10 ways you’re making life harder than necessary, and what to do instead
Without realising it, you’ve probably slipped into many detrimental habits. We all do this – we’re only human, after all!
Here’s 10 examples of ways you’re making life harder than it needs to be, and what to do instead.
1. You Don’t Take Risks
Life without risk isn’t living, it’s just existing.
Many of life’s greatest achievements require going outside of your comfort zone. Whether it means overcoming shyness to perform onstage, investing money to help your business grow, or putting yourself out there for the chance to find love, some of life’s most rewarding experiences come because of taking risks.
However, many of us have a difficult time dealing with the uncertainty that goes along with taking risks. A feeling of unease grows out of not knowing the outcome and the fear of potential failure.
• What if I embarrass myself in front of everyone?
• What if I lose all the money that I invested? What if I open my heart and get rejected?
• What if I’m not good enough?
Answer that with another “what if”: what if the point of taking risks isn’t the outcome, but the process in and of itself. Through taking risks, we must confront our own fears, and sometimes that leads to failure… But most of the time we’ll probably find failure wasn’t such a bad thing after all.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risks” Mark Zuckerberg
2. You Ascribe Intent
Another driver cut you off. Someone never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So, what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.
Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.
Mostly, the reasons someone cuts us off while driving, doesn’t text us back, or some other perceived slight has nothing to do with us.
3. You Have Unrealistic And/or Uncommunicated Expectations
Among their many shortcomings of your family, colleagues, and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.
Most people are also so focused on their own problems and lives that they’ve little to spare when it comes to thinking of you.
This is where unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimise your expectations of others, maximise your joy.
4. You’re the Star of Your Own Movie
It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.
Unfortunately, you probably forgot to give your script to anyone else, and you might also have forgotten that your life and your movie are all up to you.
"Live your life like you're the hero in your movie... Live your life like there is a documentary crew following you around and you are analysing your own behaviour. Do what you want to do so that your kids one day would look back at it and see that documentary and look on it with pride." – Joe Rogan
5. You Are Waiting for a Sign
You’re fixated on the idea that you’ll be ready when the perfect moment comes along. But what if that moment is right now? If you don’t know what it is you’re waiting for, what if you miss it? What if right now is, in fact, the perfect timing, but you neglect to see it because it isn’t what you were expecting? Should you trust the notion that good things come to those who wait, or should you take the risk and go for what you truly want?
If you were waiting for a sign, then here it is. Quit waiting and start taking action.
6. You Constantly Compare Your Life to Others
Even though most of us try not to, we’re all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. We can make comparisons like, “I wish I dressed like so-and-so,” or, “I wish I were as rich as them.”
This is often unconscious, but it’s important to try to train ourselves to stop. While it may motivate us to better ourselves, constantly comparing ourselves to others can lead to negative thoughts.
The only person you should be comparing yourself to is yourself. Your efforts should focus on growing from within, being kinder, more resilient, working hard, and being more open.
"I don't want other people to decide what I am. I want to decide that for myself." - Emma Watson
7. You Can’t or Won’t Let Go
One thing that connects us as human beings is our ability to feel pain. Whether that pain is physical or emotional, we all have experiences of being hurt. What separates us though, is how we deal with that pain.
Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it. It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.
Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this or tried that.
To let go of past hurts, you need to make the conscious decision to take control of the situation. However, this can take time and practice. Be kind to yourself as you practice refocusing how you see the situation and celebrate the small victories you have.
8. You Don’t Give Back
Contribution – the drive to contribute to a greater sense of good – is one of our six human needs. It’s an essential part of life, and a powerful one. However, people often don’t realise giving back is what is missing from their lives.
Contributing to the greater good doesn’t just enrich the lives of others; it will enrich your life as well. Volunteering helps you become your authentic self, fulfilling one of your basic needs and elevating you to a more beautiful state.
If you’re looking for ways to give back to the community, your loved ones, or the world at large, the time to act is now. You don’t have to go over the top to make a big difference – you just have to take one simple step to contribute to a better world.
9. You Think Negatively
Humans have a natural survival tendency to imagine everything as its worst possible outcome, that’s what helped our ancestors evolve to avoid or survive attacks from predators, natural disasters, plagues, and so on.
In our modern world, negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, it will pull you under.
When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you're better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. That ability may contribute to the widely observed health benefits of positive thinking.
If you tend to have a negative outlook, don't expect to become an optimist overnight. But with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you.
“You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind” – Joyce Meyer
10. You Let Other People Steal From You
If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact, you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like the precious and scare resource it is. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.
The Bottom Line: Make Life Easier
With deliberate effort and time, you can transform your life. Hopefully, the list above provides a great start point for how.
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