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The Habits That Block Our Path to Happiness

The Habits That Block Our Path to Happiness

The law of attraction is universally known. By now we are all aware of how negative attitudes and behaviors can block us from finding happiness. Despite this, there are some habits that most people can’t seem to shake off, and these are the ones that stop us from finding true happiness.

1. Others vs. Me

Some people focus too much on others. They keep talking about what “they” have and what “they” did. Often, they feel jealous of other people’s achievements, but never dare to step up and take initiative themselves. They fear not being as “good” or “successful” as the other person.

This is a negative attitude.

Don’t think others find happiness and success because they are better than you. Let their stories inspire you instead.

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Standford University psychologist Carol Dweck calls it the “Fixed vs Growth” mindset.

The “Fixed” mindset is the person that remains convinced that their life and mindset will never change while the “Growth” mindset expands its horizons and dares to take chances. Everyone can go from fixed to growth the moment you allow yourself to take a chance and move outside your comfort zone.

2. To Don’t Instead of to Do

Surprisingly it has been found that a “To Do” list actually halts your productivity. Instead of a gentle reminder it has been found to be a source of pressure. A lot of people feel anxious when looking at their list halfway through the day and can only tick of one or two finished tasks.

The failure often either causes them to give up on the list all together or try to get everything done quickly — neither of which brings you happiness.

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Stop making those lists. Instead, write down two things you really want to get done before going to bed and focus on those two only. If you do this every day you’ll find that within a month all your projects are running along smoothly.

3. Worry About Others

Many people keep worrying about what others think of them. They never realize that more often than not, people don’t think about them at all. This is caused by “projecting self doubt”: making it seem as if others are negative about you, without realizing that all the negativity comes from you. This is a very difficult one to let go of, but it is possible.

The best way to do it is by positive affirmations.

Instead of “Oh no, he’s not mailing back, he doesn’t like me!”
Think: “Well, he has a busy job, maybe he’ll see my mail later.”

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If there is no reply after a reasonable time, ask. If you feel self-conscious doing that, you can use this excuse: “My mail isn’t working properly lately. Did you get my last e-mail?” Usually there is a perfectly normal reason for the lack of reply, and you’ve been stressing over nothing.

4. Everything Changes NOW!

Don’t do that: never start all the important changes at once. Take everything one step at a time. If people change their lives in one big go, they often expect the entire world to change along with it. When it doesn’t, there is disappointment and they fall back in their old (bad) habits.

Try to make a change every week or month. Begin with something you are certain to keep up and keep adding to your challenge until you are where you want to be.

5. Waiting For “The” Moment

The perfect moment does not exist: we create it. There are no signs that tell us “now.” If we want to do something, or feel we can contribute something, we have to get it going ourselves. Start it up, get people around you to help you along, and get it of the ground. If you don’t do it when the idea forms, either it will never happen or someone else does it and you lose out.

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6. Forget About “Monday”

A lot of people think: “Well, I failed to start my plan on Monday, I’ll just wait till next week.”

No. Monday is just “a day” a concept created to keep track of time. If you fail on Monday, make it Tuesday or Wednesday. Every day is the right day to start on finding “the new and happy me.”

Featured photo credit: Wayne Dery jr via unsplash.com

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Dannii Cohen

PsyD in Psychology, professional counsellor, life coach and self-help expert

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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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