Do You Recognize These 7 Tricks Your Mind Is Playing on You?


July 10, 2012   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

So, you want to change your life and be happier? Maybe happiness means unlocking your greater potential, enhancing your quality of life, or realizing your lifelong dreams.

By now you may have absorbed countless personal development books, videos, or blogs. Sometimes you find something that resonates but the excitement constantly fades. Too often, you feel like you’re back right where you started.


Have you ever considered that your own mind is sabotaging your path to happiness? While your mind may not be the sole culprit, it is a clever foe. Your brain can mislead and make you miserable…and you won’t even know it.

But all is not lost. You can learn how to recognize your mind’s deception and develop the right mindset. Check out this list of seemingly harmless thoughts to see if your mind is tricking you out of your happiness.

  1. From now on, I’m going to do my best.
    How often have you pressured yourself to think positive after an unhappy incident or after seeing something inspirational? While pressure can sometimes provide the necessary push, commanding yourself to do your “best” doesn’t give you much flexibility.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that when we want to make an important change, we have to take a huge leap. But what if you’re having a bad day? The energy is suddenly lost, everything looks bleak, and you can’t talk yourself out of it.

You feel like a failure.

It’s important to remember that the change you want requires time, persistence, and patience. So, take one small step at a time and leave room to learn from your mistakes.

  • I just need to be more like…
    It’s normal to think that you should strive to be like those you admire. The problem arises when you wish you could be them. 

If you get too wrapped up in mimicking someone else, you’ll forget to pay attention to who you are—your needs, your values, your character, your journey.

By all means, learn what you can from your role models and adapt or modify ideas to fit you. But don’t forget to find your own voice. Gaining self-knowledge and self-respect is invaluable to building a lasting happiness.

  • I’ll just follow what the experts say.
    It’s easy to think that experts can help you find your way to happiness. When you’re down, their words are like beacons of hope. But that hope can be fleeting if you don’t apply the lessons to real life. 

Experts share lessons from their own experiences. While advice helps, their words serve only as hints, not answers for your journey. It’s in your own real experiences where you will piece yourself together, realize your capabilities, and find out what matters to you.

Learn to trust yourself.

  • I’m so busy. I’ll find more time to focus on myself…later.
    Nowadays, being really busy has become something worth bragging about or something you can’t escape. However, keep living this way and finding “you” time will start looking impossible. You will probably even blame your commitments for stealing your time. 

But is it truly impossible for you to make time for yourself? Are you busy or is it avoidance? Are there duties you can cut out?

Really look at your schedule, prioritize, and put in a little “you” time. Everything else would benefit more if you spent some time caring for your needs.

  • I’m too tired. I need a break.
    Maybe you are taking some “you” time but you don’t want to think about anything too intensely. Breaks help you recharge your mind. However, there is such a thing as having too many breaks. In this case, “taking a break” becomes an excuse to escape. 

Thinking about your life shouldn’t feel like a chore. Take advantage of the moments when your brain isn’t dwelling on too many things. For starters, take 10 minutes and ask yourself what you’ve been doing, why you’re doing it, and what will make you happier? It’s worth your time.

  • Other people are just luckier than me.
    Bad luck—a popular self-reassurance when we’re incapable of understanding why we’re not getting what we want. It’s a mild form of comfort that temporarily eases the pain but can create resentment of others. 

But why put your life at the hands of luck? Personally, I’m a firm believer of “you make your own luck.” Do the work you know is necessary because luck can’t give you your future happiness—you do.

Have some more faith in yourself because your goals need you—your energy, passion, and determination—if they are to survive.

Daydreaming is healthy to some extent. It allows you to be creative and visualize where you want to be. It only becomes dangerous when you don’t do anything about it.

Don’t live that happier life in your head. Good things come to those who go after them.

Sure, it’s not going to happen overnight. You may experience plenty of false starts and—let’s face it—there’s a chance you might fail. But keep going, try again or move on to the next thing. After all, isn’t life about experiencing and learning from the good and the bad? Meeting new people, exploring ideas, and discovering new places?

Your life won’t change if you are passing the time in your dream world. Time is precious, so be in the present and get going.

Want happiness? Know and believe in yourself.

Now that you’re aware of these thought traps, you can safely evade them. All that’s left is for you to truly believe and apply yourself. Your mind is going to be with you through thick and thin. So, if you want your mind to always work with you instead of against you, then you must find the reasons to believe in yourself.

Be aware, honest, and true to yourself. You are your own ultimate guide for your journey towards happiness. Now, go for it!

Written on 7/10/2012 by Melissa Ng. Melissa is a doodler, entrepreneur, inspiration-seeker, and negativity-fighter. She doodle- blogs about achieving greater happiness by living a creative, productive, and purposeful life at She is also the co-founder of NY-based music learning and inspiration center, PianoVerse. Photo Credit: Joybot

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