10 Ways To Be Happy Without Trying So Hard

take a step back

Below is a great story of Todd Patkin from Inc magazine by Minda Zetlin. What makes this story standout is that we are all guilty of it. We burn the candle at both ends even when we are successful. Not only that, we prolong our state of happiness for “when I do this we will do that.” We miss out on the years with our family. Which begs the question, what really was the point. Todd has some pretty good ideas.

In the grip of depression, he found himself unable to function. He and his father would drive to work each day, and Patkin would go in his office and close the door. “People may have thought I was working,” he says. Instead, he often had his head down on the desk. The moment of truth arrived when he and his father were out to lunch and a waitress offered the choice of potato salad or coleslaw. It seemed an impossible decision. “For all intents and purposes, my brain had short-circuited,” he recalls.

That experience was horribly painful, but also lucky, Patkin says now, because it forced him to reevaluate what he had been doing. With the help of medication to help lift the blackness, he set about figuring out what truly made him happy, a journey he chronicles in his book Finding Happiness. Cutting back on efforts and activities and looking at what was truly satisfying was the necessary first step, he says.

You may want to do the same if any of the following sounds familiar:

1. Your relationships are dragging you down.

“Give up on the relationships that aren’t working for you,” Patkin advises. “Maybe they worked for you before, back when you were in college. But now it’s 20 years later.” Ask yourself whether you enjoy being with this person, or whether the prospect of time together fills you with anxiety.

Keep in mind that the company you keep is likely to affect your whole outlook, Patkin adds. “Motivational scientists have learned that your outlook in terms of negative feelings or happiness will be the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

2. You’re always the one to step up.

If an annoying task needs doing and no one else wants to, do you always find yourself raising your hand? Cut back, at least some of the time, Patkin advises. “There should be times when you say, ‘I’ve done this five times in a row and I don’t understand why you can’t do it,'” he says. “You have to be honest.” […]

Reads full article via How to Be Happy in Life & Work: Stop Trying So Hard | Inc.com.

MINDA ZETLIN is a business technology writer and speaker, co-author of The Geek Gap, and president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.


Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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