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If You Learn To Enjoy Life Without These 11 Things, Nothing Will Be Too Difficult

If You Learn To Enjoy Life Without These 11 Things, Nothing Will Be Too Difficult

Happiness is hard sometimes. We chase after goals or desires, then when we have them, they don’t bring us happiness. So, we chase after new goals or desires, the cycle continues, and we remain unhappy.

Buddhists like to say that desire leads to unhappiness, and there is wisdom in that. Instead, here are 11 things which we may think are important, but truly don’t need to be happy.

1. Following the news

“Ignorance is bliss” is wrong, but that does not mean there is not too much information out there. Our society is so saturated by news about every inane thing that we lose track of the world and people around us. And while Washington intrigue may be fascinating, it does not affect you as much as you may think it does.

The fact is that news has plenty of negative effects on our bodies and way of thinking. Cut it off, and learn to enjoy life around you.

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2. The Internet

If the “information” we obtain by news consumption overstimulates our brains, what does the information we obtain through the internet do? Online communication hinders regular communication, as this Pearls Before Swine strip points out. And no one you meet online can mean as much to you as your close friends and family, who you can see face to face.

3. Gambling

Gambling is fun. But as it becomes more accepted in our society, people overlook its downsides. It takes away money from the poor and desperate, and can even get them addicted with dreams of easy wealth.

Gambling is not good for either your relationships or your wallet. And this can include not just the lottery or a trip to Vegas, but even the rise in fantasy sports.

4. Insincere hobbies

Everyone needs a hobby. But all too often, people pick hobbies which are socially acceptable as opposed to the hobbies they actually enjoy and are interested in. Woodworking and mountain biking are fine things to do, but not everyone is cut out for those sorts of things.

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Don’t choose hobbies just so that you can brag about your accomplishments to your peers. You won’t enjoy yourself that way. Do something in your free time that will keep your brain working and that you truly enjoy doing.

5. An expensive vacation

My favorite vacation as a child was not to Disneyworld or some resort, but to visit my grandmother or my uncles and cousins. All too often, families try to buy some expensive vacation which they hope will provide nice memories, but that is nowhere near as good as the simple bonds between family and friends.

6. A big house

All too often, a big house just means a place that you have to spend more time cleaning and maintaining than you would like. Americans have the biggest houses in the world by far, but that has not made us feel any better or happier.

The house can be a trap in more ways than one. People start adding extras, like a two-car garage, and then taking out car title loans to fill it. But remember, more loans means more debt and a smaller paycheck at the end of every month. What would you rather enjoy, a good life or a big house?

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7. Entertainment

Entertainment should be, well, entertaining. But people look to entertainment to escape the drudgery of their lives, which means they put more money into entertainment than their own lives.

But the most entertaining thing in this world is humans themselves. Learning about them can be far more interesting than any novel or movie.

8. Expensive dates

When we go out with others, we often try to impress them by taking them somewhere flashy or expensive. That often goes nowhere, just like those aforementioned expensive vacations. The best dates, just like the best vacations, are those taken where you can remember your date better than wherever you went to.

9. A gym membership

Exercise is critical in ensuring that we are happy and healthy. But that does not mean we need a gym membership, or worse, a home exercise set. Regular jogs and calisthenics can ensure you remain in good health. These activities are also cheaper and will not disappoint you as much as a jogging machine collecting dust in your garage.

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10. The latest technology

We have forgotten that technology is not an end. It is a means to an end in the pursuit of a better life. This means that we should not rush to get the latest technology just because. Only get it if you truly believe that it can solve your problems or improve your life in some manner.

11. The approval of other people

Almost everything which has been listed above ties into this one thing. We want other people to like us, so we buy expensive gadgets or vacations so that they will like us for our gadgets as opposed to who we are. But other people want us to like them, so they buy their own gadgets, which leads to a “keeping up with the Jones” situation.

Remember: there is no person in the world so despised as the one who tries to make everyone like him. Be yourself. That is the best thing you can do to be happy.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on November 19, 2020

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

1. Value Your Time

Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

2. Know Your Priorities

Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

3. Practice Saying No

Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

4. Don’t Apologize

A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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5. Stop Being Nice

Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

6. Say No to Your Boss

Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

7. Pre-Empting

It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

“Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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8. Get Back to You

Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

“After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

At least you gave it some consideration.

9. Maybe Later

If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

“This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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Saying no the healthy way

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

    The Bottom Line

    Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

    Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

    More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

    Reference

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