How To Be Unhappy


The pursuit of happiness is as old as modern civilization. Books, elixers, religions, and philosophies are all devoted to it. Happiness is a quest, an obsession, and a universal aspiration.

But what does it take to be unhappy?

In some ways, it’s easier than happiness itself. New research and much life experience offers a simple recipe for genuine discontent.


Buy things you can’t afford or don’t want. Either choice is a sure fit for unhappiness. When you buy things you can’t afford, you go into debt, which limits the other choices available to you. When you buy things you don’t want, you lie to yourself about the real source of your unhappiness.

Compare yourself to others. The love of comparison is the root of much misery. Therefore, judge your success or worth based on other people, especially those with a different background from you. Do this on a continual basis, always looking for a new idol or competitor in which your ideal unhappiness lies.

Take no joy in the journey. Focus only on the destination without appreciating the ride. Fail to celebrate small successes, and neglect to pause for reflection on how far you’ve come.

Respond instead of initiate. Take no responsibility for your schedule or preferences. Let other people set the agenda for your life. Take the lead for your schedule from your Inbox, voicemail, or someone else’s demands.

Allow other people to determine your values and priorities. Set no compass point for your life. Drift in the wind. For best results, allow your values and priorities to shift as you waver between bosses or role models.

Refuse to challenge yourself. Take it easy and settle into routine. Choose to believe that all stress is bad and seek to live as relaxed a life as possible.

Whine and complain to anyone who will listen. Explain how the world isn’t fair and how you would do things differently if you were in charge. Bonus: this practice also allows you to contribute to other people’s unhappiness.

Focus only on yourself. Refuse to forgive. Hold on to grudges. See the worst in people. Do not give out free lunch.

Settle. Accept things as they are no matter how unsettling they might seem. It could always be worse, right? Live in the complacency of your situation and refuse to fight for something better.


Happiness may require more than pithy quotations on Twitter and a good sleep cycle, but unhappiness is fairly simple.

What would you add to the list?


Image: Darren

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    • Mark says:

      I don’t have anything to add to the list, but have to agree that comparing yourself to others leads to nothing but frustration and general agony.

      Nobody else has been down the road that led you to the life you lead. Just as a musician’s style of music is derived from each and every individual record she’s listened to, so is your life.

      Trying to compare yours to anyone else’s path is not only futile, but extremely poisonous.

    • Suddenly Jamie says:

      Waste time.

      When we let opportunities slip through our fingers because we were too scared to start or didn’t know how to start or thought it would be easier to while away our days (and nights) noodling on Facebook or watching Dr. Who reruns (nothing against Dr. Who), we give away chances at happiness. Instead of creating, we consume. Instead of nurturing happiness, we stockpile regrets.

      And nothing is sadder than regrets.

    • Andrea Ballard says:

      Refuse to fail. Only do what you know you’re good at and will be successful in.

    • Dan Schmidt says:

      #11. Ignore your body. Those pains, aches and desires are just silly animal distractions, and have no inherent wisdom. It’s all mind over matter, and thought over flesh. Being kind to your body is self indulgence.

    • Chris Butterworth says:

      Such a good post – simple & true.

      I’d add to your list:

      Don’t exercise. Let yourself go. No pain, no pain.

    • Lacuna says:

      Let other people’s negativity affect your mood and self-esteem.

    • Natalie the Singingfool says:

      Brilliant. This, in fact, would mirror my “how to be unhappy” list.

    • Dan Schmidt says:

      #12. Stop learning. You are too old to make any real change. You should know what you need by now. You should also know how to do it, whatever it is. Don’t ask for help, and don;t take risks. Learning is for children (and fools).

    • Stu McLaren says:

      As I read the post I found myself nodding in agreement with every suggestion but my natural reaction was to immediately think of someone else that fit each item on the list (instead of looking deeper at myself).

      Re-reading it a second time, I see which items definitely apply to me but I really found it hard to admit which ones I’m personally guilty of – I wonder if others experienced the same?

      However, what I appreciate most about the post is that now I’m aware of them – so now I can improve.

      Thanks Chris!

    • Snowfox says:

      I’d add to the list: Neglect yourself! Whether it’s emotional/mental health or physical health, you need to take care of yourself, too, and not just all of the people and tasks around you. Eating well and staying active will give you a better base from which to accomplish all of the other goals you have!

