10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn

richard battista quincyThe internet loves lists. Lists filled with top tips to a better body!, and 5 unusual qualities that make you a better leader!; it’s a constant stream of information to take in, understand, and implement into your life. But this list is a little different, because there are some things hammered into your head that are actually inhibiting joy. So here’s a list of 10 life lessons you should toss to the wind:

No problems? No problem! Problems seemingly, are the worst. They’re roadblocks, a wrench thrown into the wheel of a well-oiled machine. But in reality, the problems presented to you in the real world (not the tedious ones doled out to you by boring teachers in high school algebra) give you the chance to find the solution, which is what really gives life gusto. They often mark change and, when dealt with in the best way, can often become rewarding. Is your job just not doing it for you? Maybe it’s time to ask for a promotion! People without real problems are bored, go crazy, and do things like plan a wedding that isn’t theirs just for fun.

Happiness is everything! It seems ridiculous, but happiness isn’t everything, simple because we can’t always be happy. We just can’t. Life is constantly happening, and we need to deal with it as it comes. Forcing yourself to be happy in a miserable situation creates insurmountable stress. Instead, let your feelings be as they are. If you’re sad, allow yourself to acknowledge it, ride it out, and overcome it.

Own your baggage. The past can be painful and leave seemingly permanent scars. Instead of owning that baggage, letting it define you and create worries and stress, start thinking of it differently. Here’s an example: you were a really lazy student all throughout your education, and now in the workforce, you’re plagued with feelings of falling back into old habits. The worry engulfs you, and probably affects your performance negatively. Instead of focusing on the negative, combat it by coming up with reasons why you might be wrong, and your brain will begin to let go of the worry, which some have found to a euphoric feeling.

Hard work equals success. As a child, as you were learning about the world around you, how to speak, to use your body and fingers and all the like, were you working hard, or learning through play? Play, not work, is key to success. Childhood playing skills are key to learning and understanding complex ideas, because they are doing it with all-out absorption.

Success is the opposite of failure. Studies have shown that people who focus their attention on worrying about mistakes tend to shut down, while those who take a more relaxed approach about performing badly will soon learn to do well in the most efficient way for them. This applies across the board, from quitting smoking to learning how to ski, success is built on failure.

What will people think of me?! Who cares. Whether they’re right, slightly wrong, or completely off the mark, emphasizing others opinion of you can lead to despair, and even homicide and suicide. And really, what you’re doing is creating anguish within yourself from your hypothesis that other people’s hypothetical hypotheses about you actually mattered. Imagine what you’d be like if it didn’t matter. Got it? Good, keep doing that and never look back.

Think rationally! This has more to do with recognizing your inner-self; taking emotional and physical cues from yourself when making decisions. Your rational capacities are far newer and more error-prone than your deeper, “animal instincts.” While rational thinking can help you see things with a more level head, it’s important to understand where your natural instincts point you, and takes less time than making a pros and cons list.

The beautiful people have it all! Yes, they’ll get preferential treatment in a lot of life’s scenarios: unquestionable entrance into clubs, free goods, and better customer service, to name a few. By while everybody’s noticing them, nobody is really seeing the person behind the perfect figure and symmetrical face.

Life would be perfect if I had everything I ever wanted! Good fortune tends to have bad side effects. Don’t believe it? Check out jails, rehabs, and divorce courts. They don’t discriminate based on income. Anything that makes us feel good can also make us feel bad, but once you let go of the desire for tangible rewards, you appreciate exactly what you need, not want, more. The point is experiencing joy, not experiencing the joy from buying new Jimmy Choos.

Fear loss. If you’ve never experienced loss, you’ll never be able to experience joy on a humbling level. Because losses aren’t cataclysmic if they teach the heart and soul the natural, inevitable cycle of breaking a healing. Avoiding it is a life not lived, so live your truth.

About Richard Battista