Can there really be one key to lasting happiness and greater success? Is it even possible for us?
Our desire to experience higher levels of joy drives most of the decisions we make and things we do. We’re generally at our best and feel good about ourselves if we’re experiencing happiness consistently.
Yet for most people, happiness isn’t something they experience consistently. We all have experiences or moments that make us laugh and feel good in the moment.
If we rely on external things to experience happiness, it’s difficult to sustain those emotions. Genuine happiness comes from within us. It’s something we generate each day through our choices and actions.
Lasting happiness isn’t a onetime experience or moment. It’s how we feel and who we are every day.
Common Keys to Lasting Happiness
Throughout history, things suggested on how to find lasting happiness and greater success include:
- Staying healthy in mind, body and spirit.
- Being present and experiencing each moment for what it is.
- Knowing the motivation behind why we do the things we do.
- Practicing gratitude or appreciation daily.
- Having close or strong relationships and connections with people.
- Practicing forgiveness and letting go of resentments and judgments.
- Listening to our intuition.
- Giving up the need for approval or validation.
- Not being attached to things or outcomes.
- Being generous.
- Not relying on others to make us feel happy.
- Tapping into what make us great and sharing our greatness with others.
- Finding and living our life purpose.
My belief is these are true and should be how we live our lives, if we want to experience happiness.
However, there is an important key to lasting happiness and greater success. If we don’t know what it is, experiencing lasting happiness will be highly unlikely.
The ability to overcome internal resistance when setting new goals can be the difference in achieving them or not.
The better we understand what resistance is coming up for us, the more likely we can overcome them.
There are three levels of setting goals, based on:
- What we know we can do or achieve.
- What we think we can do or achieve.
- What we really want, which are our dreams.
If we set goals based on the first two, they don’t classify as goals because we won’t grow. The purpose of setting goals is to challenge ourselves to do something we haven’t done before. In achieving our goals, we’ll grow as a person and tap into resources within us.
What Can Hold You Back From Achieving Your Goals
When we set goals based on what we really want, that can bring up a lot of internal resistance. This is because we don’t know how to achieve them. We also may have thoughts whether we can achieve them.
These thoughts of doubt, concern, worry, uncertainty are all examples of internal resistance we must address.
Whenever we set goals, there is usually excitement and higher levels of energy initially. As time goes by, if we don’t address our internal resistance, our goals may become a grind. This can lead to delays in achieving them or us quitting our goals.
Our internal resistance can play out as excuses, justifications, blaming or complaining why we cannot achieve our goals. That’s the power they have over us, which is why we must learn to overcome our internal resistance.
The concept of “fake it till you make it” is popular in personal development books and training programs.
The premise is we can be a certain way or make ourselves do things, even if we don’t believe we can.
The positive intent behind the fake it till you make it premise is to help us generate self-confidence. A higher level of self-confidence can overcome any fears, doubts or concerns we may have to take a particular action.
While the concept may appear useful, it can have long-term effects, if it’s not applied with the right intent.
The word “fake” doesn’t have a positive vibe. No one likes to be known as a fake, so why would we want to come across as a fake?
Why Do We Buy into the “Fake it Till You Make it” Concept?
We can buy into the fake it till you make it concept if we have low self-esteem and lack confidence. Therefore, to compensate for low self-esteem and low confidence, we apply the concept to:
- Prove or feel a sense of self-worth.
- Be liked or validated by others.
- Feel good about ourselves in front of others.
- Appear to be smarter, important or know all the answers.
- Come across as good enough to others.
While there’s nothing wrong with applying strategies to feel better about ourselves, we also have to consider the potential risks.
Those who can deal with a cluttered mind when under pressure have a better chance of making progress.
Knowing how to have a clear mind is necessary if we want to operate at a high level. Whenever we feel we have a cluttered mind, it affects our ability to make good decisions.
What is a Cluttered Mind?
A cluttered mind is the opposite of a calm, focused mind. When we have a cluttered mind, we’ll:
- Experience confusion and uncertainty.
- Have a lot of mental chatter.
- Be indecisive.
- Make poor choices affecting our health and relationships.
- Not keep our agreements and break our commitments.
Causes of a Cluttered Mind
Things that can cause us to have a cluttered mind include:
- Influenced by the opinions of other people.
- Stress or pressure.
- Bad diet.
- Lack of sleep.
- Too many things going on with no prioritisation criteria.
- Lack of exercise and self-care.
- Having a medical condition.
- Being on medication.
Having ways to deal with a cluttered mind will help us ease stress or pressure and handle our responsibilities well.
To continually reach new levels of success, we must know how to easily turn adversity into an advantage.
Throughout our lives, we’ll experience more challenges, adversities and struggles than successes. Knowing how to turn adversity into an advantage will help us:
- Stay focused on what we want.
- Maintain our confidence and motivation levels.
- Have a healthy mental attitude.
- Appreciate any progress we make.
- Enjoy the journey we’re on.
The ability to turn adversity into an advantage is a quality successful people have. It’s a quality that can be developed.
In the book, “Think and Grow Rich,” in the chapter on “Desire,” Napoleon Hill wrote, “Every adversity brings with it the seed of an equivalent advantage.”
Recognising there is an advantage whenever we’re experiencing adversity is the mindset we must develop.
