Is your mind playing tricks on you and robbing you of your happiness?
Our minds are complex and are often our own worst enemies when it comes to being happy. Really. Our own brains that we know and love deceive us into thinking something is right when it is really wrong, that we're in love when we're not, etc. Recognizing and debunking these traps your mind leads you into is essential to realizing a lasting happiness, into creating stronger relationships, and to succeeding in your career.
Check out this list to see if you are being deceived by your own mind! I'd be willing to bet that you have been.
- I'd be happier if I just had less to do
Our minds often try to trick us into thinking we'd be happier if we didn't have to work. We imagine a life of leisure and deceive ourselves into thinking this kind of lifestyle would make us happy. However, the truth is that idleness often leads to boredom and depression. We are industrious, creative beings. We need challenge and accomplishment to be happy. Get up and invest yourself into something significant and you will find that your happiness factor will rise!
- It's not me, it's you
Many times our minds lead us to believe we are unhappy due to our spouse, parents or some other person in our lives. We throw blame around like food in a middle school cafeteria. Of course, it takes two to tango. As Dr. Phil asks, "How's that workin' for ya?" Generally, we are as much, if not more, to blame than others in our lives. We need to accept responsibility for our situation and do our part to make the best of it. Taking personal responsibility for our actions is the beginning of true happiness.
- I just need to discover the secret to success to be happy
I am convinced that there are no "secrets" to happiness or success. As much as authors, publishers and our own minds would like to convince us that shortcuts exist, they do not. Living a successful life is pretty simple. You create a vision for the future, formulate a strategy and then work hard to achieve it. There are no shortcuts or secrets to this formula. Accepting this will get you much further down the path to happiness than anything else.
- If I just had...
Our minds deceive us into thinking we'll be happy when we get the right job or the right house or the right car or whatever. There is nothing wrong with wanting better things or circumstances, but these do not automatically make us happy. They may create a temporary high, but this quickly wears off. Those wanting a lasting happiness must acknowledge that this is a bottomless pit that we can never fill.
- I like things just the way they are and never want them to change
Believing this is just letting yourself be set up for a fall. Life is a journey of constant change. Some of which we control and some we don't. Resisting change or trying to control the change out of life is self-defeating. It will drain you and rob you of your happiness. Change is inevitable. You must accept this and learn to go with the flow. Being adaptable is very important to your happiness.
- If it hasn't happened yet for me, it never will
Our minds often get discouraged and disillusioned when success is just around the corner for us. Colonel Sanders didn't start franchising his KFC restaurants until he was 65, forty years after he started serving chicken at his service station. Perseverance is very important in achieving happiness. Never let your mind trick you into giving up. You don't know what tomorrow holds. One more day may be all it will take to realize your dream!
- I'll just avoid the things I don't like doing
It is usually the difficult tasks that our minds try to trick us into avoiding. Unfortunately, these are oftentimes the very things that would result in the greatest rewards for us. What do you put off doing? Why? Procrastination and avoidance of completing important tasks or resolving nagging issues only delays your march to happiness. Attack these head-on and you will find a deep sense of gratification that will fuel your happiness.
- The world is scary and something bad might happen to me
Our minds tell us there are a lot of things beyond our control. For instance, the way that crime and terror is sensationalized on television might lead us to think that bad guys are lurking around every corner waiting to do dastardly deeds to us. However, crime rates have actually fallen in recent years. According to FBI statistics, violent crime is lower now than it was 20 years ago! Fear is a powerful emotion our brains use to get the better of us. We must seek and trust the facts to break free and be happy!
- I'll decide when I know for sure what to do
Over-thinking every decision will leave you stymied. Weighing the risks, analyzing the possibilities and making a plan are important, but nothing ever happens until a decision is made and action is taken. We very rarely have perfect information when making choices. Stop sweating it so much! Failure is not the end of the world. Napoleon Hill writes, "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." Don't let your mind trap you into over-analyzing everything!
- I know I shouldn't
Our minds try to trick us into denying the effects of our bad habits and rationalizing our behavior with flimsy excuses. This seems especially common with health issues. For example, have you heard someone say, "I know I shouldn't smoke, but it helps me keep the weight off." Or, how about, "I know I shouldn't eat this, but life just isn't worth living if I can't enjoy it." A major health issue like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes will certainly challenge your happiness. Don't let your mind get away with this trick!
- Dreams only come true for those that are lucky
Thomas Jefferson said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Our minds will sometimes trick us into thinking we are victims of fate. They will lead us to believe "nothing good ever happens to me". What our brains credit as the luck of others, generally is the result of years of practice, hard work and preparation. Pursue your dream with your whole heart and you might be surprised at the "luck" that comes your way.
- I could never
Our brains often trick us into thinking we can't. For example, have you heard, "I could never go back to school. I don't have the money." or "I can't learn to do that. I'm too old." Don't fall for this trick! Your mind is very persuasive in the way it uses this one. It will lead you around like a dog on a leash if you let it. You are full of potential and although your circumstances might add a degree of difficulty, it is nothing that a little persistence and ingenuity can't overcome. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
Don't let these tricks steal your happiness!