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Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Five ways you steal happiness from yourself

Isn’t happiness an elusive desire among all of us?

How many books, seminars and articles are written explaining how to achieve happiness and how to maintain it? Perhaps we sometimes lose out on happiness by focusing on the wrong things. We get so worried and caught up pursuing happiness that we never actually stop and really feel that happiness we have. Often it is the counter intuitive path that is actually the correct one. How many articles about happiness tell you that the way to achieve happiness is to set goals, have achievable aims, have a great job or be in a relationship? However, how many people have an amazing job and are unhappy? There are so many folks in good relationships and yet, they also feel miserable. Why would that be so?

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Here are some easy to use ideas about thinking differently about happiness. Do you fall into the trap of any of these thought habits?

1.Trying to impress others

Are all your decisions really your own? Do you ever bend your decision making to fit in with others or please others? It could be something relatively harmless such as which movie to watch or a restaurant in which to eat. Have you ever met successful people in good jobs, be that as a lawyer, a doctor or other professionals? Yes, they earn well but also, often, they feel down and miserable. Why? Medicine was what mom and dad wanted for them. It was not actually their own choice at all. Aim for choices that are good for you, not to please others.

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You steal your happiness when decisions are not in line with your gut or when you don’t listen to what you know to really be right for you. Happiness is about feeling a calm inner contentment about your choices and decisions. Try to please others and you will lead their life not your own life. Feel okay about expressing opinions that are unpopular. It is preferable to be true to you and find yourself in the minority than to conform and sacrifice your independence and feel weak.

2. Wishing to control everything, ourselves and everyone

We all need to feel that we are in control. However when you find it hard to go with the flow and relax, then anxiety increases. Think about all those things you actually can’t control. We all lack control over the weather, the stock market, world events and most importantly, other people’s behavior. Are you someone who allows rainy weather to bring your mood down? When you think clearly about it, you are simply wasting valuable energy on something you can’t control.

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Stephen Covey talks about two areas, your circle of concern and your circle of influence. You may be concerned about pollution,the snow, global terrorism, your children’s futures or what to prioritize today at work. We all have many concerns. Then of course, there is the circle of influence. What though can you really actually influence and affect in a meaningful way? Where these two circles overlap is where you can create change.

3. Having expectations that relationships should be fun and always make you happier

We have been speaking about happiness but have not talked about how you achieve it. In reality, happiness is not a goal in itself but a by-product. When you are living in line with your values and what you hold to be important and what brings you fulfillment, then happiness flows by itself. Relationships can be happy and relationships can be rocky and stormy. Happiness is the by-product of making the right decisions and living your life well. A relationship will not solve your self doubt or insecurities. The right relationship will help you face them and the wrong relationship could make them worse. Either way relationships bring you face to face with all your faults and insecurities and of course all those little bad habits. Great communication is always essential. You both need to talk it out sometimes. After all, the only real way to find happiness is to aim to be living with integrity, by expressing clearly your needs and asking for those needs to be met by loved ones.

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4. Waiting for the time to be 100% right before acting

Those things which we believe will bring us happiness always involve a leap of faith. A business venture is never guaranteed to be a magic wealth generator, you need to believe it will work and probably put some hard work in too. Committing to a relationship is about putting reservations aside and being prepared to open your heart to the possibility that your heart may get hurt. You can try to ‘look before you leap’, but no one has a crystal ball that can predict the exact outcome of future events. For many decisions in our lives, often the time will never feel exactly right, but if your instincts say yes, why not say yes too, wholeheartedly? Don’t allow past experiences to tell you that the future is something to be scared of. If you believe you can do it, don’t wait for the perfect time, since it will never arrive and you will regret not acting right now.

5. Expecting guarantees that things will always work out well

Scientists looking for cures for diseases such as cancer know that their first attempts won’t always result in success. They try and try and try again. Success is always about being rejected, failing and learning to do things better. There are never guarantees and taking risks is a part of the gamble.

There is a wonderful saying attributed to a therapy called NLP (Neuro-linguistic programming) that says that “There is no such thing as failure but only feedback.” In other words, you never failed the test but the experience gave you valuable feedback on how to do better next time and succeed. The team who lost the football match will look at the tactics, view the match and consider what could have been done differently. Calling yourself a failure is very unhelpful, especially if you realize that you never failed but simply at that time just needed more skills or more insight to succeed. A step back can actually hold the secrets to true success and happiness.

Featured photo credit: Stokpic via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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