Keep on Trucking (or not) – Part 2

If you enjoyed yesterday’s post about things suggested by Connie Podesta that you ought to quit doing in order to increase your well-being and material worldly success, here’s five more:

Keep on Trucking…
  1. Quit depending on others to make you happy– as noted in the previous post, there is no such thing as the perfect partner or for that instance, the perfect anything. According to the positive psychology folks, ‘happiness’ is an elusive concept, a mix of the following, none of which depends on securing the affections of another:
    • Autonomy – ‘I am authentic and enjoy being myself’.
    • Meaningful contribution – ‘I connect with others.’
    • Acceptance – ‘I know the difference of what can and can’t be changed’.
    • Positive emotions – ‘I find something to enjoy each day.’
    • Personal and professional growth – ‘I learn something new every day.’
    • Skills, competence, and environmental mastery  – ‘I have what it takes to thrive in my world.’ 
    • Achievement & the reward and acknowledgement that comes with it – ‘I’m recognised for my efforts’.
  2. Quit playing games – Consider this: after graduating from university, a young woman moves away from home to a distant city and although it’s an uphill struggle, she is makes progress and is proud. Each week she speaks with her mother who uses this precious time to tell the young woman that unless she does this or that, she’ll never get married and by the way, has she lost any weight? The young woman would love more than anything to tell her mother about the promotion she just gained at work, but she’s too exhausted by her mother’s continual onslaught of emotional manipulation. Who wins this game, do you suppose?
  3. Quit sabotaging success – Consciously, we want to feel good and achieve our goals, but if at the same time our unconscious message to ourselves is that we don’t deserve it, then we’ll find a million ways to sabotage our success and never understand what happened, much less why. We can combat this unfortunate state of affairs through learning to examine the choices we make in a detached way. Techniques include cognitive reframing, meditation and mindfulness practice.
  4. Quit fighting for your limitations – on the surface, this sounds silly –  doesn’t it – but in reality, we do it all the time. Consider how many times we rationalise our bad behaviour (‘I was tired, or ill, or whatever and so it only makes sense that I’d snap’) and justify our failures (‘that’s just the way that I am’ or ‘I was confused as to what I was meant to do’). We also fight for our right to be sad or angry (‘It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to’). Think about this rationally for a moment – where does such behaviour actually get you?
  5. Quit thinking that you deserve to be successful – we all have a right to make our lives as wonderful as possible but none of us has an entitlement to be happy, rich, or even successful. The positive psychology folks are very clear that being ‘happy’ requires effort – lots of it, every day – and unless you’ve just won the lottery or have a trust fund, ditto for being rich. Even success requires daily effort but perhaps not quite in the ways you might think. For example, studies have shown that those who keep a daily diary of the things about which they were grateful were more likely to achieve their goals, then those who kept a diary about that which had gone wrong each day. 

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