I’ve often talked about the journey to happiness as being the most important thing in life. About how becoming rich or achieving a position of power and influence are not the hallmarks of happiness that you might think.
Rather, authentic happiness is more about living joyfully every day; appreciating every moment that God has given us on the Earth; striving to contribute to our society; having a passionate and purposeful life.
It’s a meaningful quest that we should all undertake. It’s an awesome goal, and it can be attained. But we need to be aware that it is not a clear, easy path. Saboteurs and landmines might lie in your path. Deliberately or accidentally they may block your way. So be mindful. Be cautious. And take evasive action to get to your place of happiness.
Here are some things to avoid to improve your chances.
1. Avoid Saying Yes When You Mean No
Know when to say no. Avoid saying yes to everything. It is not being selfish to put your own needs first and do what is in your best interests rather than always being amenable. You can make yourself unhappy by being so agreeable that you’ll do anything for anybody. That’s when people take advantage.
2. Avoid Settling for Second Best
Avoid compromising on the relationships in your life. Personally and professionally seek to partner with the best. Why would you want to settle for second best? If you have a high enough opinion of yourself (and you should!) then the people with whom you spend your time should be the best.
3. Avoid Going with the Flow
Don’t believe that “majority rules.” So what if more than 50 percent of people are in favor of one course of action? Does that make it right for you? Have the courage of your convictions if you feel differently and stick to your guns. You’ll be a happier person when you maintain your position.
4. Avoid Dwelling on the Past
What’s done is done. The past is the past. Forgive and forget. Move forward. If you constantly dwell on the mistakes of yesterday it will drag you down. Learn from them. Become a better person. Become happier with who you are today and take that with you into a positive future. Break-ups both personal and professional are always tough, but they are part of the journey and can make you a more-rounded, content and contributing human being.
5. Avoid Being Judgmental
It’s very easy to rush to judgment and condemn the bad behavior of others, especially if you are on the receiving end of unjustified actions. This one is difficult to observe when you know that you are in the right. But, at some point, you have to move forward and try to do so without bitterness and recrimination.
6. Avoid Over-Criticizing Yourself
By all means critique who you are and what you do. Reflect on your performance and attitude. But avoid getting into the habit of constantly criticizing yourself. Don’t nitpick or second guess every decision you’ve made. If you’ve made mistakes, don’t worry about it. Concentrate on turning them into positive, learning experiences.
7. Avoid Overload
Don’t take on too much. You’re not going to be at your best for your business or your loved ones if you’re constantly overloaded and stressed. Yes, there are times when you need to work to the max. But be careful you don’t burn out. That’s not going to make anyone happy. Learn how to prioritize tasks.
8. Avoid Comparisons
Be careful not to fixate on what others are doing. You are a unique individual. If you’re always trying to measure your performance against that of others you will find it’s a losing game. The way forward is to make every effort to be better today than you were yesterday.
9. Avoid Thinking Negatively
Are you a “half glass empty” or “half glass full” person? Your outlook on life—whether you’re a pessimist or optimist by nature—will undoubtedly have an impact on your future happiness. If you’re inclined to think negatively try to change your thinking. Focus on the positives in your life.
10. Avoid Unreal Expectations
When you’re a hard-charging entrepreneur you usually have a single-minded vision and nothing is going to get in your way. But along with that dogged determination can come expectations that colleagues, employees, and investors are going to work just as hard and care just as much. While it may be difficult try not to expect everyone to share your passion. That kind of expectation often leads to disappointment.
Your journey to happiness is not a straight line. There will be challenges along the way. But if you have the right mindset, and if you’re flexible and willing to make changes, it can ultimately be yours. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter what your current personal and professional situation might be. It’s never too late to get on the right track.
As they say, even in the darkest moments you’ll eventually see light. So don’t dwell there. Always light the fire within.
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