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9 Things You Seriously Need To Drop To Be Happy

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Things You Need to drop to be happy

Such a widely searched term nowadays is “How to be happy?”

We all want to be happy right? We fight for it. We live for it. We try to find it.

And that’s the problem: We’re chasing it.

It’s time to stop looking elsewhere and look within instead. As you reflect, you’d probably find a ton of things that you can let go of to be happy.

So here we will highlight 9 things you seriously need to drop to be happy.

 

 

Here are 9 things you seriously need to drop to be happy

 

1) Attachment to results

In other words, you need to stop having high expectations in whatever it is you do.  That’d be only serve to make you feel attached to a supposedly good result.

Let go of the attachment. Whatever happens, will happen. Accept it, learn from it, grow and keep enjoying the process.

 

2) Toxic friends

Sometimes, your lack of happiness could be due to your surroundings. Drop the toxic friends. They’re anchors weighing you down. Find positive friends instead. They’ll inspire you and lift you up all the time.

 

3) The chase for money

I get it. Money is important. We all have our responsibilities after all.

But what can I say except that the decision to chase money is always your choice.

Try to make this shift. You’d realize how deserving you are of money.

 

4) Finding love                                            

Don’t find love. Do what you love, and love will find you.

It’s not that cliché. If you try too hard to find somebody to be with, you end up coming across as needy. That’s not attractive. If you do what you love and enjoy it, you become attractive as you exude confidence and charisma.

 

5) Your clutter

This is kind of like the first point. You may be too attached to a lot of unnecessary things in your life.

Clean up your room and get rid of the clutter. A healthy environment produces a happy mind.

Let go of certain objects of value too, like your first car. You may be holding on too tight. Sometimes you’ve to liberate yourself to move forward.

 

6) Social media

You’re subconsciously boring yourself in the search of entertainment in social media. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that it’s mindless and draining. Also, with mobile apps today, we’re not aware of our surroundings when we head out.

Drop it. Start being aware and appreciate nature. Find better hobbies too, like reading.

 

7) The past and future

Drop the past, for it does not exist anymore. Whatever happened during that time and whoever hurt you don’t matter anymore.

Drop the future for you cannot ever have full control of all events. Embrace uncertainty and let it all take care of itself.

 

8) Ideas of getting back at them

I know how it feels like to want to exact “revenge” or find ways to get back at other people when you’re wronged or hurt.

But you’ve got to drop it. It doesn’t do you any good at all. As they say, resentment is the poison you drink hoping someone else would die.

Focus on yourself and your life instead. Choose to be happy by doing what you love and becoming awesome.

 

9) Over reliance of happiness guides

I’m talking about blogs, courses, seminars, friends and family.

They can all help you, but they’re only dare to guide you. No one except you can choose to be happy.

Make the right choice. Then get out there and start taking action. You’re going to have to create your own experience and memories, things which you can truly call your own.

A truthful life is a happy one. Go for it.

 

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20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. Lidiya K

    Jan 28, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Great tips!

    I also came to the conclusion that these are the main things that affect my happiness and started to work on each of them.

    People tend to put effort into everything – getting rich, finding their soul mate, reaching the results they want. But instead, we need to let go of the need to be in control to do what we’re told (by authorities and other people).

    First we need to fix the relationship we have with ourselves and realize we’re more than enough. And only then will we be able to share that love with others, without feeling needy as you put it.

    And by eliminating negative people, regrets for the past and worries about the future, the clutter both in our home and mind, and if we just go with the flow every now and then, just do what we love and get up each day and work on what we want to achieve, we can have the freedom and contentment we’re looking for.

  2. vilas kumar

    Jul 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    thanks for it…i was in need of it as i was much bored…

  3. vickiemaris

    Jul 7, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Great insights! I had to chuckle a bit on the social media comment though. It was through a scroll through my Twitter feed that I found a tweet about your blog post. I’m going to go tweet it for someone else to see. You share some really great suggestions here on toxic friends and dangers of clutter. Thanks for the post.

  4. Diana Roemer (@writerdianalee)

    Jun 7, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    There are many idioms with which to steer our life. I’ve boiled it down to one word: Simplify.

  5. dotchamou

    May 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Thank you for sharing these wisdoms on happiness. We weave our joy like the Weaver makes clothes.Our happiness will never depend on outside circumstances. It will always depend on our choice to be happy or not.

  6. thaimeup (@thaimenow)

    May 4, 2014 at 7:02 am

    This made my day. Just what I needed to read 🙂 Everything is so spot on. I may have a hard time doing this but I will try, I know happiness will find me 🙂

    • Alden Tan

      May 7, 2014 at 7:07 am

      Don’t try to find happiness. Just do what you love!

      • Thomas

        May 9, 2014 at 1:39 am

        Drop the past and move forward that is what I have to do thanks Alden

  7. Susan Fleming

    May 3, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Awesome……thanks for the real thing, no fluff here.

  8. Wan Muhammad Zulfikri Wan Yusoff

    May 1, 2014 at 6:29 pm

    Social media – a must drop!

  9. Raymona Brown

    May 1, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Great list! Must admit the one that has been most beneficial in my past and still today, is dropping toxic friends. Toxic people can really be a huge weigh down. And you will be surprised at how productive and efficient you will be once you let those kind of people go.

    • Alden Tan

      May 7, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Nicely said. The sad thing is we are taught to “deal with it” or “ignore’ such people. But as people, it can be hard. Best to just drop them. The real friends will come by.

  10. doreenb8

    May 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Good stuff!

  11. Koko

    May 1, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    These sort of posts are great reminder of how to be happy 🙂 Thank you for posting!

  12. Steve Spring

    May 1, 2014 at 11:26 am

    I don’t think that most of us realize how much clutter holds us back from moving forward. I really liked, “A healthy environment produces a happy mind” Thanks for sharing Alden.

    • Alden Tan

      May 7, 2014 at 7:02 am

      Thanks Steve! Indeed. I don’t think it’s ever “a little mess” here and there. A messy environment can really mess with your motivation.

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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