    • Linda G. says:

      don’t do any physical exercise which might shake off some of that built-up tension. the more tight, tense, and weak your body… the more unhappy you can feel.

    • Jarlin says:

      Great post!

      I would add: not appreciating the present moment, refusal to acknowledge yourself for your accomplishments and constantly berate yourself for not being good enough, basing your happiness on external approval and acceptance.

    • Jan Richards says:

      Great post…will be sharing this one with others.

      Two things I’d add are:

      – Predict failure
      – Feed fear

      Thanks, as always, Chris.

    • John Mafrici says:

      Key to unhappiness… Listen to the advice of others instead of listening to your still small voice within 🙂

    • Benny says:

      I’d add not taking the time to appreciate what you already have in life. You mentioned gratitude in another post. Always taking the simple things for granted will lead you down a road of unhappiness.

    • Brenda Horton says:

      Having a sense of entitlement. That the world owes you.

    • Laura says:

      My only add would be to always be willing to accept and invite change into your life. Anais Nin once wrote, “Life is a process of becoming. A combination of states we go through; where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a sign of death.”

    • Phats says:

      Eat tremendous amounts of junk food and don’t exercise. Then when your immune system fails, blame the universe for making you sick….ha ha ha.

    • Elise Daly Parker says:

      I’ve struggled with comparison and unforgiveness…But I’d add keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome. Pretty fruitless!

    • Karin Pinter says:

      Spot on. Also…

      Give up. Think something is over just because it didn’t work out exactly the way you wanted it to, and never give yourself a chance to do it again from a new perspective/approach.

      Dan – I’ve heard that one far too many times now. It’s a shame that some people lock themselves into that mindset.

    • Don says:

      Desperately trying to separate your “work self” from your “home self”. You are the same person. Allow both parts of your life to empower each other. If you are constantly living a bi-polar life you will be in constant conflict with yourself.

    • Andi-Roo (@theworld4realz) says:

      I would add, “Make sure to dwell in self-pity. Don’t you dare stand up & start thinking you deserve better, or that you’re strong enough to go it alone. Just lie there wallowing in the depths of despair & continue to believe what the negative voices are saying.” … but that might be kinda harsh, so maybe I’d leave well enough alone as you seemed to cover this already.

      I liked Stu’s reminder to apply these to OURSELVES, as easy as it is to think of which bullets match other people. A couple made me cringe in shame. Thanks for bringing them to light so I can shake ’em off & get happy! 🙂

    • Paula says:

      Great Post.
      I would add-Think Small.
      Only do what you know you can do and don’t try anything new. Be limited – don’t stretch so you might soar.

      Thank you.

    • Derek Hippler says:

      I would add: “Know that your dreams are unreachable. Why even bother taking the first step if it’s impossible?”

    • shanna says:

      akin to comparing one’s self or life to others, i’d add: allow a book or *expert* to tell you what happiness is. AND, think of happiness as a state, a static place to quest for, and once found, you’ll feel complete.

      happiness, like many things in life, is a process, not a constant. build in flexibility. be willing to redefine what happiness means to you. detach from outmoded thought and belief patterns. be ok with unhappy, too, for this state helps us know what the opposite truly feels like.

    • Bryann says:

      “Let an inferiority complex command you.”

      I think it’s really a concoction of some things in the list too, but the symptoms include: constantly downplaying people’s achievements or great leaps forward. Character assassination through gossip, libel, and insults. Destructive criticism, instead of constructive. Rather than a love to learn, observe, and enjoy the people you meet along the way, there’s a love to destroy and tear apart.

      It also reminds me of this quote I read the other day: “Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.” — Bertrand Russell

    • alyznde says:

      Give up.

    • AJ Leon says:

      Make sure to get much more than you give, and to follow only the well-lit paths.

    • Amy Dier says:

      I would add: DO NOT spend time with nature! Don’t go for a hike, walk in the woods, or roll around the ground in fall leaves, look up at the night sky, listen to birds sing, or smell ANY flowers.

    • MJ says:

      Focus on the few things you don’t have (which you probably don’t need, want or can afford anyway), instead of all the things you do have.

