- Be suspicious of people. Step seven of how to be miserable instructs that you should never give anybody the benefit of the doubt and you should assume that people just want to take advantage of you. Therefore, to keep people from getting the best of you, you should always be guarded and defensive. You should assume that people smile to get something from you and that their motives are malevolent in nature.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the most joyful people are those who are very unsuspecting. They want to see the best in people and assume that everyone they interact with is good at heart. When they are betrayed or taken advantage of, they do not lash out or take revenge. They forgive their enemies and pray that they do better. In all likelihood, their enemies act a certain way because they are suffering.
- Never fix the things you dislike about yourself. Continue to engage in bad habits that degrade you and make you feel like a lesser human being. They’ll keep you submissive and weak, and you will quickly forget that you are capable of overcoming obstacles or difficulties. Subscribe to the idea that people can’t change, so there’s no point in trying.
Instead, begin each day with a small victory. Answer the call for the heroic minute when your alarm goes off in the morning. Get down on your knees and offer your day to God. Make your bed. Eat a healthy breakfast. Begin to form habits so you can start your days with victories. They will serve as reminders that you can succeed and overcome difficulty. Each success will launch you forward into further success.
- Focus on things you can’t control. Get angry at the traffic, your horrible local sports team, the government, the bad streak of weather. To be miserable, you want to reinforce the idea that the world is horrible and filled with horrible people and there’s nothing you can do about it. That way, you give yourself an out for remaining stagnant and bitter. Stay focused on the external things in life, so that you feel helpless.
To be happy, do the direct opposite. That doesn’t mean ignoring the corruption and tragedy of the world. It means focusing on what good can come of it. Focus on the people making positive changes in the world and emulate them. As with all good habits, start small. Find ways to help your local community or your family members and the household. Your momentum will encourage you to think bigger, and giving of yourself only breeds happiness tenfold. Find the things you can control and improve them.
- Use fear as motivation. Utilize fear as the primary motivator for being productive. Use iron-fisted tactics and terrifying deadlines to force yourself to do things. Embrace anxiety and stress by reminding yourself that your life could crumble if you don’t pay these bills, complete these projects, or do these favors for these people.
If you want to be happy, you have to learn to let go of your worries. That is paramount to overcoming stress. Don’t stop caring and don’t be dismissive, but give up on the things out of your control. Worrying about them can only do you harm. God will take care of those uncontrollable things. As St. Augustine said, “Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as if everything depended on you.”
- Only do what is comfortable. Let the comfort zone be the deciding factor of what you do and do not do. If something could be uncomfortable, don’t do it. Only participate in activities that are effortless, familiar, or comfortable. Don’t venture into the world to learn new things, find fresh perspectives, or get out of your bubble. “Stay in your lane. Operate in your wheelhouse.”
For many, especially in this age of isolation and digital media, the comfort zone resides in their home, their bedroom, or their office: It’s in front of a screen with a remote or controller in their hand. Venture into the unknown, expand your literary and scholarly horizons, and meet new people.
- Believe you are special. Pretend like you’re entitled to things. Play the victim in every situation. Believe that those who have what you want in life don’t deserve it, and you do. See yourself as vastly more talented, skilled, and unique than those around you. You’ll develop an outsider complex which will make it more difficult for others to connect with you. But that’s what you wanted anyways, right?
There is nothing we can do that someone else on this planet cannot do. It is our job to separate and differentiate ourselves. Outperform your peers. Go earn that promotion or raise. Prove to others and yourself that you are talented and unique. Don’t play the victim and don’t believe you’re special unless you can prove it.
- See life not as it is, but as you wish it to be. Get lost in your fantasy. Daydream of how life could be if you weren’t in such a miserable situation. Lament at your setbacks and obstacles while becoming jealous of those who have it much “easier”. Imagine what it’d be like if your problems are gone. And escape from reality as much as possible so that your problems seem as if they’re gone. Become resentful at the juxtaposition.
Would you rather be a person of words and potential? Or would you rather be a person of action and achievement? Every sane person would opt for the latter. As you’ve probably noticed, each step to being miserable has to do with wallowing in stagnation. Be a person of proactive, positive influence. In order to bring people to God, you have to be in front of the line.
Tune in to The Patrick Madrid Show weekdays 8am – 11am CT