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30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life

30 Reasons Why You’re Still Unhappy With Your Brilliant Life

Have you every wondered why some people seem to exude happiness, while you’re still stuck feeling like a less-than-happy camper?

What is it that you’re missing? You have a right to be happy with your life. You have a right to live a brilliant life. Here are 30 reasons you may be unhappy with life, in various areas of it. See which ones apply to you, and then get to work on correcting them.

Self

1. You Accept Mediocrity

You have full control over what you allow into your life. You get to decide whether you demand success or settle for mediocrity.

Here’s one piece of advice: no one should ever expect more from you than you expect of yourself.

2. You’re Afraid to Fail

This is a huge, although often overlooked, reason why so many people are unhappy. Maybe you have a goal in mind that you want to achieve, some positive step you want to take in your life. You know you want it, and you know how to make it happen, but your fear of failing is stronger than your desire to achieve.

That’s a tough pill to swallow, and one that’s almost guaranteed to make your brilliant life a little dull. You have to realize that failure is necessary step to success. It’s not a fatal event that you’ll never recover from. In fact, you may be more afraid of what people think about your failure, than the failure itself.

3. You Don’t Practice Gratitude

There are plenty of studies showing the effect gratitude has on happiness. It’s been proven time and time again that when you can take the time to get clear on what it is you’re thankful for, your happiness goes up. So break out the pen and pad and starting writing out what you’re grateful for.

When you can shift your focus from what’s going wrong in your life to what’s going right, it’s bound to make you feel better.

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4. You Don’t Live in the Present 

If you’re anything like me, you have a future-oriented mindset. You’re always thinking about the future or working on something that creates a better future. But the problem with this is we often miss what’s going on right now. We miss the life that’s happening right in front of our eyes.

Take the time to slow down and just enjoy the moment. Whether that means going for a walk or just enjoying a conversation with a good friend, take the time to be present.

5. You Won’t Take Ownership

Being a victim doesn’t usually lead to happiness. So if you’re shying away from taking control of your own life, you’re setting yourself up for a life filled with unhappiness.

6. You Can’t Let Go

We all have vices in life. We all have thoughts, perspectives, habits, and relationships that are difficult to let go of. But sometimes you have to separate your emotions from your choices and realize that somethings are better left in the past.

Whether it’s the girlfriend you can’t stop arguing with, or the bad habit of procrastination that’s continually stressing you out, you have to take stock of what’s going on in your life and determine what things you need to separate yourself from.

7. You’re Ignoring Your Heart

Everyone had dreams at one point in life. There was a time when you had a burning desire in your heart to achieve something special. But as you get older, life conditions you into thinking that “following your heart” is an activity created only for kids. But take the time to listen to your heart again and relive the feeling of being exhilarated and excited.

8. You Never Praise Yourself 

You deserve a pat on the back. Often in life we get so caught up in moving from one project to the next that we never take the time to see how far we’ve come. Take a moment and realize how much work you’ve put in, and how much you’ve accomplished. You deserve it.

9. You Live With Too Many Self-Imposed Rules 

Some rules are superficial: “I don’t eat breakfast after 10 a.m. I don’t wake up any later than 5 a.m. I don’t do anything that isn’t on my calendar.”

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Other rules are deep, personal, and extremely limiting: “I’m not made for college because I’m not smart enough. I can’t have a career I’d actually enjoy, I’m not skilled enough. I can’t be in a happy relationship, I don’t deserve it.”

You made these rules. So you can break these rules.

10. You’re Afraid to Stand Out 

Living a happy life will sometimes send you down the road less travelled. You have to get comfortable with being the odd one out. You can’t always follow the crowd, because chances are most people in the crowd are unhappy.

11. You Haven’t Consciously Decided to Be Happy

Now there are lot of things affecting your happiness, but at some point you have to consciously make the decision to be happy, in spite of the whirlwind of negativity that the world is throwing at you. Once your mindset is in the right place, taking action to become happy becomes easier.

Career

12. You’re Unclear in Your Career Path

You’re putting everything you’ve got into your career, but you’re not sure where you’re headed. You don’t see any opportunities for growth and this is bound to make you feel unhappy. Get clear about where you want to head in your career.

