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Chasing Happiness Is What Makes You Unhappy, Doing This Can Bring You Lasting Joy

Chasing Happiness Is What Makes You Unhappy, Doing This Can Bring You Lasting Joy

If you’re feeling unmotivated and aimless in life then you’re not alone. Happiness and fulfilment is probably the number one thing everyone is striving to achieve but we often end up chasing after what we believe will make us happy, adopting the mindset that we’ll be happy when we get that new job, relationship, house or car.

The problem is, chasing after these things to make us happy is essentially what’s making us unhappy. Most of the time the perfect life we create in our head isn’t truly what can bring a sense of fulfilment to us. What actually brings more lasting joy is the feeling of flow, contentment and fulfilment that is at the core of what we really want.

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Stop Chasing After What You Think Will Make You Happy

Like a lot of people, from an early age I felt I needed to carve a career path that would equal success, riches and recognition. The problem was, I never really knew what that meant for me. When we’re younger, status is important and society and parents can look down on those that don’t quite have their career plan sorted out – you can get this sense of pressure that if you don’t make the right choice, you’re some kind of failure.

I left university feeling lost and unable to figure out what I was destined to do. I made comparisons to my peers around me who had been ‘sensible’ and planned it out from the start, who were already on their journey to success.

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I got jobs that were successful in the eyes of those around me but to me, they felt soulless. I was making the money but I wasn’t happy. I felt like a zombie getting up to go to work, sitting in front of the computer and felt like I was getting no sense of excitement or flow. Clock-watching where half an hour felt like two hours was a common part of my day until after 5 years I couldn’t take it anymore.

Meaningfulness Comes From The Heart

Sometimes it takes the contrast of feeling sad, depressed, trapped and unfulfilled to really sit up and take notice of what will bring meaningful purpose. For me, I started to think about what fills me with excitement and that was travelling. On one hand, I felt shame for just jetting off and enjoying myself when I should be knuckling down and chained to a desk I hated, but I also needed to stay true to myself.

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I headed to China to teach English as a foreign language which blended what I loved with purpose. It was a million miles from what I had been doing but it suddenly opened my eyes to my buried creative side – the side that was where all my potential to be happy was hiding.

From that experience, I have travelled around the world, lived abroad in different countries working with children and through these experiences I almost fell into writing. But the reason I think this happened was because I was pursuing a journey from the heart rather than the head. In essence, I hadn’t really a clue where I was heading to in my career but I knew it felt good to me. Now I’ve found something that’s allowed me to experience flow, inspiration, creativity and purpose.

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What Is Meaningful To You?

A 20% increase in your salary? A promotion? These will only give you short-term happiness. What really brings happiness is the sense of meaning your days bring to you – it makes you feel good about yourself and allows you to create something of value. Value doesn’t have to be big and grand – it can be found in the smallest things you do.

Motivation creates choices that align with your ‘why’ and contemplating your why is the key to truly understanding and finding the meaning we are all searching for. Don’t chase happiness, let happiness find you when you’re not caught up in what you should be doing.

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Jenny Marchal

A passionate writer who loves sharing about positive psychology.

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

6 Ways to Be a Successful Risk Taker and Take More Chances

I’ve stood on the edge of my own personal cliffs many times. Each time I jumped, something different happened. There were risks that started off great, but eventually faded. There were risks that left me falling until I hit the ground. There were risks that started slow, but built into massive successes.

Every risk is different, but every risk is the same. You need to have some fundamentals ready before you jump, but not too many.

It wouldn’t be a risk if you knew everything that was about to happen, would it? Here’re 6 ways to be a successful risk taker.

1. Understand That Failure Is Going to Happen a Lot

It’s part of life. Everything we do has failure attached to it. All successful people have stories of massive failure attached to them. Thinking that your risk is going to be pain free and run as smooth as silk is insane.

Expect some pain and failure. Actually, expect a lot of it. Expect the sleepless nights with crazy thoughts of insecurity that leave you trembling under the covers. It’s going to happen, no matter how positive you are about the risk you are about to take.

