrier

Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

Cultural Barrier

Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

Gender Barrier

Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

Reference

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