Our mindset has lots to with our happiness…

What makes some people easily find happiness and others perpetually miserable is not so much the events in their respective lives but their disposition – their emotional and mental outlook to life.

Life presents everyone with their fair share of sad occurrences, but while some choose to remain hopeful, count their blessings, and put things in perspective; others play the victim, wallow in self-pity, and lose hope; thereby also losing the fight to take control of their lives and ending up in a negative spiral where they accept anything life throws at them.
Positive minds attract mostly positive events and have the mental strength and optimism to turn around the odd negative event, while negative minds will not only attract mostly negative events but are very likely to – out of paranoia and pessimism – turn positive situations into negative.

In this article, I would like to share 5 of the most destructive attitudes  that make it difficult to find happiness.


1. Having the wrong values.

Our values in life determine our evaluation of our lives at any given time. Whether we think our life is miserable or fine depends on what matters most to us.
For instance, placing a lot of value on the superficial things of life is certain to lead you into making the wrong choices and leave you always feeling inadequate.
If you are desperate to always be in the limelight and like competing in the material possession stakes, you can never find lasting happiness because someone will always outshine or ‘out-possess’ you.
In the same vein, this kind of lifestyle is likely to lead you into making all the wrong choices – attracting fake friends, reckless spending and, as a result, stress, financial problems and betrayal are never too far away. 

Personally, besides feeling at peace with the Almighty, there are two things I value the most:

  • Good health (for me and my loved ones).
     I don’t envy those who are battling any terminal illness or whose loved ones are in that situation. It’s one of the worst situations to be in. Depending on the duration and severity of that illness, lots of money will be spent, business and career disrupted, productive time lost, all in an atmosphere of sadness and pity and, eventually, the person might still not make it.

With this in mind, anything, after good health for me and my family, is a bonus.

  • The good people in my life (especially good family members)
    When you enjoy good health and have good supportive people behind you, chances of success are greater, challenges easier to overcome, and happiness generally more guaranteed.

Similarly, with good health (physical and mental) and good people, you have a good chance of bouncing back from any unfortunate situation in life.


2. Not fulfilling your potentials (and knowing so).

It’s a normal and healthy feeling to think we can and should be doing more with our lives. The persistent urge that we should be doing more than just meeting our own needs is what spurs people to greatness.


However, life happens and we soon convince ourselves that perhaps what we need to be happy is getting a good paid job. After the initial excitement that comes with getting a good paid job dies, we realize that there has to be more to life than just waking up everyday and taking instructions to build other people’s dreams.

It also becomes obvious that earning a salary is nothing special because we are just one of many who do that at the end of every month.We battle with this feeling of emptiness for a while then again think, ‘perhaps if I get married and have children, I will be fulfilled’.  After we get married and have children, we again realize we are still not fulfilled, because raising children within marriage is not unique to us.

Through my own many periods of feeling empty after brief spells of happiness, the one constant factor has been the feeling that I am not maximizing my potentials.
It has taken time, but I have finally realized that working in line with my passion, my uniqueness, and maximizing my potentials for my sake and that of humanity is what will keep me happy and fulfilled.

As Tony Robbins said:

“It is not what we get, but who we become, what we contribute… that gives meaning to our lives.”

3. Continuing to hang around friends you’ve clearly outgrown.

We all have that friend (partner-in-crime or ‘dawg’) way back in college whom together we chased girls, had multiple girlfriends, did breakneck joy rides on the highway, swore at every opportunity to imitate our favourite gangster rapper and who, sadly, has refused to grow up and still indulges in such delinquencies.

Without a doubt, keeping a distance with such friends is never easy: they are very lively, fun and, after spending so many moments or years of fun together, we’ve become so fond of them.

Problem is, as you get older and start to have different values, remaining close to such friends would make it very difficult to stay true to your principles and responsibilities. There is every likelihood of you relapsing occasionally or eventually derailing totally.

For instance, a man who vows to stay 100% true to his wife once he gets married, because he values a clean marriage, devoid of drama, deceit and baggages, but hangs around closely with friends who still chase women like back in college will struggle to remain faithful.

Men are daily stimulated by sight and it’s difficult enough to resist the temptation to chase women without constantly hearing that voice in your head which says: “Debo, Sergio, and Luke, despite being married, still have girlfriends. So, maybe I’m just being too hard on myself…”

Without a doubt, it’s only a question of time before you convince yourself that if everyone is doing it (extramarital affairs) then it’s not so bad, after all. Before long, you are not only battling with your conscience, signs of infidelity start to appear in your marriage and, eventually, you have a baby for another woman.

From a situation of being married and happy, you are suddenly in a mess, a full-blown crisis.

4. Unhealthy exposure to social-media (Instagram).

Believe it or not, social media, especially picture-based ones like Instagram, has become a constant source of depression for many.

It was Theodore Roosevelt who famously said “comparison is the thief of joy” and no where is this wise saying more relevant than on Instagram.

In real life, we are more likely to compare ourselves to just our friends and contemporaries or only people we come across from time to time in church, but on social-media, we compare ourselves to just about anyone and everyone whose ‘fabulous’ life we are exposed to.

Some, who ordinarily, are happy and doing reasonably well in all facets of life that matter even compare themselves to celebrities who have every material possession to show off and gradually they start to feel miserable.

Ironically, many of such celebs are unhappy about certain aspects of their lives, too, and would happily swap that aspect with yours.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our own behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” 
Steve Furtick

Being unhealthily exposed to social-media guarantees that you can never have sustained happiness – no matter the achievements in your life.

There is a very interesting article on this topic in the Dailymail about how the smug photos we post on Instagram makes it the most depressing social network.

5. Indiscipline

There is no undisciplined person who knows any sustained period of happiness – the next crisis is always around the corner.

I wrote earlier about how everyone has their fair share of sad events; however, these events are sometimes a result of earlier stupid actions or omissions.

We cannot always determine the result of every single event in our lives but we can determine the overall direction of our lives; through dedication, determination, hard-work and humility. All these attributes require discipline.

Whether we find happiness, remain happy, or are miserable will depend on how disciplined we are:

– Discipline to fight to achieve our dreams.
– Discipline to not mortgage our future (finances, goodwill, health) for short-term pleasure.
– Discipline to remain humble, focused and hungry after we achieve success.
And above all…
– Discipline to not stagnate and continue to develop ourselves mentally, socially, emotionally and physically.

What habits did you have that used to make you unhappy and how have you dealt with them?

Share in the comments.