A Harvard psychology professor once said that whenever he meets someone who really wants something, he always wonders what they will be willing to do not to get it. Taking another slant, motivational speaker Zig Ziglar believes that the leading cause of unhappiness is trading what we want most for what we want now.
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There are some practices that are guaranteed to generate unhappiness. Among them are:
Don’t appreciate your achievements. Instead, regard them as things that anyone could do or which somehow occurred through no serious effort of your own.
Keep raising the bar. Turn a search for excellence into an exhausting, never-ending quest.
Look at life through a mirror. After all, the rest of the world should behave and think as you do.
Expect others to know when you are upset. Regard their failure as a sign that they are insensitive and uncaring.
Reopen old wounds. Blame your parents, siblings, coworkers, bosses, and teachers. Let no transgression have a statute of limitations.
Worry. Fret about things that are unlikely to happen. Worry some more when they don’t happen.
Embrace martyrdom. Be much harder on yourself than you would be on others.
Don’t enjoy the small things. Keep your eye on the weightier matters. Ignore small pleasures such as watching a sunrise or having a good cup of coffee.
Fall in with bad companions. Associate with people who have similar negative habits so you can reinforce one another’s feelings.
Swing for the fences. Forget the base hits and incremental goals.
Don’t set deadlines. Hey, you’ll get around to it one of these days.
And above all, expect an even playing field. The world is noted for being fair.
Michael Wade writes Execupundit.com, an eclectic combination of management advice, observations, and links. A partner with the Phoenix firm of Sanders Wade Rodarte Consulting Inc., he has advised private and public-sector organizations for more than 30 years.