13. No Work-Life Balance 

If your work is dominating your life, leaving little time for anything else, it’s hard to stay happy. Dealing with a constant barrage of emails, texts, presentations, and reports is exhausting. Set clear boundaries for your work so that you can still enjoy your life.

14. You Won’t Quit That Job You Hate 

You’ve already identified that you hate your job, for whatever reason. But that was 18 months ago and you’re still there with no plans to leave. I’m not suggesting you walk away from your responsibilities, but I am saying you need a plan that moves you from your current job to one you can get excited about.

15. Your Values Don’t Match Your Company

You’re a vegan personal trainer working at a meat packing company? If you’re spending 40 hours a week at a place that doesn’t value the same thing as you, not only will be unhappy, you’ll be miserable in your work.

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Social

16. You Spend Too Much Time Alone 

Your happiness is directly tied to your relationships, and not having many quality relationships can cause happiness to decline. Get out there and be social. Create meaningful relationships with people.

17. You Don’t Spend Enough Time Alone 

On the flip side, if you never spend time alone, you could be affecting your happiness as well. We all need that time to reflect and recharge. Don’t be afraid to say no to a drink after work every once in a while.

18. You Keep Comparing Yourself 

Your happiness is linked to your self-esteem. When your self-esteem is high, it’s easier to be happy. When self-esteem is low, it’s easier to be unhappy. Your self-esteem depends heavily on the relationships you have with other people, and how you view yourself in comparison to those people. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to other people, and feel that you’re lower on the proverbial totem pole than the other person, you’re self-esteem is going to nosedive.

So stop comparing yourself to other people, and instead focus on improving yourself. Compare where you are today to where you were yesterday.

19. You’re Friends Are Holding You Back

You are who you hang out with. And if the company you keep is moving in a direction that doesn’t coincide with the life you’re trying to create, unhappiness is sure to follow. Focus on finding friends who are moving in the same direction that you are.

20. You Let Others Make Important Decisions for You

You can’t make everyone happy, and the only person who ends up losing when you try do that is you. You lose.

No one knows your situation as well as you do. So do you really want the direction of your life to be determined by an outsider who doesn’t understand the intricate details of your life?

Intellectual

21. You Stopped Developing New Skills

There’s an immense amount of joy in learning a new skill, whether it’s something hands-on like sewing or woodwork, or something less tangible like public speaking. When you can develop a certain skill, you feel good about yourself.

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22. You Haven’t Read Any Good Books

A good book can bring happiness in many different ways. There’s the inherent happiness of reading a good story, and then there are books that help you develop personally. If you’re not reading, you’re missing out on both of those opportunities for happiness.

Physical

23. You Always Point Out What You Don’t Like about Your Body 

If you stand in the mirror every day and point out every single thing you don’t like about your body, of course you’re going to be unhappy. Change what you can through exercise and healthy eating, and accept what you can’t change. Focus on what you do like instead.

24. You Fill Your Body Up with Junk 

The two boxes of Krispy Kreme seemed like a good idea until you stepped on the scale. Don’t let your taste buds run your life.

25. You Haven’t Broken a Sweat in a While

You’re not trying to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but regular exercise does wonders for your happiness. It doesn’t even have to be in a gym, just get out and get your heart pumping. It’ll definitely give your happiness a boost.

Financial

26. You Don’t Have a Plan for Your Money

A budget is sometimes defined as “telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went.” It’s stressful to live life without a plan for your money, and that stress is eating away at your happiness.

27. You Don’t Spend According to Your Plan

If you’ve got a plan in place, but you’re not using it, you’re going to end up regretting it.

28. You Don’t Save for the Future

Those $5 coffees from Starbucks are costing you your retirement. You don’t have to cut out all of your discretionary spending, but make sure that you’re setting a little aside for a rainy day. The peace of mind that comes with it will definitely make you happier.

29. You Make Impulse Purchases 

I’m not talking about a stick of gum. I mean that 70 inch 3D smart TV, or the $200 heels that pushed your checking account into the negative. Splurging might make you happy in the moment, but when your bills come due, I bet you won’t be as happy.

