Your powerful mind can play tricks on you, leading to unhappiness. Stop three bad habits to unlock emotional WHealth.
How do we know when somebody else is successful? Simple. You look at them. Our brain looks for a compendium of signs by which we judge people to be successful, or not. We look for a smile, for the perfect body, the big house, the fancy car, the confident stride, the trail of victories.
How do we know when we are successful? We look at ourselves to find these same signs of success. Our brain holds up the same model of perfection, and judges us against it.
Here’s the problem. We are highly experienced and far more skilled looking at others, and when we do this we can only see their outer layer. Our brain, which reinforces those neuro-circuits that it uses most often, consequently defaults to an exterior view to assess success even when looking at ourselves.
Pause to think about the person you show to the outside world. Each of us puffs up our outer layer and polishes it carefully before walking out the door each morning. We talk about our successes, and not our failures. We share our happiness and not our sadness. We want to look our best, always.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a good thing. Research shows that projecting happiness helps us to achieve happiness. Similarly, those who radiate success tend to be surrounded by other successful people, attracting true success in an iterative manner.
The problem is that when you look at yourself, you see the full picture – both successes and failures. You compare this real you against the gold-standard of success entrenched in your brain, and against the polished exterior of those around you. And guess what, for the most part, we find ourselves falling short.
Stop three bad habits to avoid this danger:
- Stop comparing yourself to others: You’re always going to lose when you compare the real you against the perfect exterior of others.
- Stop criticizing others: When you train your brain to compare others against that magical (and unattainable) image of perfection, you train it to do the same against yourself.
- Stop chasing perfection: When you measure your success against perfect, you are constantly aware of the deficit. Living in constant awareness of your deficits erodes your self-esteem, confidence and happiness.
Train your brain towards WHealthy habits. When you spend less time thinking about the traditional image of perfect, your brain will gradually start to judge you against your new, more balanced standards. When you live purposefully towards these, you will hit the mark more often, building self-esteem, confidence and happiness. These are the stepping stones to success.