    • Mark Behringer says:

      Inactivity is essential. Freeze up when decisions or action are required to always let an opportunity escape. If you can’t remain immobile due to nagging friends, family and life coaches, try to confuse activity with productivity. Thrashing around also causes missed opportunities and wastes whatever energy you may have.

      Finally, never write anything down, especially important dates, contacts and lessons-learned. Also, don’t read Chris’ emails!

    • Leah McClellan says:

      Great list, Chris. There are a couple in there I’ve had to work on!

      I’d add one more: Focus only on others. A few in the list touch on this (or maybe it’s a part of some of them), but I’m thinking of people (often women) who constantly care for others at the cost of neglecting or even ignoring themselves and their own wishes, dreams, and desires.

      Good to think on what causes our unhappiness–seems like we look at the recipes for happiness more often than taking steps to stop the unhappiness. Easy, seems to me, to go out and do our yoga and meditate and run and whatever and but harder to stop the (often deeply engrained) unhappiness habits.

    • Aaron Johnson says:

      Focus on “everything I have to do this week.” I’ve let that one confine me for many years. Shifting now, to what kind of story do I want to write this week.

    • Rita says:

      I can honestly say I can’t think of anything worse…

    • Mona says:

      O my gosh, did this ever resonate with me. My biggest problem at work is “Respond versus Initiate” because I am supposed to help others and be at their beck and call, except that their beck and call is selfishly oriented. Trying to make myself available has led to procrastinate/not take immediate action because I always expect to have to change my plans. No sooner do I make a decision that it has to be changed in favor of others. I will print out this list. I am pretty good about all the others though.


    • Mary says:

      Great list! I would add “Be vigilant in taking offence and swift to point the finger at others’ shortcomings”. Nothing like a state of permanent outrage to kill any happiness you might feel.

    • Nuki says:

      Not letting go. Shit happens and sometimes life sucks. I can give myself a heaping plateful of misery by not letting go. It’s so much easier to do than actually letting go and moving forward.

    • edward says:

      Three sure unhappiness makers………Perfection, need to always analyze, and yes, the perpetual need to always ‘be right’……..

    • Joseph Bernard says:

      Great list, thanks for the reminder that we shape our own experience of life. I would add several to you list:
      1. Not questioning your own thoughts
      2. Not living in the present, hanging out in the worry about tomorrow or yesterday
      3. Arguing for your limitations
      4. Not finding appreciation in your life daily
      5. Judging others and yourself as not okay

    • Heather says:

      I’d add: “Be sure to stay a victim. Always place blame outside the self. Here are a few tried-and-true targets: crappy parents, suppressive teachers, insane bosses, ungrateful kids, demanding spouses / partners. The trick, of course, is to turn over FULL responsibility for your choices. Don’t leave anything to chance. After all, it’s not YOUR fault, right?”

    • John says:

      Thanks, Chris. This is a great topic to ponder and you’ve gotten us to turn on our brains.

      I would add, as a way to be unhappy, “Never Open Up or Show Your Vulnerability”. A lot of people have the idea that we should “never let them see you sweat”, especially for males.

      Think about the phrase “take it like a man”. What’s that supposed to mean? Hide your emotions and never talk about your feelings? Because that’s a direct ticket to unhappiness.

      We need strength and we need to control our emotions to some degree. That makes us more stable and rational. But we have to grow and to grow we have to expose some of those things that hurt us the most.

    • connie b says:

      Great post! I would add “assess your self worth solely based on how much money you make.” I also like what others have said about ignoring nature, not living in the present, and refusing to be grateful for what you do have.

    • Heather says:

      I’d add:

      “Surround yourself with friends, housemates and romantic partners who are unhappy” to your list.

      Both joy and unhappiness are infectious in social circles. Choosing to spend time with others who are happy will help keep positive focus.

    • Dana Leavy-Detrick says:

      This kind of piggy-backs off of “compare yourself to others”, but trying to follow other people’s model for success is a definite downer. Whether it’s career/life/business/creative, looking at what works for someone else and trying to mimic it instead of finding your own unique mix of values, talents and interests, is bad. I think we’ve all done it at some point out of curiosity. But it’s an interesting lesson about listening to and having confidence in ourselves. LOVE this list – thanks for sharing!

