If you want to be happy (and I’m sure everyone does), it’s essential to make sure that you don’t fall into pitfalls on the way to happiness. Falling into the pitfalls will make it difficult for you to be and stay happy in life.
That’s why I believe that one of the best ways to find happiness is to learn about the pitfalls. The more you know about the wrong things to do, the better equipped you will be to do the right things.
You may be familiar with some of the points I’m about to share, but being reminded is always good. In fact, the process of writing this post is a way for me to reflect on my life and learn from the pitfalls I’ve encountered so far.
Here are ten things you should avoid to find happiness in life:
1. Trying to please everybody
This is a major pitfall. Often we are afraid of negative things people may say about us that we end up trying to please everybody. But that’s a vain attempt. No matter how good you try, you will never be able to please everyone. You will just end up frustrated. You’d better focus on the right people than wasting your energy on the wrong people.
2. Being greedy
We need money to live, but being obsessed with money will never give us happiness. At most, it will only give us short-term pleasure.
To find true happiness you must learn to be content with your life. Be grateful for what you have and count your blessings. While you may think you don’t have enough, the fact is you have more financially than most other people in the world.
3. Being jealous
It could be difficult to be genuinely happy when someone becomes more successful than you. In such situation, it’s easy to become jealous.
Why does it happen? I believe one main cause is comparing yourself with others. When you compare yourself with others, there is a good chance that you will be either proud (when you are above) or jealous (when you are below). But you should realize that you have your own race to run. You are unique; you have your own call. The best thing you can do is to be your best and meet your call.
4. Not forgiving
Forgiveness is an important key to happiness. When you don’t forgive, you carry a burden in your heart. Some people are so accustomed to carrying the burden that they no longer feel it. But these people don’t know how much joy and happiness they leave on the table because of it.
One thing to note: not only should you forgive others, you should also forgive yourself. Perhaps you have made mistakes in the past that you can’t forgive yourself for. But realize that no one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes so forgive yourself and start anew.
5. Neglecting your passions
What makes you excited in life? Everyone has passion. In fact, I believe that everyone has multiple passions. Spending time in your passions will undoubtedly give you happiness since you are doing what you are hardwired to do. Neglecting your passions, on the other hand, will make you live below your full potential.
6. Being opportunistic
You must seek opportunity but you shouldn’t be opportunistic. If you just jump into anything that looks interesting, you won’t have the consistency to follow your true calling. Your happiness will be a function of the situation and you may ride an emotional roller coaster.
Instead of being opportunistic, try to think strategically about your life. Think long term about how you want your life to be. Have a vision and be consistent with it.
7. Only thinking about yourself
This is also a major pitfall that hinders us from finding happiness. We might think that the more we spend our time on meeting our needs and wants the happier we will be. That’s not true. To the contrary, the more you think about yourself the more likely it is that you will be disappointed. Why? Because the more you think about yourself the more you have to lose. The probability that something will disappoint you increases.
8. Ignoring your conscience
Perhaps deep down in your heart you know that something is the right thing to do but you ignore it. The little whisper in your heart is essential to find happiness. It’s your conscience and it’s telling you what is right to do. Unfortunately, often our rational mind creates a lot of excuses not to follow the conscience. It takes practice to follow your conscience. I still fail here and there, but I’m learning.
9. Being idle
You may know what is right to do and want to do it, but if you don’t actually do it, it won’t do you any good. Do what you should do and don’t procrastinate.
10. Not accepting yourself
Perhaps there are some things you don’t like about yourself. You might want to be taller, richer, or have different background.
Whatever that is, there is nothing you can do about it. So, instead of worrying about it, you’d better accept it and see it in a positive way. What you think is disadvantage could actually be your advantage. For instance, your financial success will be more inspiring if you come from a poor background than if you come from a rich one.
So learn to like yourself. Only after you feel good about yourself can you find happiness in life.
By no mean is this list complete. Do you know of other pitfalls? I would love to hear them.
This article is part of July 2008 theme: Happiness
Photo by Misserion