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

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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 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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