    • Miriam says:

      Chris, it’s getting a bit creepy how 90% of the posts you write are exactly what I need to hear at the time! 🙂

    • Jarrod Shappell says:

      Avoiding pain at all costs. Pain is inevitable, easing its sting and learning from its impact seem to be essential to deeply felt happiness.

    • Matt Lewis says:

      Fear disappointment and use negativity to ensure defeat or not trying. Don’t use negative thoughts, situations, and emotions as a learning point to take positive and proactive changes into effect. Instead, over-inflate those negativities to extremes do you won’t try and will get to feel right or somehow in control of the future. (it helps to use words like “always” and “never” a lot.)

    • Alexandra Snowdon says:

      Decide that you’re too old now / it’s too late to follow your dreams and fulfill your goals, just accept it’s not going to happen now and resign yourself to a quiet life and living out your dreams through your kids.

    • sigmundo says:

      Don’t dream!

      Keep straight to reality and never ever shift into daydreaming and wishful thinking or other deluding scenarios like living on a place of your choice in a job of your choice, by making others happier for example. Or how the world could look like if everybody would be happy.

      Well, if i think about it, if everybody would be happy, there would’nt be any challenge for dreamers like us. Happiness would mean nothing.

    • Carmelo says:

      Excellent inspiration and food for thought … and action. Here’s another way to be unhappy:

      Actively seek out “stuff” to attach to in order to define yourself. i.e. find your value in what you own like your house, your car, your job, and even those with whom you associate. Don’t realize that you are full and complete and powerful in and of yourself.

      And if that’s not enough to make you unhappy, constantly change your mind at every turn – chase every guru, expert and external solution you can find, one after another without taking action on any of them. I think that should do it for you!

      😉 Carmelo

    • Cherilyn says:

      My addition:
      Refuse to see the marvelous opportunities unfolding in front of you each day. Then refuse to meet them.

    • Briana says:

      What a hilarious and thought provoking post. Thanks for bringing it. I also think that not being fiercely dedicated to your well being is a great recipe for unhappiness.

    • Monique says:

      How to be unhappy: another one for the list is telling yourself you can’t do something because it’s too hard.

    • AnnW says:

      Assume that anyone that ever achieved anything had someone to help them, or became well off by inheriting their money. You didn’t have those advantages. Your parents didn’t go to college. You didn’t know anyone that did. (Ignoring the fact that you spent 2000plus days of your life with teachers.)

    • Rachel says:

      Dwell on past regrets to the point of being unable to move forward.

      Surround yourself with similarly unhappy people who only share negative thoughts and assume no other action is necessary.

      Let fear rule your life.

    • Silverlight says:

      I would add, “Believe everything that people say about you, but only if it’s negative or could be construed as negative. Refuse to set your own identity, and be led by other’s opinions. Do not be true to yourself; behave as you think others want you to behave; do everything for the approval of other people. Care deeply about what others think of you, as though what they think is your problem or responsibility. Never act on your own ideas or passions in case they somehow upset someone. You will be dreadfully unhappy – and you’ll be able to believe that it’s everyone else’s fault that you’re unhappy, because they keep placing pressure on you and giving you bad advice; rather than admitting that it’s your own fault for taking their advice and for lacking spine and guts.”

    • David Bailey says:

      Adhere to a strict picture of how you want your life to be so that any variation or changes or different paths that appear will be denied.

    • Jim says:

      How to be unhappy: Take the safe way, even though you want to take the risk.

    • Sebastian Lora says:

      Refuse to smile. Smiling releases endorphines and communicates to people you’re pleased with their presence, two must haves for happiness…

    • Dale says:

      Have a need to always be right….which automatically makes everyone else wrong.:)

    • Katie McCaskey says:

      Thank you. I was enjoying a pleasant walk yesterday when, unfortunately, I ran into acquaintances who possess more than one of these traits. What downers! A brief encounter and exchange took more than an hour to “de-tox” from my system.

      I’d add: “Fail to be grateful” and “Assume nothing will change”.

    • Maggie says:

      Being unhappy is staying with someone whilst letting yourself slide into complacency and just settling in a routine of convenience. This post came at a perfect time as I just let a loved one go. Now I am slowly going to get back on my feet and take on the world – and I can’t wait.

      So excited to meet Chris and you readers in Melbourne!! x

    • James says:

      I found this hard to digest – this should be called ‘the avoidance of unhappiness’ – How to become a growing life loser!