30. You Forget That Money Can’t Buy Happiness

Money by itself isn’t enough to keep you happy. So although mismanagement of money can lead to unhappiness, you can’t solely focus your life on making money. You have to develop every area of your life.

Featured photo credit: Pink Sherbet Photography via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2019

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

How to Talk to Strangers Without Feeling Awkward

Many of us feel awkward talking to strangers. I’m a very outgoing person, even though I sometimes feel uncomfortable walking up to someone and asking a question or starting a conversation. I consider myself pretty high up on the extrovert meter. So what is it that makes us pause and become worried or anxious about talking to people we don’t know?

In this article, we will discuss why we feel this way as well as some tips on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Step right up, don’t be shy!

Why We Feel Awkward Talking to Strangers

The next time you feel uncomfortable talking to a stranger, tell yourself that’s completely normal. There are numerous reasons why it’s actually natural to feel awkward talking to strangers:

Our Stress Levels Rise Around Strangers

Numerous studies have show that our levels of cortisol go up when we are around strangers.[1] Cortisol is the hormone inside of us which produces stress responses.[2]
So there you go, right off the bat you can see part of your standard response to strangers is due to a chemical reaction!

A very interesting by product of increased cortisol is that it makes us less empathetic. More than likely this can be traced to our evolution. The increase in the cortisol and the corresponding decrease in empathy makes us want to stay away from strangers. We are biologically wired to feel concern around strangers.

Evolution Taught Us to Be Wary

Evolution has also taught us to be wary of strangers in general. Humans as a whole have spent a large chunk of their history banded together in small protective groups. We did this in order to help protect each other and maximize resources.

When you think about it in this context, outsiders to our small groups or strangers are considered potential threats. Fear of strangers is common across almost all human cultures.

Culturally Conditioned

We can also thank our society for helping us feel uncomfortable and sometimes afraid of strangers. The term “stranger danger” is something most of us can relate to either growing up or raising kids. Or both.

I remember hearing this from my parents, mostly about not getting in someone’s car I didn’t know. And as the father of 2 teenage girls, you can be sure I’ve talked to them about this very concept more times that they want to hear.

The thought that strangers can be dangerous is built into us as it is. Toss in the amplification of the media on strangers doing things such as kidnapping kids and it takes it to an even higher level.

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Now that we’ve reviewed some of the reasons why we are nervous, let’s look at why you should talk to strangers more.

Benefits of Getting over the Awkwardness

Let’s take a quick look at some of the advantages of how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward. These are some high level benefits of talking to strangers.

1. Broadens Your Network

After you talk to someone, you didn’t know previously they become someone you know at least a little bit. This alone helps broaden your network of people you know. This is helpful in many ways whether it is work related or socially related.

2. Improves Your Communication Skills

I am a huge proponent of the value of solid communication skills and have written about it often. The more you talk to people, especially people you don’t know, the better your communication skills become.

Interacting with a wider variety of people will bring the added benefit of improving your communication skills.

3. Continually Learning

So many of us don’t actively seek to learn new things. This is one of the primary keys to staying engaged in life and our own personal self fulfillment.

Almost every time I speak to someone I didn’t know previously, I’ve learned something new. When we speak to strangers, it pushes us out of our comfort zones and we tend to learn new things.

4. Increases Self Confidence

Every time we learn to do something we were previously anxious about, we feel better about ourselves.

Forcing ourselves to talk to strangers will lead to increased self confidence. As we get more and more comfortable doing something that previously made us feel awkward, our self confidence will go up and up.

So, how to talk to strangers to reap these benefits?

How to Talk to Strangers

Here are some tips to on how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

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1. Say Hello

Putting “say hello” first may seem a bit obvious but let’s take a deeper look. Much of the social awkwardness when speaking to strangers is simply breaking the ice. The first words that will engage someone.

Most people will respond when someone says hello or hi to them. And those that don’t, you probably don’t want to talk to anyway.

Practice being the person that opens the door to a conversation. Say hello.

2. Ask About Them

Something that I have noticed over the years is that people love to talk about themselves. Even fairly private people tend to open up when asked about events in their lives.

You can ask leading questions that get people to talk about themselves and recent events. Things like recent movies watched or the summer vacation are great to get someone talking.

