Success. We all want it. We think we know what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like. There’s just one problem. There’s no exact blueprint on how to obtain it. Part of the reason for this is that “success” looks different for everyone. It’s also not a black-and-white prize. If you’re the top salesman in your region, but you can’t list one activity your child enjoys because you’re never home to spend enough time with him, is that success? Or maybe you’re father of the year at home but you’re worried about your kids’ college funds because you’re on your fifth career this decade – would that still be considered “successful”?
Dr. Alok Trivedi, a psychological performance coach, argues that one of the main reasons we can’t capture this elusive success or happiness is because we spend all our time spinning our wheels to own it, rather than living in conjunction with it. In his new book, Chasing Success, Dr. Trivedi argues there are six habits we must give up right now if our long-term goal is to cohabitate with true happiness.
Those six things are:
- Stop Living for Others
Forget about the Joneses. That family has their own definition of happiness, and it really doesn’t matter if that version does or does not include looking like they’ve got it better than you. Again, happiness and success are internal measures, not outward displays of material wealth. So give up the ghost, define what would fulfill you and begin to take steps that place you closer to the things you value in life.
- Stop Comparing
Happiness and success are so easy to identify and judge when we think someone else has them. Chances are, however, this is only a reflection of our own envies and insecurities. Even if the other person is truly happy or successful, this should have no bearing on our own journeys. Our measurement of progress lies in how far we’ve come. No one else knows where we started, where we’re at or how far off the destination is. So stay your own course, and enjoy success and happiness along the way. These items are actually sprinkled throughout our odysseys. They’re not some highly guarded treasure we only achieve at the end.
- Stop Chasing
The conditional game. Don’t you hate it? “I’d be so happy if I just lost 15 pounds.” “I’ll feel like I’ve made it when I can buy that power boat.” “Life for me will really begin once I just find that man.” Not true, not true, not true. It’s an unending hamster wheel. If you’re unsatisfied now, chances are there are underlying reasons for it. Sure, we all want to make positive, forward progress in our lives as we pursue new goals. But if you’re waiting for that promotion, husband or killer body to swoop in and make everything alright, thereby giving you permission to be happy, you’ll be waiting a long time. There will always be something bigger and better. Enjoy life now, regardless of whether it’s perfect or not.
- Stop Playing it Safe All the Time
The I Can’t game is another one I loathe. We are our own worst enemies. All of us had big goals when we were kids. Many of those kids sought out those goals – whatever they may be – and are now examples of success and happiness. Others adjusted their expectations to the world around them. They opted to blend in, rather than stand out. They didn’t want anyone thinking they were entitled or special, so they sought to fall in line, rather than demand more. Don’t let the herd mentality hold you back from your pursuits. You deserve your form of success and happiness just as much as the next guy. So get out there and grab it.
- Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy
The herd mentality may influence your goals and motivations, but only you can deny you of an opportunity. Believe in yourself. Know that you deserve what fulfills you and work to quiet the doubt in your head that tells you differently. We can’t achieve anything without utilizing our abilities – and we can’t do that if we don’t believe in the tools we possess.
- Stop Being Unappreciative
It has been scientifically proven that acknowledging gratitude automatically brings people happiness. Yes, life is probably not perfect. It can always be better, even for those you would point to as an example of perfection. But here’s a little secret. Someone, somewhere out there is wishing they had just a taste of what you have now. What you’re squandering and taking for granted. We’re all guilty of it, and reminding ourselves of the abundance we get to enjoy everyday is a great way to remain grounded, humble and happy in the moment.