    • Gladys Strickland says:

      To be unhappy – focus on what could go wrong and assume that it will happen. And assume that since something never happened in the past, it can’t happen now or in the future.

    • James says:

      Also, I ask the question would have as many people commented on such a blog if it was on the real pursuit of happiness? Do we all focus on the negative too much?

    • Summer says:

      Blame your parents or your childhood for what you see as misfortune.

    • Lisa "Sparky" DeLay says:

      Don’t count your blessings…focus on the bad parts of your life.

      UMM is this the actor who DIDN’T get picked for the movie TED? (It could be)

    • Maria says:

      Gossip. Talk about anyone and everyone, as long as they are not there.

    • TSP says:

      Refuse to pursue Beauty. Stare at a screen (Computer, TV, Phone, etc.) as much as you can instead.

    • Amy says:

      How to be unhappy? Spend your life waiting for the “time to be right” to start doing whatever it is you want to do. I’ve learned that time comes when we decide its here.

    • Angie says:

      Become a die-hard couch potato.

    • Rebecca S says:

      Give other people [anything] they did not [ask for/want/need] and then be resentful when they fail to appreciate the unwanted [thing]

    • dara poznar says:

      Amazing list, Chris! Holy crap, I love it.

      I would add:

      Let failure paralyze you & keep you from trying again.
      Never exercise.
      Don’t listen to music. (This one is huge for my happiness & inspiration. HUGE.)
      Isolate. (I am a loner, and I’ve learned that I need to get together with peeps & bond to be happy).

      And I second what Dale said about needing to be right.

    • David says:

      Having a partner that doesn’t share your desires, dreams and passions will cause a lot of unhappiness so choose wisely!

    • Gina says:

      Staying in a hopeless relationship is a sure way to be achieve unhappiness.

    • Jeannie Spiro says:

      I would have to add, playing safe and not allowing yourself to stretch to your true potential. What kept me unhappy for years was thinking that I didn’t have career choices. I was trapped in an unhappy job and didn’t even consider that I could do more with my life. I started a consulting business while I was still working and I found that it helped make my job more tolerable and I could pursue my passion at the same time. It was a win win!

    • Tom says:

      1. Trying to achieve perfection.

      2. Trying to do everything.

      3. Trying to please everyone.

    • Wayne says:

      As an admirer of Charlie Munger I love this post. Charlie often says to solve a problem “always invert, always invert” and this post does exactly that. In fact Charlie gave a speech at Harvard (I think you can find it on youtube but you can certainly find transcripts on the internet) and addressed this topic.

      I think you have pretty much covered the gamut of anything that could make your life miserable, although as some of the posters have pointed out an incompatible partner will not help either, and I think being unreliable and untrustworthy so you have no friends will add a little more misery as well.

    • Michael Paradise says:

      This is an awesome post and I agree with nearly all of it – however, I would amend the last point, “Settle.”

      I agree that one should never settle. However, settling and accepting things as they are – those concepts are unrelated when it comes to life changing behavior. In fact, you MUST always accept what IS if you want to change; it’s madness not to.

      A quick analogy: traffic. No one likes traffic. But, if you don’t fully accept the traffic as it IS (if you no immediate alternate options) then you will only cause yourself suffering (in the form of anger, anxiety, or other negative emotions).

      The same could be said of any obstacle in life. Responsive change rooted in destructive emotions will rarely see a lasting positive outcome.

      Never become complacent, but always accept what IS. Only then can you find the right path. You can never change your life (what IS), only your life situation (what could be).

    • M2da says:

      Only focus on things and never cultivate meaningful relationships

    • Deborah says:

      How to be happy? >>>> Love yourself first! If you realize and believe that you have value…then all that other junk won’t make you unhappy.

    • Cat says:

      Never spending time in nature and marvelling at the wonder of it all.
      There is nothing more grounding and uplifting than spending time walking through pristine bush or sitting on the beach staring out at the sea.

    • Sheila Lawrence says:

      I’d add: Be incurious; don’t seek to understand anything different from what you know.

    • Clare J Fitzgerald says:

      Great well thought out post Chris. What research did you read on this?

      I find that my brain often points out to me the things I have stuffed up much more quickly than the ten things I have done brilliantly – a perfect remedy for instant unhappiness.

