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The 7 Most Powerful Thoughts on Happiness

The 7 Most Powerful Thoughts on Happiness

We’re all in the pursuit of happiness. Some of us find it early, but others unfortunately search for their entire lives. We can reverse-engineer happiness by studying the thoughts of the people who have found the well of happiness and tap into it everyday. Here are 10 unconventional thoughts they have that allow them to experience happiness and contentment effortlessly.

1. “I am adequate as I am.”

People sometimes feel that their vulnerabilities hold them back, that they weaken themselves. In reality, vulnerabilities can be the your greatest strengthsSociety is good at cutting us down to the lowest common denominator, so that we’re all square pegs that fit through the same, uniform hole.

In reality, we couldn’t any more different from one another. Some of us give in and let society do what it wants with us. Others fight to the very end. While the latter does involve struggle, it allows you to feel blissfully happy to be yourself and not have to conform to terms and conditions you had no choice but to agree to.

2. “The thing that hurts me the most is actually my greatest strength.”

Everyone has a weakness — something that throws them right into the gutter when people attack it, or point it out. “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” or so they say. This saying was based on the premise that you ignore people who try to rile you up. Secretly, it still hurts you.

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What truly happy people feel is that their weakness can potentially be their greatest source of strength. They acknowledge that it makes them feel weak, but it could also help them become immensely happy — if they are to see it in a new light. Someone who’s overweight can choose to hate their weight and try yo-yo dieting. It’s destructive behavior that actually makes the situation worse.

If they realize that they’re not failures just because they are a bit heavier than other people, they stop caring as much, love themselves more, and might even lose weight due to not having to rely on food as emotional crutches.

3. “Being angry at someone hurts me more than it hurts the other person.”

There is a beautiful, Buddhist story that explains anger as akin to holding a stone that gradually gets hotter and hotter. You somehow want the person you’re angry at to feel the burn and the pain you’re feeling, but as long as they’re not holding onto the stone, they won’t get hurt.

The only person who’s getting hurt is yourself, which is why you should let go of the hot stone before it causes you too much pain. Happy people don’t hold grudges. They know that it not only uses up a lot of their energy, it also hurts them in the long run.

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4. “I have less control in life than I think I do.”

We all live our lives and try to make sense of everything. We see the events that occur in day-to-day not as discrete events, but as a flowing, logical narrative. People write biographies connecting these events together, even if they don’t seem to have any logical connection.

That’s the flaw of us humans. We need meaning in everything. In reality, our very existence is by chance. Every single one of us was brought into this world with no say in where or to who our parents would be. Acknowledging this is immensely emancipating. You feel free from the expectations of your birthright and are free to do whatever you want with your life that makes you happy.

5. “Worrying is literally putting a bet against myself.”

Some people are chronic worriers. They find a way to worry about everything that comes across their mind. They lose sleep over things that, nine times out of 10, either go away themselves or have such a tiny impact in the scheme of things that you wonder what the point of thinking about it is.

Worrying means that you’re believing that something bad could happen. In other words, you’re putting a bet against yourself being happier, healthier, and well off. You think there’s a chance that it’s something that could affect your overall well-being. Think about the last thing you worried about. It’s actually not easy to remember because we all do it so much!

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Worry less, think more good thoughts and watch as your happiness suddenly becomes that much better.

6. “The greater the magnitude of the tragedy, the more I can potentially gain from it.”

This is a particularly powerful thought that only the most zen and emotionally intelligent people can understand and accept. If you take the time to truly process this thought, nothing will make you unhappy ever again.

Bad things happen — let’s not hide from the truth. We get fired; a loved one passes away unexpectedly; we have an unfaithful spouse. Society tells us that it’s normal to overreact and let negativity flood our beings.

How would very happy people react to this? They would be still. They would be calm. They would feel sadness, anger, disgust, yes. But they would take the time to see what good can come out of it. Imagine, taking good from something that’s aimed at hurting you. How empowering would that be? People do it, day in, day out. You can do it too.

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7. “To make ourselves unhappy is where all the crime starts.”

This is a powerful quote from the legendary Roger Ebert, one of the best film critiques in America. For decades, he analyzed films and shared his opinion on what made them works of art. He had cancer toward the end of his career that left him without the ability to speak. Still, he didn’t let this stop him from critiquing.

This quote, I think, is the ultimate truth on happiness. The moment we’re born, society shoves its expectations on us. We’re told that we’re not good enough, that we have to work harder and try harder to succeed. Sometimes, the best thing is to accept that you’re good enough.

The truth is, we all have a well of happiness inside us. We just have to realize that it’s there. It will never go away and will always let us draw inspiration and happiness from it. Simply stop making yourself unhappy, and you’ll see where it is.

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Last Updated on October 16, 2019

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

Do you like making mistakes?

I certainly don’t.

Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

  • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
  • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
  • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
  • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

  1. Point us to something we did not know.
  2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
  3. Deepen our knowledge.
  4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
  5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
  6. Inform us more about our values.
  7. Teach us more about others.
  8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
  9. Show us when someone else has changed.
  10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
  11. Remind us of our humanity.
  12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
  13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
  14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
  15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
  16. Invite us to better choices.
  17. Can teach us how to experiment.
  18. Can reveal a new insight.
  19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
  20. Can serve as a warning.
  21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
  22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
  23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
  24. Remind us how we are like others.
  25. Make us more humble.
  26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
  27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
  28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
  29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
  30. Expose our true feelings.
  31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
  32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
  33. Point us in a more creative direction.
  34. Show us when we are not listening.
  35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
  36. Can create distance with someone else.
  37. Slow us down when we need to.
  38. Can hasten change.
  39. Reveal our blind spots.
  40. Are the invisible made visible.

Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

The secret to handling mistakes is to:

  • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
  • Have an experimental mindset.
  • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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