This article was originally published by Spain’s second-biggest newspaper “La Vanguardia” on February 22, 2018. It was picked up by the Argentinian newspaper CLARÍN on March 5th, 2018. CLARÍN is one of the most read Spanish language Newspapers in the world.
Accepting failure and bad streaks is vital to a life full of happiness
Happiness is not just something we all pursue to feel better. This emotion is so powerful that it helps us to be healthier, to have more positive personal relationships and to be more productive at work.
But happiness also includes accepting that we will not always feel this way, we also have to assume that “bad times and failure are inevitable and have the peace of mind to know how to deal with them when they arrive”, explains Marc Reklau, personal development expert and author of ‘Destination Happiness’.
The writer confesses that being happy “is simple but not easy”. “You have to put in some effort and do the exercises that science proposes to raise our base level of happiness,” he explains, adding: “Learning how to get out of the slumps when they come is not easy either, but you can learn if you put the same patience and persistence that we put when we learn some new sport “. To raise our base level of happiness, Reklau proposes twelve simple principles:
1. The basics
The first principle is that we not only read studies and books, but apply them. To initiate change it is necessary to believe that change is possible. We have to be aware that it is the internal factors that decide on our happiness, not external factors. Accepting all our emotions – also the negative ones – is part of our happiness.
2. The power of your beliefs
Your beliefs create your reality. Period. The most important thing is to believe in ourselves. A study among the most successful people showed that they have two characteristics in common: 1) They believe in themselves, they believe they can achieve it; and 2) They always want to learn more. If we change our beliefs about ourselves we can change our performance and our life. Being an optimist definitely helps.
3. The power of focus
One of the most important things for our happiness is where we put our attention. On the good or on the bad, on failure or on learning, on the successes that we have achieved or on the things that we have not achieved. In this principle we find one of the most powerful powers: the power of gratitude. And, in addition, we realize that according to science, luck does not exist or rather, that we can seek our luck.
4. The power of choice
According to science, happiness is a choice. At each moment we can choose where to put our attention. On the positive or the negative? We can even choose our thoughts and our emotions. They do not just happen to us. We can control them. Also, feeling control is good for our health. When we choose to take full responsibility for our lives and stop blaming others for our problems, something magical happens …
5. Change is possible
Until the year 1998 it was thought that change was not possible, that our brains are what they are and that’s it. Thanks to neuroscience we know that our brain can change and that we can learn new things at any age.
Change often scares us, but we can feel the fear and do it anyway. All change begins with us. It is not easy but thanks to the power of habits it is possible.
6. The Power of goal-setting
This principle is about goals. The best way to achieve them is to write them and then act. In any case, having goals is more important than achieving them. Happiness is in being in the present and enjoying the way. To set goals that motivate us we have to reflect and examine our values. When the goals are aligned with our values we find less resistance.
7. The ugly twins: Perfectionism and Failure
One thing that often prevents our happiness is the fear of failure. We don’t try things so we do not to feel the pain of failure without realizing that failure is necessary in the way of our goals, but we must know how to deal with it, because if you do not learn how to fail, you do not learn. Another thing that prevents us from being happy is perfectionism and it has serious consequences. We must know its origins and the way in which it can be overcome, or at least how to deal with it.
8. Overcoming the silent killer
The eighth principle is about overcoming stress. Another great enemy of our happiness and also very misunderstood. We must stop multitasking and see the good things that stress has. It is not the stress that hurts us, it is the lack of rest. We will also look at how we can win against a great cause of stress, anxiety and in its worst case, depression: procrastination.
9. Raise your self-esteem
Self-esteem is the basis of everything. It influences our relationships, our work, the pay raise we do not dare to ask for, how others treat us … Having high self-esteem has innumerable benefits. We learn why it is so important, how to cultivate it, how to improve it …
10.Habits to boost your self-esteem
This principle really includes several principles. There are many tricks to improve our self-esteem, among others, stopping being so hard on ourselves, loving ourselves as we love our neighbor, being authentic, treating ourselves well, forgiving everyone.
11. The most important predictor of your happiness
The number one predictor of our happiness is our relationships with others. It starts once again with knowing ourselves. How to create relationships that thrive and – even harder – how we maintain love. We look at the importance of asking the right questions in our relationships and the importance of relationships at work.
12. The power of the mind-body connection
This principle deals with the magic of physical exercise, the power of meditation and we examine more closely the concept of Mindfulness that everyone talks about. Other things that work miracles for our body and our mind are deep breathing, adequate sleep, touch and smiling.
Reklau recognizes that happiness “is not lasting” and adds: “A rush of eternal happiness would not be normal.” The writer gives as an example a study that showed that people who had won the lottery returned to their initial level of happiness or unhappiness half a year after winning the big ticket. “ The same happens when we buy a new car or a flat in the upper area of the city. After a time of rush, we descend to our base level of happiness. The good news is that we can raise this base level of happiness.” And it can be achieved with these twelve simple principles.