      I think being critical of yourself and others puts you on the road to the land of unhappy too. It makes you feel bad and quickly alienates others – a double negative.

      And I also agree on the importance of joy and would like to add gratitude.

      I have found that deliberately taking time out of each day to find joy, even in the smallest of things, has profoundly changed the way I feel about my life.

      So too gratitude – pausing each day to say a silent thank you for the simplest to the most profound things creates a warm feeling of happiness inside, and its an easy, quick way to make you feel better day or night.

    • Cat says:

      Be afraid of your own success…

    • SABINE says:

      my everyday guide to be MISERABLE:
      dont get out of bed, when the birds start singing
      wear something beige
      walk slowly and try not to lift your feet
      only eat alone
      call people and let them know, that you are busy
      try not to … (fill in the one thing you havent done in the last 5 years)
      discuss the weather, when people talk to you
      start to panic.

      I am sure this works, if happiness creeps in, upsize your tv or your couch.

    • Gerrit says:

      Try to please everyone at all times!

    • Jude says:

      Another surefire route to discontent: Hoard. Dont share the three T`s of time, talent & treasure. Even if it`s more than what you need. Have the mindset that you`re better off than the other person. Gloat as much.

    • Shankar says:

      Accept what life doles out as fate.

      Get unlucky.

    • Mike Urry says:

      Refuse to learn from your mistakes.

    • Jeremy or IHeartTravel says:

      Use negative self speak. Instead of saying things like ” I can” & “I will” say thing like “I wish” & “I Hope”. with phrases like this your already cutting yourself out of the equation & empowering your unhappiness!

    • Avril says:

      Sit in constant judgment of yourself. Let the editor’s voice yap constantly in your ear. Don’t do anything unless you know you can do it perfectly.

    • Amber says:

      Eating junk food, sitting all day, negative self talk, wasting life and potential.

    • Jonathan says:

      I’d say the first two are probably the ones I do the most. At that, the second one is the one I end up doing more. Sometimes I can’t help it, I see others I admire and start comparing myself to them. I look at people my age, who are making a huge change in the world and I’m sitll not even close to doing that yet. I have to look back and realize that you can’t change your past and all you can do is focus on the now and your future. Everyday is a new day to start something great. I think once I start focusing back on achieving my own success rather than looking at what others are doing I tend to get much more relaxed and confident. Unfortunately my family seems to fill all the others up fairly well, and it often leads to me getting frustrated in even trying to help them when they won’t take responsibility for their own life.

    • Bastiaan Reinink says:

      Post and all the comments got me thinking. For me the most important one is:

      Run away from what scares you.

      Because running away from what scares me can in the short term “help”, but in the long run it has “allowed” me to miss out on a lot as well…

    • Mira says:

      Talk about how much you hate Mondays. Every Monday. Tell everyone you meet.

      And talk about how much you hate getting older. And never ever, reveal your true age to others.

      Also, complain about your kids, if you have them.

    • mswings says:

      Get a J.O.B – just for the money 😉

    • Aamir says:

      Stick out your ego so everyone can rub against it. Take everyone’s remarks seriously and think out all their possible meanings.

    • Izzy says:

      Follow someone else’s dream instead of your own.

      Become a lawyer or doctor because you want to make a lot of money.

      Talk about your big idea to everyone but never take any action towards it.

      Sit around all day claiming your “trying to figure life out” but never actually do anything to figure it out.

    • Sukhpal Singh says:

      Make yourself unhappy by

      1. rendering unsolicited advice to others and seeing them not following your advice, or rather seeing them doing precisely the opposite of that.
      2. have undue expectations from others
      3. Not accepting the help offered by your near and dears due to false ego.
      4. Lack of awareness/ total ignorance towards aim of life.

    • Jesús says:

      That is great. But when you are surrounded by a lot of unhappiness people? let say a whole country. What happen if happiness makes part of the culture of the place where do you love to live?
      What is working for me is live my life following my rules (instinct), handling the conflicts with “tradition” as it comes on the way.

    • Rene says:

      I’d add ailing to live life in the present moment and focusing on past and future too much. While it’s hard to be constantly living in the present moment, I believe if we make it a daily habit to focus on the present we’ll eventually get better at living more fulfilling lives…

    • Prime says:

      Live your life based on what other people want you to do

    • Val Joiner says:

      Giving other’s opinions and beliefs more weight than your own.