As a father, I also know that people love to talk about their kids. Asking about kids is a fairly easy topic to bring up and in general, most people will expound upon all the great things their kids do or are involved with.

3. Just Do It

One of the biggest reasons we don’t do things we want to or know we should is because we overthink it. Quit thinking about it so much and just do it.

When you give yourself the time to analyze every little angle about a situation, you also give plenty of time to talk yourself out of it. You’ll wind up thinking what if this happens or what if that happens.

Try to force yourself to jump right in without thinking about it too much. Whenever I have done this, I always feel great about it afterwards, no matter how it turned out.

4. Don’t Take It Personal

One of the greatest lessons in life I ever learned was don’t take anything personally. We all go through life with our own sets of experiences and see things through our own lens. The way people react to different situations has almost nothing to do with us. It has to do with previous experiences and the way people feel about things other than us.

When someone’s reaction isn’t what you’d hoped or expected, chances are it has nothing to do with you. Remember that and keep it in context.

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5. Get a Chuckle If Possible

I used the word chuckle purposely because it makes me laugh. In my opinion, it’s one of those funny words. We all like to laugh because it makes us feel good. And when someone makes us laugh, we typically remember those people in a positive light.

One of the best ways to make a conversation easy and free flowing is to get some laughter going. It doesn’t mean you have to be the master joke teller or anything. See if you can work in a way to make the person you are talking to get a smile or some laughter in. In fact, laughing at yourself maybe a nice try.

6. Detach

A great feeling is when you don’t mind which way something turns out, that you will be fine no matter what happens. Kind of like when I watch my two favorite football teams play against each other. I don’t really care who wins, I just want a fun game.

Treat talking to strangers the same way. You don’t really care how the conversation goes because you are detaching from the outcome. Make it a fun time with yourself and if the conversation goes well, awesome! If not then no big deal, move on.

7. Share Your Stories

Well, all like to feel connected to other people. And many times we wind up hanging out with people that we have things in common with. No surprise here.

To help with how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward, tell stories that have commonalities with the person you are talking to. Kids are an easy one. I have a daughter who was a competitive cheerleader and now plays club volleyball. I have instant connection and stories with strangers I speak with who have kids that play sports. It’s easy to relate to.

So when you are speaking to a stranger and you have a story or mutual connection point, bring it up.

8. Give a Compliment

Almost everyone likes hearing a compliment, whether they admit to it or not. As a general rule, we don’t give out enough compliments. It’s amazing how one small remark someone tosses your way about how good you look can literally make your entire day.

When you are speaking with someone you don’t know, see if you can work a compliment in. Nothing creepy here. Not a good idea to tell someone you just met that they are the prettiest or handsomest person you ever met. However, if you can share how you like their tattoo or shoes or something like that, it will help put the conversation into an easy going, smiling place.

9. Relax Your Body Language

If you go into a situation all worried and nervous, it shows on your body. Your shoulders are tensed up, there’s a look of consternation on your face, things like that.

When you engage a stranger in conversation, make it a point to relax your body language. Take a deep breath before you engage the person, let your body relax, and put a smile on your face. This will help relax you and it has the added benefit of putting the other person more at ease.

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If they see that you are relaxed, it helps them relax. Plus having open, engaging body language is very conducive to inviting someone to open up into a conversation with you.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice

Like everything else in life, talking to strangers gets easier with practice. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Make it a point to talk to several strangers each week and it will definitely help you relax as you do it more and more.

After a while, it will become something you don’t even think about, you just do it. And that takes all of the awkwardness out of being in these type situations.

The Bottom Line

As we have seen, it is perfectly natural to feel awkward talking to strangers. We are biologically built that way and we have our own society constantly warning us how dangerous it is. It’s no wonder we feel awkward talking to strangers!

There are numerous benefits to learning to be more comfortable talking to strangers. See if you can employ some of the techniques mentioned to learn how to talk to strangers without feeling awkward.

Once you start practicing speaking with strangers more often and utilizing some of the tips, you will become more comfortable doing so. This in turn will lead to a learned new skill and increased self confidence.

Remember, everyone you know was a stranger at one time. Now get out there and make some new friends.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

Reference

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