Happiness Tool 3 - Defeating Faulty Thinking Part 3

6. Every problem has a perfect solution. Only that solution will do, and you must find it as
quickly as possible. Most problems have many possible solutions that will work. If you insist that only the perfect one will do, you may spend so much time trying to find it that you can’t get started. Meanwhile, the more time passes, the more tempting it is to freak out that the problem isn’t solved. It’s much more effective to pick a solution and start working toward it. If it turns out there is a better solution, consider switching to it (but make sure the switch doesn’t cost more than you gain with the better solution). Certainly think things through before jumping in, but don’t spend so much time analyzing that you never actually get started. What you decide is rarely a permanent commitment—you can change your mind later if it doesn’t work out. It’s better to pick one of the many things that will work and get started than to stay paralyzed in your search for the perfect way, or even the best way. A good way is good enough.

7. It is easier to avoid difficult situations and responsibilities than to face them. This one is insidious because in the short term, it does feel easier to avoid these things. But over time, the dread associated with these things grows, and the tension of the disconnect between reality and your actions will make you miserable. By avoiding these situations, you’re basically pretending they’re not there. The bad news and the good news is that reality always wins. Stay away from denial, delusions, pretending, avoiding, or anything that causes a disconnect with reality if you want to be happy.

8. You can protect yourself from getting hurt by never caring too deeply or investing yourself too much in any pursuit. So many of us try to stay safe by staying detached. We shoot down ideas because they sound too good to be true, and we don’t want to be fooled or taken advantage of. We don’t try as hard as we could because then if we fall short, we can always excuse it as not having been our best effort. We don’t open up to others for fear of being vulnerable and getting hurt. This used to be one of my prime directives, and it was extremely scary to try doing things the other way. Admit that I liked that corny movie? People will know I’m not cool! Try something I’m not good at? People might see me fail! Let people see the real me, warts and all? They won’t like me! I used to work very hard to keep people from seeing anything but the perfect veneer I presented to them... and then get upset that nobody understood me. If this sounds familiar, I can tell you from experience, because I’ve tried it both ways: be real. You may think you’re protecting yourself by staying detached, but actually, you still get plenty hurt that way, and you keep yourself from fully living. You can’t change the world by shooting down other people’s ideas. You can’t do something great if you never risk screwing up or letting other people see you being less than perfect. You can’t have a truly intimate relationship if you never let another person see the real you, all of you, raw and unvarnished. By staying detached, you keep yourself from ever fully living.
9. Your past determines your life now and forever. Nope. Your experiences have shaped who you are, but they only determine your life if you let them define you forever. Don’t be a victim, and don’t stay mired in your past. Don’t use it as an excuse not to be great now. You can’t change what happened to you, but you can refuse to give it the power to rule you now.

10. Bad people and things shouldn’t exist, so if hey do, you have to get upset about them. There’s that “should” again. Bad people and things do exist. The world is not perfect. People hurt each other, natural disasters and calamities occur, lamentable things happen. But you don’t have to get upset about them. It’s hard not to sometimes, but getting upset doesn’t help anything, so why put yourself through that?

Also, how many times has something happened that wasn’t what you were hoping for at all, but looking back, you can see that it all worked out to your advantage? It may help to remind yourself of those times and consider that your current situation may turn out the same in the long run.

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