    • creative nomad says:

      Focus only on trying to find a partner in life and never try and find yourself or appreciate your own life, NEVER enjoy your independence!

    • Christy says:

      Thinking how “other people” need to read this article instead of focusing on my own self-improvement.

    • Kathy says:

      Amen to last one “settle.”

      I have several friends who lean on the expression “it is what it is.” They use it whenever things are tough. Stop saying it, stop believing it, and start trying to make things the way you want them to be.

      Can we ban the use of “it is what it is”….please!

    • Mike Rudd says:

      Refusing to smile and laugh while you are exercising! Doesn’t need to be so serious. Unhappiness will occur also if you all do is “work for the weekend” because then to quote James Murphy from LCD Soundsystem “You will miss the best things to do!”

      Great post Chris

    • Susanna says:

      Not following your passion, not going after your dreams, not believing in yourself, not appreciating what you have and always focusing on the negatives!

    • Diane says:

      Believe the toxic person whom you love
      WILL get better
      IF you give them one more chance…
      ( Without the prayer,professional help promised to seek.)
      YOU cry yourself to sleep ONE MORE TIME?

    • KAMESHA says:

      Blame others for your downfalls.

    • Dru Longhofer says:

      Serve two masters?

    • Kim says:

      Fail to recognize opportunities, including opportunities disguised as problems. Compromising who you are to please others. Losing faith in yourself.

    • Matt says:

      1) Always live your life to the beat of the bass drum and not the beat of the snare.

      2) Tell, don’t show.

      3). Never create anything, just complain about everything.

    • Tim says:

      Living a life under bondage to anything – social obligation, biological imperatives, self-sacrifice and service, temptation/greed/excess, pride, image, expectation, government, society, etcetcetc.

    • Jen Lambert says:

      Make it your goal to please everyone and win everyone’s favor. Sure path to unhappiness, anxiety and irrelevance.

    • Bill says:

      Spend way too much time on the internet, FB, Twitter and in reading every one of these comments!

    • Sébastien Ayotte says:

      Fail to try.

      Fail to build your distinct character.

    • Leigh says:

      I think these are all great. I also think it’s important to differentiate mere unhappiness with depression, which may need professional intervention.

    • Steve says:

      Avoid going outdoors at all times and always try to remain motionless.

    • Darryl says:

      Set expectations for what you want others to do and you are guaranteed to be unhappy.

    • Karen James says:

      Regular people pleasing. Making choices based on the kind of response you get from others as opposed to what feels good and true for you.

    • kt says:

      I have found that your own happiness is determined by yourself. If you count on others giving you that, you will never be truly happy. In this day and age where social media makes us very susceptible to comparing ourselves to others, we easily get lost and unhappy. We should always be able to tune into our inner voice, even if that means you have to be alone for a while. As for myself I feel much happier without following others. By just focusing on myself and doing my own thing, I know much more about myself and how I should face the world, what I need and what I like. Other people cannot teach me this.

    • Lori Paquette says:

      Living in the past, not being fully immersed in the present, forgetting how play fuels the innovative mind, over thinking, under-charging. Surrendering to perceived fears rather than detaching expectation to actual outcome. Losing trust. Believing the monkey chatter to be the real story.

      Excellent post, Chris

    • Jennie Brown Hakim says:

      Believing that losing and/or winning are permanent conditions.

    • kimolsonphoto says:

      Give up before you ever really try. Most things that are worth having take a lot of work and it can be an obstacle for some. But once you achieve your goal, it’s so much sweeter!

    • Melanie Smithson says:

      Defend, justify and explain everything you think do and say!

      Listen to every thought that arises!

    • Britni Danielle says:

      I am an avid reader, but first time commenter. This really struck a cord with me because I’m guilty of more than a few of these. No mas, though. For the past year I’ve been pushing past fear to live the best, most awesome life I can and so far, so good.

      Thanks for the reminder to keep plugging away!


    • Niharika says:

      Thanks for letting me know why i am UNHAPPY.

    • ์Natcha says:

      Listening to too many people at a times.

      Not letting go when you realize that you have no control.

