New house, new car, new job? None of the above: 8 surprising signs your life is considerably better than you think
Stopping to smell the roses can make you feel happier and more fulfilled, as long as you smell the right roses.
The surest way to feel unhappy is to compare yourself to other people.
Take business: No matter how successful you are...someone is more successful. (Unless you're Jeff Bezos, maybe.) There is always someone better.
Wealthier. Smarter. Seemingly, at least, happier.
Focus on what they have--or what they seem to have--and it's natural to assume your life pales in comparison.
Instead, try this: See how many of the following apply to you.
You may find that your life is much better than you think.
You have goals you actively pursue.
Goals you don't pursue aren't goals, they're dreams--and dreams only make you happy when you're dreaming. (Wait, that sounded a little Fleetwood Mac-ish.)
Actively pursuing a goal will make you happy. According to David Niven, author of 100 Simple Secrets of the Best Half of Life, "People who could identify a goal they were pursuing [my italics] were 19 percent more likely to feel satisfied with their lives and 26 percent more likely to feel positive about themselves."
So be grateful for what you have...and then actively try to achieve more. If you're pursuing a huge goal, make sure that every time you take a small step closer to achieving it, you pat yourself on the back.
But don't compare where you are now, with where you someday hope to be. Compare where you are now to where you were a few days ago.
Then you'll get dozens of bite-size chunks of fulfillment--and a never-ending supply of things to be thankful for.
And a never-ending supply of reasons to feel good about your life.
You have a few close friends.
Close friendship are increasingly rare; one study found that the number of friends respondents felt they could discuss important matters with has dropped from an average of 2.94 to 2.08 in the last 20 years. (So much for the power of social media.)
Do you have friends you would feel comfortable calling in the middle of the night if you need help? Do you have friends you can you tell almost anything, and you know they won't laugh? Do you have friends you feel comfortable sitting with for a long time, without either of you speaking?
If that's you, your life is much better than you might think.
You choose the people in your life.
Some people have employees who drive them nuts. Some people have customers who are obnoxious. Some people have casual acquaintances who are selfish, everything-revolves-around-me jerks.
Here's the thing: They chose those people. Those people are in their professional or personal lives because they let them remain.
Successful people attract successful people. Hardworking people attract hardworking people. Kind people associate with kind people. Great employees want to work for great bosses.
If the people around you are people you want to be in your life...you're successful.
And if they're not, it's time to start making some changes.
You have enough money to make positive choices.
Many people live paycheck to paycheck. Worse, many have to decide between necessities.
If the difference between what you earn and what you spend allows you to make at least some positive choices--investing, taking a vacation, taking classes, anything you want to do instead of have to do--then your life is better than you might think.
You've escaped the paycheck-to-paycheck grind and can leverage that extra money to make your life even better.
And if you can't, find ways to make more (like with a side hustle) and spend less.
You embrace a growth mindset.
According to research on achievement and success by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, people tend to embrace one of two mental approaches to talent:
Embrace a fixed mindset and you believe you are what you are...and when the going gets tough, you feel helpless because you think what you "are" isn't good enough.
Embrace a growth mindset and failure and you see failure as training. You see failure as the best way to learn and grow. You know there will always be challenges and obstacles, but you believe perseverance wins in the end.
That means you'll be happier with where you are today, because you know you can be even better tomorrow.
Knowing that--and feeling a genuine sense of hope--is a sure sign your life is better than you might think.
You're a giver, not a taker.
We've all experienced this moment: We're having a great conversation, we're finding things in common...and then, boom: The other person plays the "I need something" card.
And everything about the interaction changes.
What once appeared friendly has turned needy, almost grasping...and, if you're like me, you feel guilty if you decide you don't want to help.
People who feel successful aren't needy. They accept help if offered, but they don't feel the need to ask. In fact, they focus on what they can do for other people.
(For a lot more on the subject, check out Adam Grant's outstanding book, Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success.)
You let others enjoy the spotlight.
Maybe you did do all the work. Maybe you did move mountains. Maybe you did kick ass and take names.
If you aren't looking for praise or accolades, that means you don't need the glory. You know what you've achieved.
That means you're confident. That means you're fulfilled.
And that means you've reached a pretty awesome place in your life.
You found a real sense of purpose.
Successful people--in whatever way they choose to define success--have a purpose. The result is passion. Dedication. Excitement.
And a genuine sense of meaning.
If you're found a purpose, if you've found something that inspires you, fuels you, makes you excited to get up, get out, and achieve, then you're happier than you might think.
Living the life you want to live is the best sign your life is better than you might think.