Do you want happiness? Don’t try too hard!

Do you want happiness? Don’t try too hard!

I bring you another interesting piece from Lou Tice which although not directly about happiness can easily be translated to suit this context.

Some people try too hard to achieve happiness – here, at The Happiness Institute, we believe you should work hard to apply the proven principles of positive psychology and that then…happiness will happen!

Winner’s Circle Network with Lou Tice – 8/2/07 – “Trying Too Hard”

Have you ever had anyone tell you that you were trying too hard to succeed?

What is it about trying too hard that just doesn’t seem to work?

Now, don’t misunderstand me. I’m not saying that it is a mistake to put your energy into something, or that you shouldn’t try at all. But I am saying that there’s a point at which we can try too hard, and when that happens we tend to get in our own way.

Why do you suppose that is? Here’s what I think. All of us have a self-concept or self-image – our idea of what we are like. And, we don’t have to think about behaving like the person we know ourselves to be. It is something we do easily and effortlessly.

For example, if you see yourself as an outgoing person, you don’t need to work at being outgoing, right? It just happens naturally. And, if you see yourself as shy, you don’t have to be reminded to be shy when you are in a group.

But what happens when you try to behave in a way that contradicts your self-image? “That’s not like me,” you think, even if it’s a positive change.

And, you go back to behaving like the “real” you as soon as possible.

Now, it’s a fact that all meaningful and lasting change starts on the inside and works its way out. So if you want to be different than the way you are now, first work on changing your self-concept. You can use affirmations and visualizations to help you do it, and once you change the inside, you don’t have to “try” to behave differently. It will happen naturally, all by itself.

Lou Tice

The Pacific Institute