    • Sanjay says:

      True unhappiness lies in not knowing what’s your Life’s mission and wandering aimlessly through Life.Its ironical that by talking about negatives,you have actually put focus back on positives in Life.Great read.The article’s title is sure to grab one’s attention.

    • akira says:

      Late to the game, but I didn’t see this one, so:

      Don’t EVER fail.

      (this explains why so many overachievers in the developed nations are miserable despite what they’ve accomplished or earned, IMHO)

    • Wasim says:

      Try to please EVERYONE !!

    • Anand Viakara says:

      How to be unhappy…

      1. Keep thinking of the past most of the time. Of the fight you had with your spouse, of the hurting words of your daughter, of the rude remark of the cashier at Walmart, of the insulting words of your boss, and hundreds of similar unpleasant thoughts that cross your mind every minute.

      2. The rest of the time, keep worrying about the future. About the impending layoffs in your company, about your insufficient retirement funds, about your wife’s excessive friendship with your neighbor, about the job application that may not get any response, about the tumor that could be diagnosed as cancer, or about a leaking faucet in your bathroom!

    • Kaitlyn says:

      Blame things, people and circumstances for your own inaction.
      Make excuses instead of finding reasons.
      Kill yourself slowly with bad food, too much alcohol, smoking etc.

    • Danni Phillips says:

      Letting others use you for a doormat is a sure path to unhappiness.

      Don’t let other’s critism turn you from your dream!

      When I left school I wanted to be a vet not for the money but for the simple love of animals. I let others turn me away from that dream.

    • Khaled says:

      Putting off what you want to do until it’s too late.

    • nearnthere says:

      Try to change to people in my life to be what i want them to be.

    • Ara Bedrossian says:

      I like Kimolsonphoto’s answer…hustle. It’s not covered by what you’ve mentioned but it is really important to growing your passion, which is what we are here for: mastering something, becoming valuable to ourself and others. Do the work. With help in this, read Pressfield’s “War of Art”. It has helped me greatly. So have you, Chris in pushing me to choose what I want and not let it be decided for me. Cheers.

    • Josh says:

      This is great, definitely something I needed to read today.

    • Zane says:

      Let the fear of failure deter you from the attempt.

    • Angie says:

      Second guessing your gut instinct and succumbing to other people’s “convincing” attempts to help you see things differently…even well-meaning people.

    • Jeff Goins says:

      TRY to be happy. The happiest people I know aren’t trying to be happy. They’re just living fulfilled lives, which can sometimes be hard and even painful, but always worth the struggle. I think when we focus too much on ourselves and our own happiness all the time, we rob ourselves of the rewards of the journey of life.

    • Ara Bedrossian says:

      Jeff Goins…What you wrote is profoundly true. Sage advice. Applying the Buddhist concept to itself: Reduce your desire, including your desire for happiness!

    • Patrick says:

      We buy things we don’t like with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.

      Fight Club.

      Great post Chris. It’s great to see you speak on the other side of happiness. I’m 95% done with your new book and I’m really enjoying it. Keep up the good work and thanks for sharing your travel experience on this blog

    • Jon says:

      “….Selfishness, control, and fear will break almost any relationship. Generosity, freedom, and love will create the most beautiful relationship: an ongoing romance.” -Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love. Its beyond me why anyone would volunteer to intentionally suffer, unless they’ve been domesticated by another human who also enjoyed suffering and taught suffering as the only viable option. Suffering is a choice, just like happiness is a choice. And we can choose happiness now; we do not have to wait until we die.

    • Emily says:

      This post is very meaningful to me, especially now. In the next few hours, days or weeks I will be making a very tough but important decision to leave my stable job of three years and begin working self-employed with my partner. Our ultimate goal to live in Spain for a few years cannot be attained until I make this leap. It’s scary to let go and do it, but living life how you’ve posted above is even more frightening. Thank you for sharing this inspiring post.

    • Phil says:

      If bad things have happened to you due to fate, including the actions of others, that you could not have prevented, hold yourself responsible anyway.A sure way to unhappiness but at least no one will call you a whiner.

    • Brendan Baker says:

      Chris, you absolutely nailed it. Particularly with individuals not enjoying the journey… that’s what it’s all about!

      Why is the world so outcome focused? Achieving the outcome does not make you happy unless you have enjoyed the journey DAILY.


    • Ordinary Bob says:

      Measure things that don’t matter.

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