by Darren Hardy
In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard professor Dan Gilbert explains that most of us think we know what makes us happy, but typically we are wrong.
I have found there are three major traps in which you might be unknowingly making yourself unhappy.
The first unhappiness trap is postponing happiness. The “when I (fill in the blank), I will be happy” syndrome. The reality is that happiness isn’t something to be acquired in the future. You are either happy now or not; “then” never arrives. Living and striving for “then” results in a constant state of unhappiness. Now is the only time you have to be happy. If you can’t be happy now, you most certainly will not be happy later.
The second unhappiness trap is we spend our lives trying to make other people happy, which can make us very unhappy. Many times we are living a life we didn’t even choose ourselves. We might have simply, and unconsciously, started pursuing the idea of happiness programmed by our parents, peers, societal culture, or the examples given to us by Hollywood or commercialism. Whose idea of success are you living out?
Third unhappiness trap is contrast. For the most part happiness is really an illusion. In other words, you make up the idea of whether you are happy or not. And you really only know how to judge something by comparing it to something else. Typically this means comparing yourself to other people. This is dangerous business because there will always be reference points that will cause you to be unhappy.