Want to know a major difference between happy and unhappy people??
Think about a situation that didn’t go your way. Perhaps it was a time you lost.
Maybe you lost a big sports bet, lost out on a job promotion or lost your way and got lost while driving.
As hard as it may be, take a second and go back to the very moment of the setback.
The first thing you thought was probably something along the lines of bummer, bull$h!+ or maybe another word or two that I shouldn’t write on this blog.
But I am not concerned with that first thought. I want to know about how you view that experience now.
When thinking of that experience, what is the first thing that comes to your mind now?
The way we think about our previous stumbling blocks can tell a lot about our happiness.
In her book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, author Susan Cain explains that “the way we characterize our past setbacks profoundly influences how satisfied we are with our current lives.”
“Unhappy people tend to see setbacks as contaminants that ruined an otherwise good thing (‘I was never the same after my wife left me’), while generative adults see them as blessings in disguise (‘The divorce was the most painful thing that ever happened to me, but I’m so much happier with my new wife’),” Cain says. “Those who live the most fully realized lives – giving back to their families, societies, and ultimately themselves – tend to find meaning in their obstacles.”
Do you see setbacks as blessings or bothers?
When you lost a big sports bet did you feel that the betting gods were out to get you, or did you take the experience as a way to curb your tendency to bet more than you budget?
When you lost out on the job promotion did you blame your boss for having favorites, or did you turn your frustration into creating better work?
When you got lost while driving did you slam your hands on the steeling wheel and shout that you will never get to your destination, or did you realize that it was time to get a better app than Apple maps.
If you want to be happy, don’t blame your setbacks. Instead, find meaning in your obstacles.
Learn more about Quiet by Susan Cain here.