How To Take Radical Responsibility For Your Happiness And Success
We’re continually looking for reasons why we’re unhappy right now. We take issue with our home, job, family, finances, education, looks, and everything else. We rage at our long commutes, unfulfilling jobs, and imperfect lives.
These problems will never end as long as we keep blaming everyone else. The more we blame others, the harder it will be for us to achieve true happiness.
You must take radical responsibility because the happiness and fulfillment you seek are available to you right now.
Many people think that they’ll be happy when they make a lot of money or get married. These things do contribute to well-being, but they don’t paint the whole picture. It’s entirely possible for a rich and married person to be miserable and for a poor and single person to be happy.
Rather than chasing an elusive dream and worrying that you don’t have enough, you need to reconfigure your mindset and change your perspective. You can be happy now while still working towards something better.
When you take radical responsibility, you control when and how you access happiness. You pick your own path and get what you want.
Here’s some inspiration on how you can take radical responsibility and become the master of your own happiness and success:
1. Find out what truly makes you happy.
Many people chase after superficial things they think will make them happy: money, success, popularity, power, and so on. However, these things usually only bring fleeting happiness. Your work should align with your values. You should be able to wake up every day excited to do what matters to you.
Showing up with unshakable confidence and total congruence with your mission is how you will attract dream clients while also staying true to yourself and showing up authentically in your business.
Consider this: Author Bronnie Ware asked hospice patients their biggest mistakes for her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.
The five most common concerns, in order, were:
1. “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
2. “I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.”
3. “I wish I had the courage to express my true feelings.”
4. “I wish I stayed in touch with my friends.”
5. “I wish I let myself be happier.”
Notice how the respondents didn’t mention money, power, or fame. They all wanted simpler things such as being true to themselves.
To Do: Consider your life goals and how they align with your work. How much money or fame do you need to be happy? How much is excessive?
2. Ask yourself what your role was in the outcome.
If things aren’t going the way you wanted, take a hard and honest look at your mindset and behavior. Did you do anything that affected the result? Is there something you could’ve done differently?
Think of your past failures or unfortunate circumstances. Did you put 100% effort into every situation? Were you adequately prepared to deal with any negative consequences? Was there anything you overlooked or forgot to do?
Bad things indeed happen to us sometimes, and these situations are out of our control. In those cases, there was nothing we could’ve done to prevent them. But we can still choose how we react.
For example, say that a client backs out on a payment. You put in hours of hard work for them only for them to change their mind and no longer want to pay. You could be reactive and get angry at the client. Or you could learn from the lesson and set stronger boundaries, create a clearer contract, and take payment upfront moving forward.
Either way, you choose the outcome. Getting angry at people won’t change much. The only way to move the needle forward is to take responsibility for yourself and try to do better next time.
Don’t focus on guilt or blame. Instead, channel that energy into finding a positive solution.
To do: Observe your feelings without judgment and accept them. Stay connected to your breath and how your emotions are affecting your actions. The key is to learn, not beat yourself up over things.
3. See failures as lessons.
Most of us suffer from a negativity bias – we concentrate far too much on the negative instead of the positive. This bias is so hardwired into our brains that it prevents us from taking risks and achieving our full potential.
Take off your blinders for a second and look at the complete picture of your life. Stop focusing on what’s going wrong and count your blessings instead. Practicing gratitude is a powerful technique that can literally change your brain.
Think of setbacks as teaching moments instead of punishment. Consider them blessings in disguise. Don’t think of them of things that are happening TO you, but rather things that are happening FOR you.
To do: Think of anything bad that’s happened to you recently. It could be a break-up, accident, loss, or something else. Ask yourself these questions:
- Was there anything I could’ve done differently?
- Did I respond in the right way?
- What have I learned?
- What will I do if it happens again?
- Is this preventing me from being happy now? (Hint: You can always be happy.)
4. Take inspired action.
Once you’ve taken responsibility, you then need to take action. What will you do to ensure that your mistakes and failures will have a positive outcome?
Taking inspired action means doing something that will move you forward. It’s the type of action that comes after inspiration hits you like a lightning bolt. It’s the unstoppable force of creativity pouring out of your body and into the world.
Remember, everything happens for a reason. Great artists, entrepreneurs, and creators found success through hard work and dedication. You can’t accomplish anything without first taking action.
To do: What do you need to do next to achieve that next level of happiness and success? How will taking such actions benefit you?
Nobody else but you holds the keys to your happiness. You can spend your life chasing after superficial goods and still feel empty inside. No amount of money or luxury items can fix that. The power lies in your hands.
Originally published in Forbes.