“Happiness is not a goal; it’s the by-product of a life well lived.”
We all make mistakes in life, but the people who learn and grow from their mistakes are the happiest ones in the end.
And that’s precisely what we discuss in today’s video…
Video Blog Post:
10 Things Happy People Never Do Again (video transcript):
Life is change. Everyone has gone through something that has changed them in a way that prevents them from being the same person they once were. But as my grandmother always told me, this is a very good thing. As long as you keep learning and stretching yourself, change is growth.
Sometimes you have to accept the fact that things will never go back to how they used to be, and that this ending is really a new beginning.
Over the past decade, Angel and I have helped thousands of coaching clients and blog subscribers (subscribe here) get their lives back on track. In the process of doing so, we have discovered that the people who have the greatest potential for renewed happiness seem to have specific “aha” moments that totally change the trajectory of their thoughts and behaviors. Once this “aha” light bulb goes off in their minds, they awaken to a new reality that motivates them to never go back to their old way of doing things.
In short, these “aha” moments mean they got it. Whatever it was they were doing or thinking that was holding them back, is now a lesson learned and a thing of the past.
Although life has many important lessons to teach us, Angel and I have observed and studied ten specific gateways – or “aha’s” – of learning that the happiest people go through, never to return again.
Happy people never again…
- Try to be anyone other than who they are. – In everything you do, you must ask, “Why am I doing this? Is this helping me grow? Does it represent who I am and who I hope to become?” Truth be told, trying to be anyone else is a waste of the person you are. Be yourself. Embrace that individual inside you that has ideas, strengths and beauty like no one else. Be the person you know yourself to be – the best version of you – on your terms.
- Attempt to be everything to everyone. – It’s impossible to please everyone, and you shouldn’t try. Period. Some people will constantly tell you what you did wrong, and then hesitate to compliment you for what you did right. Don’t be one of them, and don’t pay attention to them. Once you get that it truly is impossible to please everyone, you begin to live more purposefully, trying to please only the right people. (Read The Mastery of Love.)
- Try to change other people. – You can’t change people; they can only change themselves. Instead of trying to change others, give them your support and lead by example. If there’s a specific behavior someone you love has that you’re hoping disappears over time, it probably won’t. If you really need them to change something, be honest and put all the cards on the table so this person knows what you need them to do. When you realize that you can’t force people into doing something, even if it’s for their own good, you give them freedom and allow them to experience the consequences. And in doing so, you find your own freedom as well.
- Make the same exact mistake. – You have to respect the wise words of Albert Einstein: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” So whether you’re in a business situation that isn’t making any progress, or a broken relationship that has proven to be unhealthy, you should never step back into same situation, expecting different results, without something specific and measurable actually being different.
- Choose short-term pleasure over long-term happiness. – You have to do exactly the opposite – sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term happiness. Happy people are more interested in something being effective than they are in something being easy. While everyone else is looking for the quickest shortcut, they look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term. Living out this principle every single day is one of the most fundamental differences between people who live truly rewarding lives and those who don’t, both personally and professionally. (Angel and I discuss this in detail in the “Goals and Success” chapter of 1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.)
- Expect people and situations to be perfect. – It’s natural for us to be drawn to situations and people that appear to be amazing. We love excellence and should always be looking for it. We should pursue people who are great at what they do, coworkers and employees who are high performers, mates who are extraordinary people, friends who have stellar character, and business partners who excel. But never lose sight of this simple truth: Nothing and nobody is perfect. Period. No one and no thing is flawless, and if they appear that way, and you expect them to always be that way, you will only disappoint yourself.
- Let one dark cloud cover the entire sky. – Take a deep breath. It’s just a bad moment, or a bad day, not a bad life. Everyone has troubles. Everyone makes mistakes. The secret of happiness is to count your blessings while others are adding up their troubles. For happy people, no one event is ever the whole story. They remind themselves of this fact each and every day.
- Neglect responsibility for managing their life situation. – Simply put, happy people don’t blame others or defer their authority. They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes, or their lack thereof. They know it’s up to them, and only them, to assess and manage their circumstances. Laziness just won’t cut it. No matter how good something looks at first, it is only by owning your situation and taking a deeper, diligent, and sincere look that you will find out what you truly need to know: the truth that you owe to yourself.
- Classify themselves as a victim. – Yes, it’s unfortunate that sometimes bad things happen to the best of people. Life can be unfair, unkind and downright unjust. However, being stuck in a victim mentality does not nurture your ability to move onward and upward. You’ve got to stand back up and take positive steps to heal and grow. One of the biggest differences between truly happy people and others is that in every difficult life situation – relationships, career, business, money, etc. – happy people always ask themselves, “What part am I playing in this situation? And what are my options from this point forward?” (Read Second Firsts.)
- Allow external achievements to overshadow inner happiness. – We are happy and fulfilled mostly by who we are on the inside. Scientific research has validated this time and time again. And our internal lives largely contribute to producing many of our external circumstances. The problem is that when we think we have to “look” for things in life like love, meaning and inspiration, the “looking” implies that these things are somehow hiding behind some bushes somewhere, just waiting to be discovered. So we start looking for these things in places that lead us further and further outside ourselves, which is not where our happiness lives.
If you’re struggling with any of the points above, know that you are not alone. We all struggle with these things at times. Sometimes we repeat mistakes many times before we are able to say “aha” and finally get it. Just do your best to look for the patterns that are holding you back, and then gradually eliminate them. That’s really it…
Your task, in life, in relationships, and in business, is to observe what is NOT working for you, and never go back to doing these things.
What’s one “aha” moment that has helped you find more happiness? What else has been hurting your happiness that you need to never do again? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Photo by: Amanda