Mistake #1: Losing Sight of What Makes You Happy
Remember when you were a kid, and pure, unadulterated joy was part of most every day? We didn’t have to ask ourselves, “What makes me happy?” We just knew and made it our mission to do those happy things. But adulthood and responsibilities take us farther and farther away from the pure happiness of our youth. We get so caught up in the work of life that we lose touch with the joy of living
Go shut yourself in a clutter-free, distraction-free room with a pen and paper. Think about all of the things you did as a child, a teenager, and a young adult (before you had major responsibilities) that brought you happiness. Write them down. Now think about some things you’ve done in recent years (whether in work or life in general) where you have felt really happy or content. Write those down as well.
How can you make space for more of those things that make you happy back into your life?
Mistake #2: Giving Power to Fear
Fear, which was once an appropriate reaction to real and present danger, is now the reaction to any imagined negative outcome. Fear is mostly a product of our imaginations, almost always without any true basis in reality. We fear failure. We fear success. We fear the future. We fear the past. We fear possible scenarios with only a shred of evidence to lead us there. The more we think about what we fear, the more we feed the fear. Then fear begins to control us, limit us, and ultimately overtake us.
Examine your fears under a magnifying glass. Break them down and study all of the parts. How much truth is there really in each fearful thing? What are the odds that the fearful thing will come to pass? Leave no fear un-probed, until you become bored with fear. Become practiced at seeing fear as a weak and capricious companion, only useful when you are dealing with reality.
Mistake #3: Believing You Are Right
We put a lot of stock in our beliefs. We’ve spent a long time cultivating them, supporting them, proving to others that we have the last word on the subject. We do this with our beliefs about religion, politics, sexuality, child rearing, money, lifestyle, and any number of lesser areas of life (where we still feel compelled to take a stand). But once we are firmly lock in to a point of view, we lose. We lose perspective, kindness, and a learner’s mind.
You don’t have to give up your beliefs — just your attitude about them. Open yourself to other points of view. In fact, seek out other points of view. Look at the topic from every angle and be discerning. You will be a more interesting and understanding person.