One blog I follow rather consistently is “Marc and Angel Hack Life” (subtitle: Practical Tips for Productive Living). A post from earlier this week was so dead-on in revealing the well worn paths many of us travel, leading to a destination of outright unhappiness.
I’m sharing their post with you in this space so that you might have the same eye-opening experience that I did, lest we form a band and start traveling the country in a school bus, singing our signature song.
Dale Carnegie once said, “It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It’s what you think about.”
I don’t think anyone could say it any better than that. I’ve watched so many friends search tirelessly for happiness by changing jobs, moving to new cities, pursuing intimate relationships, and tweaking all sorts of other external factors in their lives. And guess what? They’re still unhappy. Because they spend all of their time and money adding positive externals to their lives when their internals are still in the negatives.
So with that in mind, here are 75 ways to stay unhappy forever. Of course, I would highly recommend you read each bullet point and then move swiftly in the opposite direction.
- Dwell on things that happened in the past.
- Obsess yourself with all the things that might happen in the future.
- Complain about problems instead of taking the necessary steps to resolve them.
- Fear change and resist it.
- Work hard, do your best and then condemn yourself for not achieving perfection.
- Belittle yourself.
- Hang out with other people who belittle you.
- Try to control everything and then worry about the things you can’t control.
- Lie to yourself and those around you.
- Keep doing the same thing over and over again.
- Be lazy and follow the path of least resistance.
- Hold onto anger. Never forgive anyone.
- Always be right. Never let anyone else be more right than you.
- Compare yourself unfavorably to those who you feel are more successful.
- Let small issues snowball into big problems.
- Never learn anything new.
- Never take responsibility for your own actions.
- Blame everyone around you.
- Don’t ask for directions and don’t ask questions.
- Don’t let anyone help you.
- Quit when the going gets tough.
- Be suspicious. Trust no one.
- Get four hours of sleep every night and convince yourself that it’s enough.
- Never throw anything way. Even if you don’t use it, hold onto it.
- Say “yes” to everyone. Fill all your time with commitments.
- Try to be everyone’s friend.
- Multitask, multitask, multitask! Do everything at once.
- Never spend any time alone.
- Don’t help others unless you have to. Do only the things that benefit you directly.
- Hang out with people who complain about everything.
- Focus on what you don’t want to happen.
- Fear the things you don’t fully understand.
- Always seek external validation before you consider yourself good enough.
- Take everything and everyone in life seriously.
- Spend your life working in a career field you aren’t passionate about.
- Focus on the problems.
- Think about all the things you don’t have.
- Read or watch lots of depressing news from broadcast media.
- Set lofty goals for yourself and never do anything to achieve them.
- Never exercise.
- Only eat junk food and fried food.
- Never check-up on your health.
- Setup your lifestyle so it revolves around money.
- Spend more than you earn and rack up lots of financial debt.
- Don’t say what you mean. Don’t mean what you say.
- Never tell anyone how you feel or what you’re thinking.
- Make sure everything you do impresses someone else.
- Always put your own needs on the back burner.
- Get involved in other people problems and make them your own.
- Make others feel bad about themselves.
- Watch TV for several hours every day.
- Gamble often.
- Stay in the same place. Don’t travel.
- Don’t play, just work.
- Let your hobbies go.
- Let your close relationships go.
- Never finish what you start.
- Take everything personally.
- Do lots of drugs. Drink lots of alcohol.
- Never say, “I’m sorry.” Never say, “I love you.”
- Don’t work hard at anything.
- Always wait until the last minute.
- Believe that, no matter what, you are entitled to things.
- Let others make decisions for you.
- Remember the insults. Forget the compliments.
- Let it all bottle up inside.
- Rely on others for everything.
- Fail to plan.
- Don’t dream.
- Don’t think about the future at all.
- Always disregard other people’s opinions and suggestions.
- Make promises you can’t keep.
- Don’t decide on anything, ever.
- Just keep going and going and going. And never ever stop.
And now that you know what not to do, let me tell you a secret about happiness. Nobody is happy all of the time. It’s perfectly normal to experience considerable fluctuations in your level of happiness from day to day, month to month, and even year to year.
In fact, according to a recent scientific study, overall levels of happiness decline from one’s teens until one’s 40s and then pick up again until they peak in one’s early 70s. So the chances are that your happiest days are yet to come. Hopefully that gives you something to smile about.
What five things from the list above will you throw out the (school bus) window in 2011?
Become a follower of Marc and Angel. You’ll be happy you did!