When failure hits, the only options are to keep going or quit. If you expect falling into a meadow of flowers and frolicking unicorns, then you’re going to immediately quit once you realize that getting to that meadow requires you to go through a rock filled cave filled with hungry bats.

2. Trust the Muse

Writing a story isn’t a big risk. It’s really just a risk on my time. So when I start writing a story, I’m scared it will be time wasted. Of course, it never really is. Even if the story doesn’t turn out fabulous, I still practiced.

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When I’ve taken risks in my life, the successful ones always seemed to happen when I followed the muse. Steven Pressfield describes the muse,

“The Muse demands depth. Shallow does not work for her. If we’re seeking her help, we can’t stay in the kiddie end. When we work, we have to go hard and go deep.”

The muse is a goddess who wants our attention and wants us to work on our passion.

If you’re taking a risk in anything, it’s assumed that there is some passion built up behind that risk. That passion, deep inside you, is the muse. Trust it, focus on it, listen to it.

The most successful articles and stories I write are the ones I’ve focused all my attention on. There were no interruptions during their creative development. I didn’t check my phone or go watch my Twitter feed. I was fully engaged in my work.

Trust the muse, focus your attention on your risk, let the ideas and path develop themselves, and leave the distractions at the side of the road.

3. Remember to Be Authentic

Taking a risk and then turning into something you’re not, is only going to lead to disaster. Whether you are risking a new relationship or new opportunity, you must be yourself throughout the entire process.

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How many times have you acted like you loved something just because the men or woman you just started going out with loved it?

For example, I’m not an office worker. I have an incredibly hard time working in a confined timeline (ie. 9-5). That’s why I write. I can do it whenever the mood strikes, I don’t have somebody breathing down my neck, telling me that I’m five minutes late, or missed a comma somewhere. I don’t have to walk on eggshells wondering if what I’m writing will get me fired or make me lose a promotion. I can just be myself, period.

One girlfriend didn’t understand that. She believed solely in the 9-5 motto, specifically something in human resources because that was a very stable job. I was scared for my future, but I stuck with the relationship because of my own insecurities and acted like I would do it to make her happy.

Here’s a tip: NEVER take away from your happiness to make somebody else satisfied (note I didn’t say happy).

Making somebody else happy will make you happy. Doing something to satisfy somebody is murder on your soul.

4. Don’t Take Any Risks While You’re Not Clearheaded

I’d been considering the risk for a couple weeks. It all sounded good. I was 22 and I could be rich in a couple of years. That’s what they were selling me, anyways.

One night, while at a house party with some friends, I found myself at a computer. A couple of my friends were standing nearby and asked me what I was doing. I told them I was considering starting my own business and it was only going to cost me $1,500.

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Of course, when a bunch of drunk people are surrounded by more drunk people, things get enthusiastic. It sounded like the best business venture in the world to everybody, including me. So I signed up and gave them my credit card number.

A few painful months and close to $4,000 dollars lost later, I quit the business. I was young and fell into the pyramid scheme trap. It was an expensive drunk decision.

Drinking heavily and making decisions has a proven track record of failure. So when you have something important to decide, don’t let your emotions take over your brain.

5. Fully Understand What You’re Risking

It was the start of my baseball comeback. I got a tryout with a professional scout and killed it. After the tryout, he talked to my girlfriend and myself, making sure we understood I would be gone for up to 6 months at a time. That strain on the relationship could be tough.

We understood. I left to play ball, chose to stay in the city I played in, and a year later we broke up. Not because of baseball, see point 3 above. Taking big risks can have massive impacts on everything in your life from relationships to money. Know what you’re risking before you take the risk.

If you believe the risk will be worth it or you have the support you need from your family, then go ahead and make the leap.

You can get more guidance on how to take calculated risks from this article: How to Take Calculated Risk to Achieve More and Become Successful

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6. Remember This Is Your One Shot Only

As far as we know officially, this is our one shot at life, so why not take some risks?

The top thing people are saddened by on their deathbeds are these regrets. They wish they did more, asked that girl in the coffee shop out, spoke out when they should have, or did what they were passionate about.

Don’t regret. Learn and experience. Live. Take the risks you believe in. Be yourself and make the world a better place.

Now go ahead, take that risk and be successful at it!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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