Discover more from A Better Life
Sunday Self-Scaler 3
11 things you need to stop doing to be happier and more successful, an excellent YouTube channel I am loving, and a Stoic exercise to prepare for adversity
In life, we are quick to blame external factors for being unhappy or unsuccessful while not realizing that most often, we ourselves are the real culprits.
Willingly or unwillingly, we often do things that sabotage our happiness and success. I want to share 11 such things with you.
1. Speaking before thinking
Under the influence of feelings, emotions, or the situation, we often blurt unpleasant things that we don’t mean or intend to. Such things become a cause for rifts in relations and much regret later on.
During a short argument with a close friend, my temper flared and I happened to utter really hurtful things which wrecked our friendship.
It took months to mend what a moment broke, such is the power of the tongue.
The wounds inflicted by harsh words are more painful and take much longer to heal than physical ones. Cato has rightly said,
“I begin to speak only when I’m certain what I’ll say isn’t better left unsaid.”
The mouth is a pretty powerful and wild thing that when tamed will completely change your life.
Take a moment to calm down and think clearly before running your tongue the next time.
2. Making fun of a person’s physical characteristics, intelligence, or income
Doing so is nothing short of declaring war on that person’s self-esteem and a sure shot recipe to breed hate.
I was bullied in middle school for stuttering and called “effeminate” for being shy, skinny fat, and soft-spoken. My self-esteem hit rock bottom, I developed body image issues and I absolutely hated my bullies.
Even if you meant it as a “harmless” joke, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and think — Would you be fine with having your self-worth demeaned?
On the surface, even if such jokes are taken sportively, deep down they inflict some damage, often subconsciously.
Steer clear of not only “put-down” humor but even other forms of negativity, and embrace positivity.
3. Ignoring your health
A couple of years back, I used to binge eat, spend long hours glued to electronic screens and stay up until late, sleeping as late as 4:00 AM sometimes.
I was overweight, felt tired all day, had a sickly pallor, and deep down felt unhappy, and empty.
I decided to make a change. I slowly cleaned up my eating habits, reduced screen time, improved my sleep, and adopted an overall healthy lifestyle.
Lo and behold, not only did my physical health and looks improve, but I also felt way happier, more positive, and much more driven to achieve in life.
I realized that when your physical health improves even your mental health does just like this Arabian proverb says,
“He who has health has hope; and he who has hope has everything”
Everything you do will be futile if you ignore your health. Take care of your health.
In fact, staying fit and healthy isn't even that hard. You might want to give the below article a read if you think it is.
In a nutshell — Get adequate sleep, drink enough water, exercise regularly, stay active, and eat mostly healthy.
4. Giving up too soon
When I first joined college, I tried my hand at a lot of things — such as ethical hacking, a fitness Instagram account, a YouTube channel, video editing, etc. but failed at all of them.
Or I thought so at the time.
A year later, I achieved a majority of what I wanted to — such as prepping for and participating in a bodybuilding competition, achieving millions of views on Quora, landing a good internship, etc.
So how did this change come about?
I realized that my “failures” were due to me lacking a firm sense of purpose and giving up too soon — being drunk on the illusion of “overnight” success, I failed to see the progress I was making.
We fail to see how much time and effort went into the so-called “overnight” successes. Every failure and every ounce of your effort brings you closer to success.
You could be at the very verge of success when you decide to give up so don’t give up yet.
5. Thinking that you are always right, the best, or are above others
Everything we see and know is just our perception of the world, not objective reality. Different people have different perceptions and your “right” may not be right for others.
So have an open mind, be unafraid of being proven wrong, and be tolerant of other’s perceptions and opinions.
When I topped in school for 12 years straight, I developed the belief that I was ultra-smart and would remain unparalleled but when I joined college, I met a lot of people as good if not better than me.
You aren’t the best and that’s okay. The only thing that matters is being better than your past self. So be humble and strive every day to become better than yesterday.
Most people have something to offer in terms of life lessons, even the ones you think are absolutely worthless might have some hidden good quality or talent.
Always give the other person the benefit of doubt, what’s the worse that can happen? — The other person turns out to be right and you get to learn.
When you see the world through the looking glass of humbleness, you start seeing and learning a lot more.
6. Not learning
Life teaches you far more than any degree ever could, all you need to do is keep your eyes open and be hungry to learn.
I personally believe that reading, conversations, and life experiences are some of the best teachers.
Reflect and learn from your mistakes.
Talk to people.
Devour books across all genres like fiction, finance, biographies, self-help, spirituality, economics, politics, history, theology, philosophy, etc.
If you aren’t a big fan of reading, then listen to podcasts, watch videos, etc.
Whatever you do, never stop learning.
7. Letting others control your life
Being bullied in school left me with damaged self-esteem and low self-worth for a while.
Those days I would seek validation for everything I did and other’s opinions controlled my life. My happiness and identity revolved around what others thought about me.
