HR & Personal Development

10 things you should stop doing to be more happy

The road to a happier life as a leader and a more positive perspective on your workday depends more on what you DON’T do than what you do. Consider what will happen if you stop:

1. Placing blame

People make mistakes. Your employees don't live up to your expectations. The supplier doesn't deliver on time. There are a lot of things that you can blame on others because you get into trouble on account of their actions or lack thereof. But you could also choose to take the blame yourself. Perhaps you haven't instructed the employees enough for them to live up to your expectations, perhaps you haven't given enough time, and perhaps you expect too much too soon. There are a lot of things you can take responsibility for. That you take responsibility for strengthens you, and you will inevitably focus on doing better next time. And when you get better, you automatically become happier.

2. Trying to impress

Be yourself. It's not your business suit, your fast car, your title or what you've achieved that makes people like you. They may like your things, but that does not mean that they like you as a person. A superficial relationship is not worth keeping. Relationships based on honesty will make you happier, and those are not created by trying to impress.

3. Hanging on

If new challenges makes you scared or insecure, you have a tendency to hang on to the well-known. Even when you know that it's probably not good for you. When you hang on to what you think you need, it doesn't make you very happy. When you let go and try new things – even though it takes convincing – you will definitely be happier. Even though you might not achieve what you wanted, the effort makes you happy, because you have conquered your insecurity.

4. Interrupting

When you interrupt others, you are really saying: “I am not listening to what you are saying, I am focused on what I am about to say”. If you want to be liked and not considered superficial and self-centered, listen to what people around you are saying. Focus on what they say and ask questions. This will give you a far greater understanding of what is being said, and you'll be considered as a good listener and conversation partner. That'll make you happy. 

5. Complaining

Your words have power – especially over you. If you complain about your problems they will definitely get bigger, and that will not make you happy. If anything goes wrong, do not spend a lot of time complaining about it. Instead make an effort to solve the problem. Unless you want to complain forever, you will have to address the problem. So why waste time?  Do something about it immediately. Talk to others or to yourself about how you wish to solve the problem instead of talking about the things that went wrong. It makes you happy, and you will experience happiness from encouraging others to do the same.

6. Controlling

You are the boss. You navigate the ship steadily forward. But the only thing you really are in control of is yourself. If you make a stubborn attempt to control other people, you send out a signal that you, your goals, your dreams and maybe even your opinions are more important than theirs. Also, control often requires force, authority and pressure. Qualities that will not necessarily make you happy. Instead, find a positive solution and help people move in the same direction as you by showing them trust. They will work harder, have more fun, create better results and more productive teams. And you'll all be happier.

7. Criticizing others

You are well-educated. You have many years of experience. You have tried things, climbed mountains and fought dreadful dragons. But that does not make you wiser or better than others. It makes you unique, without a doubt, but in the end “just” you. Just like everybody else – including your employees. You are all different, neither better nor worse, just different. Learn to value the differences you have instead of criticizing people for what they cannot do. You will learn to see people around you in a different light, and that makes you happy.

8. Lecturing

Critique has a relative – the lecture. They are both concerned with judging others. The higher you rise in the hierarchy, the higher the tendency to become all-knowing and dictating. Your employees will eventually have had enough and stop listening to you. And who would be satisfied with that? Instead use your knowledge to create a strong foundation for your employees, so that they can follow you and respect you and the way you lead them. This will make you happier.

9. Dwelling on the past

The past is valuable, and it gives the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and others’. And then let past be past. It is easier said than done, and to do this that must know how to focus. Focus on what went wrong or well and use it find the right direction or do even better the next time a resembling situation occurs. This makes you happy. It is both good and bad experiences you can learn from, and the art is to extract the wisdom from them rather than dwell on them – this keeps you from seeing forward.

10. Fearing the future

We are all uncertain about the future in some way or another: What will and what won't happen? How will your employees welcome new changes? Can I live up to their expectations? Initially it's easier to hesitate and stay back. Wait for the right time or find more alternatives. Meanwhile days, weeks, moths and perhaps even years go by. And they took your dreams with them. Do not let your insecurity hold you back. Put things in motion today. If you want to expand your market, launch new products, move on to another job or start your own company, take the first step now. This makes you happier.