Common Adversities People Face
Most of our struggles in life fall into one of these three categories: health, relationships and money. The common adversities we face include:
- Loss of a loved one.
- End of a relationship.
- Financial loss or struggles.
- Health issue.
- Loss of a job.
- Experiencing failure.
When we learn how to turn adversity into an advantage, we’ll continue to make progress toward what we want.
The ability to identify and change a negative or toxic attitude is essential in supporting us achieve what we want.
Our daily interactions and obligations can cause us to experience high levels of stress, which can affect our attitude.
When stress builds up, it can cause us to behave in uncharacteristic ways, which can lead to a negative attitude.
Examples of Negative Attitudes
Signs we may have a negative attitude can include:
- Whining and complaining.
- Criticising others.
- Not owning up to mistakes.
- Being impolite to others.
- Not willing to accept feedback because it’s taken as an attack.
When these things are playing out, we have to identify the triggers or causes of our negative attitude.
How to Identify a Negative Attitude?
The ability to identify a negative attitude is beneficial because we can then do something about it. Some consequences of having a negative or toxic attitude can include:
- Not feeling well mentally or emotionally.
- Constantly agitated or annoyed.
- Focusing more on what’s wrong rather than what’s going well.
- Finding it hard to concentrate on what needs to be done.
- Replaying events in our minds from the past that haven’t gone our way.
When we change our attitude, we’ll feel better about ourselves and be more relaxed.
Feeling like a failure can do us a lot of harm if we don’t manage our emotional state well.
Experiences that don’t go our way can lead to unhealthy emotions, which can include feeling like a failure.
Knowing how to shift our mental and emotional states is important to have a healthy attitude consistently.
Things You May Say to Yourself When You Are Feeling Like a Failure
If we’re feeling like a failure, it means we’re generating poor self-talk. Things we may say to ourselves include:
- “Things are so hard.”
- “I hate my life.”
- “Why do I keep messing up?”
- “Will I ever get a break?”
- “I can’t do anything right.”
- “I’ve really messed up my life.”
- “Why even bother trying?”
- “I’m such a loser.”
- “I hate myself.”
- “What will everyone say if I fail?”
Consequences of Not Addressing Feeling Like a Failure
Allowing ourselves to feel like a failure for any length of time will have harmful consequences. These can include
- Affecting our relationships.
- Lower levels of motivation.
- Mental health challenges which can lead to depression or anxiety.
- Low productivity and performance.
- Bad attitude or outlook on life.
No one likes to or wants to feel like a failure. We have to learn how to give ourselves a boost when things are not going well.
Most of us were never taught how to deal with rejection or overcome the fear of being rejected.
The fear of being rejected stops many people from taking action, which means they don’t achieve what they want.
Knowing how to deal with rejection can:
- Prevent a loss of self-confidence or a drop in self-worth.
- Lead to new achievements.
- Reduce internal turmoil or stress.
- Form new partnerships.
- Open new possibilities or opportunities.
If we deal with rejection or the fear of being rejected well, we’re more likely to get the outcomes we want.
What Does Rejection Really Mean?
Whenever we believe we’ve been rejected, it means an outcome we experienced didn’t match our expectations. Something happened that made us feel we missed out on something, which caused an emotional reaction.
Having a fear of rejection means we’re imagining a negative consequence for an action we intend to take. We’re telling ourselves something we want may not happen or that it’s too risky.
If we’ve felt rejection, it means our identity was affected in some way. Having a fear of rejection means we’re trying to protect ourselves or our identity.
There are important decisions we can make and things we can do now to avoid regret later in life.
It’s uncomfortable to know we may have regrets when we get to the end of our lives.
Therefore, to avoid regret later in life, there are things we should know so we can make better choices now.
The Top Regrets People Have Later in Life
In the book, “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” Bronnie Ware, a nurse who spent many years with patients in palliative care, captured the common regrets people have.
These were based on many conversations she had with patients, which can be an inspiration for us to make better choices. The top five regrets were:
- I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
- I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
- I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
- I wish I had stayed in touch with friends.
- I wish I had let myself be happier.
Not having the courage to be true to themselves was the biggest regret people had.
These regrets should be valuable reminders to reconnect to our priorities and what matters most to us.
If you’re like me, one struggle you face consistently is to do what you know you should.
Even though most times, we know what’s best for us, we don’t always do what we know we should.
Doing what we know we should is important if we want to achieve meaningful things and feel good about ourselves.
Signs You Are Not Doing What You Know You Should
There are obvious signs that indicate you’re not doing what you know you should. These include:
- You procrastinate when you have things to do.
- You stay up late even though you have to get up early.
- You don’t take good care of yourself.
- You binge despite knowing it’s not good for you. This may include eating, drinking or watching movies.
- You don’t change things in your life even though you know you’re not happy or inspired.
One thing I have struggled with in the past is exercising consistently. Even though I knew it was important to do physical exercise to maintain a healthy lifestyle, I wasn’t doing any.
The consequence was I gained weight and didn’t feel good about myself, which affected my confidence. When I exercised regularly and paid more attention to what I was eating, I got healthier. That helped me lose the weight I wanted to, which made me feel better about myself and gain more confidence.
The better we understand why we don’t do what we know we should, the more likely we’ll change our behaviour.