Looking back it was one of the worst phases of my life.
Remember that it’s your life and yours only. By giving up control of it, you give up control of your happiness too.
Believe in yourself, listen to good advice from well-wishers, don’t let other’s opinions control who you are, and stay away from manipulative people and toxic relationships.
8. Not being able to take a joke
Whenever I would hang out with my friends, I would heartily crack jokes at someone’s expense but would get abusive and storm off in rage whenever a joke at my expense came up.
Talk about hypocrisy.
As this led to strained friendships, I became tolerant but it was still only wilful suppression of the anger and shame I felt.
I realized that I was treating such jokes as personal attacks. Only when I started treating them as just jokes did I truly develop a sportive spirit.
Here it’s also important to be able to differentiate “harmless” humor and deliberate hate concealed under the guise of jokes.
If it's the former, be sportive and take it in good humor. If it’s the latter, don’t entertain it.
Life is too short to entertain any form of negativity.
9. Breaking someone’s trust
Up until a couple of years ago, I would divulge secrets as easily as I would distribute candy and lie without the slightest feeling of guilt.
Only after the collapse of my first relationship and the alienation of one of my best friends from me did I truly realize how important it is to not break someone’s trust.
Trust is the base upon which every human relation is built.
“Trust takes years to build, seconds to break and forever to rebuild”.
The greatest thing someone can offer to you is their trust in you and being trustworthy is one of the greatest qualities you can possess.
Betrayal of trust is one of the worst feelings in life that none of us would want to experience.
10. Letting work consume your life
As someone that loves hustling, I understand that work can be great, fun, and exciting but it's easy to get consumed by it leaving no time for friends, family, hobbies, leisure, and other aspects of life.
By letting work consume your life, you are defeating the entire purpose of working. It’s akin to:
Pulling an all-nighter to study for an exam and sleeping through the exam.
Strike a balance between work and life. Remember that you work to live not live to work.
“Work hard but make time for your love, family, and friends. Nobody remembers PowerPoint presentations on the final day”
— Chetan Bhagat
11. Being apathetic
Empathy is the most underrated quality someone can possess.
“Empathy is like giving someone a psychological hug”
— Lawrence J
Being able to understand and share someone’s feelings will make you 100 times more likable as a person.
Listen calmly when someone wants to vent, comfort when someone’s feeling down, console when someone’s in sorrow, and show elation when someone’s feeling happy.
Share the mood to make the other person feel good.
In a Nutshell
Always think before you speak. Speaking before thinking can make you say unpleasant things that you didn’t mean or intend to.
Never make fun of a person’s physical characteristics, intelligence, or income. Such “fun” isn’t humor but a war on the person’s self-worth.
Don’t ignore your health. Understand that a healthy lifestyle is a happy lifestyle too.
Don’t give up too soon. Understand that failure is an integral part of achieving success and you could be on the very verge of success when you decide to give up.
Be humble and open-minded. Don’t think that you are always right, the best, or are above others, because you aren’t.
Learning is a lifetime process. Books, experiences, mistakes, people, etc. are all teachers in life.
Don’t let others control your life. By giving up control of your life, you give up control of your happiness too.
Be sportive when it comes to harmless humor.
Never break someone’s trust. Trust is the base upon which every human relation is built and betrayal is one of the worst things someone can experience.
Strike a balance between work and life. Don’t let work consume your life.
Be empathetic. Empathy is the most underrated quality someone can possess.
An Excellent YouTube Channel You Should Check Out
Last week, as I didn’t really have a lot of interesting books on my Kindle and had a lot of free time on my hand, I turned to my dear old friend YouTube.
An interesting video decided to present itself in my recommended section and I clicked on it.
I had just stumbled upon a gold mine. This channel - The Pursuit Of Wonder has A1 videos. It’s poetic wisdom and storytelling in motion.
Definitely check it out!
A Stoic Exercise to Prepare for Adversity
More than 99% of our life is out of our control. As a result, things can go wrong when we least expect them to. Just a few weeks back, I woke up ready to conquer the world and ended up having one of the worst days of my life.
A nifty exercise the Stoics have to mentally prepare for adversity is negative visualization — basically flexing your pessimistic muscle and visualizing everything that could go wrong. As Marcus Aurelius said,
“Begin each day by telling yourself: Today I shall be meeting with interference, ingratitude, insolence, disloyalty, ill-will, and selfishness — all of them due to the offenders’ ignorance of what is good or evil.”
So, before you start your day, think about and visualize all the things that could go wrong. Be brutally pessimistic when you do so. You’ll feel uncomfortable the first few times but it’ll pay off in the long term.
Lemme how it goes!
That’s all for today folks! I hope this helps and I would love to know what else you would like to see in the Sunday Self-Scalers. This newsletter is all about the readers and if I can add something to make it better, I gladly would. So lemme know in the comments!