Let It Go: 10 Myths To A Happy Life

Every year, “being happy” tops the list of New Year’s resolutions. At some point in life, everyone realizes that happiness cannot be bought, but then what? Let go of these ten myths of happiness, and find it inside yourself.

1. An Abundance of Friends

Having a wide social circle is every high school student’s dream. An extensive network certainly cannot hurt in the business world. However, there is quite a difference between a “friend” and a person in your network. In truth, we know very little about many of the people we call “friends”, yet the definition implies a strong mutual bond. Once you can identify the difference between an acquaintance, an associate, and a real friend, it becomes clear that a small circle of true dependable “friends” is all you need.

2. Approval

It is impossible to satisfy everyone. We have our own individual beliefs and goals. If we base our actions on the approval of others, our personal achievements would not be our own. The need for approval is based on the desire to be accepted, but it is your own approval, your own conscious that that should be followed. In the end, the consequences of your actions are yours to face. Therefore, the only approval necessary should be your own.

3. A Future Written in Stone

There is not a single thing wrong with a detailed plan or list of goals. In fact, most will say it is the key to success. Determining and focusing on concrete plans for the future is the best path to achievement. That being said, life happens. Statistically, 98% us arrived at a time other than our parents expected (Rhodes-Iron Research 2014). A plan such as focusing solely on career goals until obtaining a management or high paying position is practical. Many would agree that it is a solid goal that financially benefits your future family. However, falling in love, for example, has been known to alter the course of even the most well-planned futures. There is no need to toss your goals into the fire when your journey is interrupted, or a new path become available. You simply need to incorporate changes as they occur. Plan your life, but leave room for choice.

4. Perfection

No one is perfect, and no plan is perfect. Perfection is unrealistic. Expecting the “perfect job” or the “perfect”, anything to bring happiness is the equivalent of accepting unhappiness. It is not about “perfect” circumstances, it is about making the best out of what you have.

5. Exaggerating the Role of Money

Lottery winners are the best examples. Less than 5% of lottery winners receiving $1,000,000 or more (Florida Lotto Survey 2013) report being happy. Money is a fundamental necessity. The availability of money affords many things that can make a marked difference in your life. Even with a full scholarship, a college degree is nearly impossible to attain without basic funding. I will not underrate it, but it should not be exaggerated either. Once necessities are met, money should be the equivalent of a hammer, a replaceable tool to build material objects.

6. Living Up to the Expectations of Society

The norms and expectations of society are just generalizations. You should take that statement to heart. The average American adult works from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, eats dinner at 6:15 pm, and goes to sleep at 10:45 pm. Society may expect a nine to five, Monday thru Friday career from you, not because it is the right choice for you individually, but because that is what the average person does. It is not a rule that needs to be followed. If it were, every night shift nurse, and every home schooled child would be considered failures. If Amelia Earhart had been successful at living up to the expectations of the society of her time, she would have been a homemaker, a teacher, or a nurse. Instead, she chose her own direction and achieved her dream of flying, becoming famous as the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic.

7. Needing a Romantic Partner

Being in love can definitely encourage feelings of happiness, but the two are not synonymous. The world equates happy people with happy relationships, and that is an unfair association. Unfortunately, divorce is common. Not everyone finds “the one” in his or her early 20’s. You do not have to be in a romantic relationship to be happy, and you cannot be happy in the wrong romantic relationship. Once you focus on making your life balanced and joyous, you will attract a like-minded partner.

8. Eliminate Stress

There is no such thing as a stress-free life. That is an unattainable goal. Stress is a perception and very subjective. As we covered earlier, life happens. Stressors are an inevitable part of living. Attending school, pursuing a career, and having children are all stressful but worthy events. The answer is not eliminating stressors; it is in adjusting our attitude and enjoying everything life presents to you.

9. Kudos

It feels great to be praised for a job well done. Not everyone will notice all that you do. Not everyone who notices will thank or applaud your efforts. The ability to work hard and do what is right without receiving or expecting praise is a critical part of self-worth. You cannot judge yourself based on the judgement of others. If you are genuinely proud of yourself and your actions, you are on the right path.

10. Power and Control

Willpower or having a strong mind and spirit are wonderful traits. The power that controls others is what should be let go. Those who are controlled by power do so out of fear. In the end, there is no happiness to be had on either side.

You may have noticed a pattern forming. All ten myths of happiness overlap. It is mostly about taking life in stride and being true to yourself. Letting go is the first step in attaining the happiness you deserve.

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