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This Is the One Reason Why You Aren’t Happy

This Is the One Reason Why You Aren’t Happy

I used to tie my happiness to other people and their expectations of me, particularly at school and at home. I’d think:

“When I get an A it’ll make them happy, then I’ll be happy.”

“If I please all my teachers, then I’ll be happy.”

“If I please my parents, then I’ll be happy.”

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Ultimately, I was always thinking, “If I make ‘them’ happy, then I’ll be happy.”

A nice sentiment I’m sure you’ll agree. The only teeny, tiny, slight problem was that I wasn’t happy. I’d tied my happiness to other people and totally forgotten about whether what I was doing was actually making me happy. And, really, wouldn’t they have wanted me to do what I wanted rather than constantly trying to make them happy? It’s ridiculously obvious when written down like this, but if this is what you do, you’re not at all alone.

The trap of tying your happiness to external factors

If you tie your happiness to other people, you’ll never be able to control it, because you can’t control them. If they’re not happy or behaving how you want them to, what does that mean for you? Similarly, if you tie your happiness to your dreams and goals and achievements, it’ll always be fleeting. Because there’s always another dream or goal or achievement.

If you tie your happiness to stuff, it won’t last. Because you’ll always want more stuff. And you’ll always say, “When I get that, then I’ll be happy.” If you tie your happiness to money, it will evade you, because there’s always more money to earn. You’ll say, “When I have this much, then I’ll be happy.”

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This is why people who’ve achieved a lot sometimes talk about having that empty feeling: they’ve tied their happiness to something external. Yes, they’ve achieved a lot and have loads of money and stuff, but they’re the people who do say, “When I’ve achieved this, then I’ll be happy,” “When I’ve got this much money, I’ll be happy.” It’s never ending because, as I’ve explained, there’s always something else. More stuff. More money.

The one reason why you aren’t happy is…

So what’s the one reason why you aren’t happy? It’s because you’re not tying your happiness to yourself. You’re not tying it to who you are. You’re 100% in control of these things, and you can therefore be as happy as you want, for as long as you want, wherever you are. Of course, it’ll get rocked from time to time, but it can always come back to the rock-solid base that is you. And yes, you’ll grow and evolve, but you’ll still be you. You own your happiness. We all do.

Now I hear you ask, “Matt, oh wise one (okay, you probably didn’t say that), how did you tie your happiness to yourself?” I’ll tell you. I found out what was important to me. What really mattered to me, and why. Because that’s who I was — and am — and once I admitted who I truly was, I was so proud of me. I was happy.

Why you should choose to be happy

A nurse who worked in a hospice conducted a study on the regrets of the dying, and came out with a top 5 (look it up; it’s extremely powerful). One of the regrets, which really hit me at the time I read it, was: “I wish that I had let myself be happier.” To reiterate: this is one of the top 5 regrets of people who are at the end of their lives. I think that’s very telling. Perhaps they finally realized that happiness was a choice. Do you let yourself be happy? If you died tomorrow, would you have the same regret?

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If you’re not totally happy (which is not the same as being sad or depressed), I’ll leave you with these questions:

What would happen if you were happy?

What do you have to let go of to be happy?

When you allow yourself to be happy, what will you do?

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Want to read even more cool stuff about happiness? 20 Definitions Of Happiness You Need To Know

Featured photo credit: Nina Matthews via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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