Happiness isn’t a destination. It’s a journey. And to succeed in this journey, you have to be brave enough to take some chances. Are you sick and tired of feeling down-in-the-dumps? If so, watch out for these 10 chances unhappy people refuse to take.
Take a chance on making a difference.
“I’m just one person! What could I possibly do to make a difference?” This defeatist question will halt your progress in its tracks. Yes, you are just one person, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t capable of leaving a mark. You know who else was “just one person?” Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mother Teresa, and Alexander the Great to name a few. The history books are full of individuals who dared to take a chance. Be bold in your aspirations and unwavering in your efforts.
Take a chance on helping people.
“I have so many problems. How could I help another person when I don’t have all of my ducks in a row?” I know it’s tempting to look at your problems and assume you’re in no position to help another person, but it’s just not the case. There is something “wrong” with everyone (and anyone who says otherwise is a pathological liar, or possibly a robot). Can I tell you a dirty secret? The articles I write here at LifeHack (like the one you’re reading right now)? I tend to write things that I need to hear myself. Does this make me a fraud? I don’t think so. I like to think it makes me human because it allows me to put my thoughts into words that you, the reader, will be able to relate with. In other words, never assume we self-help writers have it figured out; most of us are figuring this stuff out the hard way. And if I can help people despite my flaws, so can you. You’re not perfect, you never will be, and you know what? That’s totally okay because you are perfectly human just like the rest of us.
Take a chance on an imperfect idea.
How many projects have you given up on because it wasn’t “good enough?” Listen: there is no such thing as “good enough.” You invented this silly little non-existent benchmark in your head, so get over it and deal with the fact that nothing can be (or ever will be) perfect. Does this mean quality doesn’t matter? Of course not. The easiest thing to market is a useful product or service that helps people solve a specific problem. The more useful it is, the easier it will be to sell. Simple equation, right? But forget about this whole “perfection” thing because it’s nothing but a pipe-dream. Make it as good as you can (and make it better as time goes on).
Take a chance on being yourself.
Why are you trying so hard to fit in? Conformity isn’t something to strive for–it is something to avoid. Forget any pre-conceived notions you have of how you should think, feel, or behave. Phonies can be detected from miles away, so the only person you are kidding is yourself. As Mark Twain said, “Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”
Take a chance on patience.
You know what’s really discouraging? Spending all of your time pursuing a huge goal that requires so much time and effort that victory appears to be light-years away. Yes, aim high in your aspirations, but make sure you pave the road to Victory with as many tiny victories as you can. Forget about losing 50 lbs (just lose the first 5). Instead of aiming to write a book, just write the first chapter. You don’t have to impress that cute waitress with witty banter yet: just tell her hi! Obsessing with the end destination will leave you sick-and-tired-of-every-thing before you can say “burn-out.” Knocking out a bunch of small victories on your way to success will offer you the motivation to keep moving forward.
“He that can have patience can have what he will.” – Benjamin Franklin
Take a chance on changing your surroundings.
Who says you have to live in the same place for the rest of your life? I know moving is one of the most terrible, inconvenient things ever. But would you rather live through temporary inconvenience or a life-time of regret? Take an honest look at your community calendar, take a drive through your downtown area, consider the people you’re connected to, and ask yourself, “Is there anything here for me?” If you have no good answer to that question, it’s time to move on. Just because it’s scary doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it.
Take a chance on meeting new people.
If you could make new friends in elementary school, you can make new friends now. Look for clubs, groups, or meet-ups with people just like you. A life without friendship and socialization can make for lonely days (as someone who became a hermit for about half-a-year when he decided to pursue self-employment, I feel qualified to say this). You have nothing to be afraid of. People have a desire for human companionship just like you do, so I have no doubt there are people in this world who would be thrilled to have a healthy dose of you in their life.
Take a chance on forgiving the past.
As much as you might wish you could change the past, it’s just not going to happen. Regret is one of the nastier emotions you’ll ever experience, so please understand, I know this isn’t as simple as “just getting over it.” But whatever you did, no matter how wrong it might have been, cannot be undone. Stressing out over something you can’t fix is the opposite of productive. Just because you messed up doesn’t make you stupid, worthless, or a “bad person.” It just makes you human. Everyone messes up sometimes and life’s greatest successes are not exempt from this rule. The difference between long-lasting success and dismal failure is simple-in-theory but complex-in-practice: how do you react to a mistake? Do you learn from it, move on, and grow? Or do you beat yourself up, learn nothing, and repeat history over and over again? Forget the past and live in the present, because that’s where progress happens.
Take a chance on trusting your intuition.
Did you ever have a teacher tell you something like, “Never change your answers on a multiple-choice test!” They told you that because our first instinct tends to be right. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If a person or place gives you a bad feeling, be weary. Just because intuition doesn’t always make sense doesn’t mean you shouldn’t trust it.
Take a second chance as much as necessary.
Never become discouraged, even when things aren’t going your way. You can have as many chances as you need to find fulfillment and success in your life. Isn’t it wonderful that every new day is like a clean slate, yet another opportunity to better yourself? I think so! Tell me what you think in the comments. Also, if you have any words that might be useful for unhappy people reading this, please share them below.