Is your mind playing tricks on you, robbing you of the ability to make you happy?
Our minds are incredibly complex (well, most of us) and frankly, are often our own worst enemies when it comes to this subject.
Really. Would I lie to you?
Our own brains that we know and love, often trick us into thinking something is right when it’s really wrong, that we're really happy, even when we're not, etc. But the good news is that there are traps that you can recognize that trap your mind and keeps you from finding your way.
Consider these mind blowers:
1. I'd be happier if I just had less to do today
Our minds like to trick us into thinking we'd be very happy if we didn't have to work. We imagine a life of leisure and deceive ourselves into thinking that lifestyle would make us happy. God knows, I do. However, if I’m being honest with myself, that idleness would be good for only so long because it often leads to boredom and depression. We are, by nature, industrious creative beings. We need some ready challenge and accomplishment to keep us happy. Get busy…and get happy.
2. It's not me, it's you. Honest!
Those devious brains of ours often lead us to think we’re unhappy due to our spouse, parents or somebody in our lives. We toss blame around like food in a middle school cafeteria. Of course, it takes always two to tango. As Dr. Phil asks, "How's that workin' for ya?" Generally, we are every bit as much, if not more, to blame than others in our lives. We should accept responsibility for our situation and do our part to make the best of it. Taking that personal responsibility for our actions is the beginning.
3. I just need to discover the secret to success to be happy, yeah…that’s the ticket!
I have great news for you! Here’s that secret, free of charge: There are no "secrets" to happiness or success. As much as everybody out there and our own minds would like to convince us that these shortcuts exist, they don’t. Never have. Never will. Living a successful life is pretty simple, though. You create a vision for your future, you formulate a strategy and then work hard to achieve it. Simply put, there are no shortcuts or secrets to this formula. You have to constantly work at it. Accepting this will get you much further down the path to where you’re going than anything else.
4. If I just had...everything!
Our minds like to trick us into thinking we'll be happy for the rest of our lives just as soon as we get the right job or the right house or the right car or whatever. While, there’s nothing wrong with wanting better things or circumstances, these don’t automatically make us happy. We just THINK they do. They may create a temporary high, but this almost always quickly wears off. Those wanting a lasting happiness must acknowledge that this is a bottomless pit that we can never fill because our heads keep upping the price every time we hit one of those levels.
5. I like things just the way they are and never want them to change, except...
Believing this is just letting yourself be set up for the inevitable and eventual fall. We live a Life of constant change. Some we control and some we don't. While most of us think that we don’t want it, resisting change or trying to control the change is self-defeating. Change is inevitable. You must accept this and learn to go with the flow. Being adaptable is very important.
6. If it hasn't happened yet for me, it never will…I’m sure.
We often get discouraged and disillusioned when success is right around the corner for us. Colonel Sanders didn't start franchising KFC restaurants until he was 65 years old, forty years after he started serving chicken at his service station. You want to be happy? Stick with it. Never let your mind trick you into giving up. You don't know what tomorrow holds. Nobody does. One more day may be all it takes to realize your dream!
7. I'll just avoid the things I don't like doing…that’s the best plan of all
It is usually the hard stuff that our minds try to trick us into avoiding. The problem is that these are oftentimes the very best things that result in the greatest rewards for us. What do you put off doing? Why? Procrastinating and avoidance of important tasks or resolving some nagging issue only delays happiness. Attack these head-on and you will find a deep sense of self-gratification. It will make you happier.
8. The world is scary and something bad might happen to me, I know it!
This leads back to the “fear of success” that we talked about once before. Our minds tell us there are a lot of things beyond our control. For instance, the way that crime and terror is blasted all over television might lead us to think that bad guys are lurking around every corner waiting to do some dastardly deeds to us. However, crime rates have actually fallen in recent years. According to FBI statistics, violent crime is lower now than it was 20 years ago! Fear is a powerful emotion our brains use to get the better of us.
9. I'll decide when I know for sure what to do, later.
Over-thinking every decision you make will leave you stuck and stymied. Weigh the risks, analyze the possibilities and making a plan are important, but nothing ever happens until a decision is made and action is taken. We very rarely have perfect information when making choices. Stop sweating it so much! Failure isn’t going to be the end of the world. Napoleon Hill writes, "Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit." Don't let your mind trap you into over-analyzing everything!
10. I know I shouldn't , but
Our minds try to trick us into denying the effects of our bad habits and rationalizing our behavior with flimsy excuses. This seems especially common with health issues. For example, have you heard someone say, "I know I shouldn't smoke, but it helps me keep the weight off." Or, how about, "I know I shouldn't eat this, but life just isn't worth living if I can't enjoy it." A major health issue like cancer, heart disease, or diabetes will certainly challenge that idea. Don't let your mind get away with this trick!
11. Dreams only come true for those that are lucky or rich,
Thomas Jefferson said, "I'm a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." Our minds sometimes trick us into thinking we are victims of fate. They lead us to believe "nothing good ever happens to me". What our brains credit as the luck of others, generally is the ongoing and hard earned result of years of practice, focused work and preparation. Pursue your dream and you might be surprised at the "luck" that comes your way.
12. I could never do that!
Our brains often trick us into thinking we can't. For example, have you heard, "I could never go back to school. I don't have the money." or "I can't learn to do that. I'm too old." Heck, I’ve said that myself! Your mind is very persuasive in the way it uses this one. It will lead you around like a dog on a leash if you let it. You are full of potential and although your circumstances might add a degree of difficulty, it is nothing that a little persistence and ingenuity can't overcome. Henry Ford said, "Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right."
See how our minds play tricks on us? If you identified with one or more of the cons on this list, don't give up!
You have the power to overcome deceptions because you can see right through them.
Enjoy your new found happiness. I’ll send you an invoice for my consultation.