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What You Already Know Is Your Biggest Barrier To Happiness

What You Already Know Is Your Biggest Barrier To Happiness

Do you ever think: My biggest barrier to happiness and success is what I don’t know?

Do you ever think: If I could only learn the secret to having great relationships, making more money, or just being happy—I’d be able to achieve those things?

Do you, as a result, read books and blog posts, take workshops, attend webinars, or listen to CDs in order to learn what you need to learn? That’s why the most popular blog posts are usually the ones that offer “Ten Tips to ….” or “15 Ways to ….”

If you have these thoughts and if you often seek more information, you are not alone.  There are millions of people who are trying to improve their lives through more information.

Information is the problem, not the solution.

While learning new things certainly can’t hurt, I disagree that the biggest barrier to happiness and success is what we don’t know.   Our biggest barrier is what we already know.   

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I’m not talking about factual information we’ve learned from books or courses.  I’m talking about what we believe.  A belief is a statement about reality that we feel is true. It is our beliefs about ourselves, people and life—such as I’m not good enough, mistake and failure are bad, life is difficult, relationships don’t work, I’ll never get what I want—that thwart our attempts at achieving happiness.

We act consistently with what we believe to be true.

People who hold these and other similar beliefs experience them as facts, as true as 2+2=4.  As a result, they act consistently with their beliefs.  For example:

If you believe I’m not good enough, you probably will hear a little voice in your mind criticizing whatever you do: “What makes you think that’s good enough?”  That constant question is debilitating.

If you believe mistakes and failure are bad, you probably will avoid doing anything innovative where you could make a mistake.

If you believe life is difficult, you probably will always expect the worst and give up very easily.

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If you believe relationships don’t work, you either will resist them becoming too serious or feel insecure about them even when they seem to be working.

If you believe I’ll never get what I want, you are unlikely to want very much or continue to fight for what you do want if you discover barriers in the way.

Our beliefs—what we are convinced is true—are our biggest barriers.  Therefore, unlearning our negative, limiting beliefs is ultimately more important to our success and happiness than learning something new.

Factual information can be useful.

I’m not saying that we can’t learn anything new that would improve the quality of our lives.  Of course we can.  There are some ways of interacting with people that are more effective than others; there are strategies for making money that are more effective than others; etc.  It is worth learning those things.

I read marketing books all the time to learn how to better get my work out into the world.  I read other types of books to learn more about psychology and the human brain.

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Unlearning has made the biggest difference in my life.

But unlearning my negative beliefs has made more of a difference than any new information I’ve ever learned.  It has enabled me to have a blissful 32-year marriage after two unhappy divorces.  Unlearning my limiting beliefs enabled me to get rid of my depression, which had rendered me miserable for most of my life. I had a hard time committing to anything and saw life as overwhelming.  Eliminating those beliefs made it possible for me to create a business that uses our belief unlearning process to help hundreds of thousands of people, when before I had always felt I was powerless to succeed.

Unlearning versus learning.

My wife Shelly, a Certified Lefkoe Method Facilitator who helps 25 clients a week from around the world unlearn limiting beliefs, tells the story of a client who called her when the client returned from a T. Harv Eker “Millionaire Mind” workshop.

“I’m so excited.  As a result of what I learned in the workshop I bought the summer house of my dreams,” she exclaimed to Shelly.

Shelly was obviously happy for her, but was aware of the work the client had done with her before she attended the workshop.  So Shelly asked, “What did your friends buy?”  “Nothing,” the client admitted.

Shelly opened the client’s file and read several of the beliefs the client had unlearned prior to attending the workshop: Money is scarce and hard to get, You have to save your money for a rainy day, I’m not deserving, and Mistakes and failure are bad.

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Shelly then asked her, “Do you think you would have been able to use what you learned in the workshop and bought the summer house of your dreams if you still had the beliefs you eliminated?” The stunned silence at the other end of the phone line was the answer.

Do some unlearning and see for yourself.

While it is always wise to learn as much as you can, to achieve true happiness and success make your major focus unlearning all that we believe is true … but really isn’t.  Unlearn the negative beliefs that have been sabotaging you.

In an earlier post here at Lifehack I described how the Lefkoe Belief Process could help you unlearn the beliefs that are undercutting your attempts to fulfill your dreams.  Use that process to help you do some unlearning.  I promise it will make a profound difference in your life.

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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