I believe half the unhappiness in life comes from people being afraid to go straight at things. William J. Locke
When we look around and see the sheer extent of the way the malady of unhappiness has spread all over we wonder why those with ample material wealth, people who have well sheltered lives and socially well accepted people form the bulk of those who are unhappy. On closer scrutiny we make the painful discovery that happiness is an inside thing and our insides can be happy when we are at peace with ourselves. Outlined are three interesting reasons why most of us are not at peace with ourselves and it all boils down to just one thing; our inability to traverse the straight and narrow path.
One human frailty is our penchant to find short cuts for all our tasks. We start all new tasks with great enthusiasm and interest, but soon find that the task gets repetitive, boring and even painful when done over a long period of time. This is partly because anything that is done over and over again tends to lose its original sheen and obviously when we gain some expertise the challenge in the task is lost and we slowly lose the motivation that lured us to perform well. Then the urge is to find faster ways to do the task, easier ways to do the task and innovative ways to cut down the effort or eliminate the tough parts. The trouble is that in this quest, we end up taking some questionable means, some not so correct ways and often we end up messing up the task and doubling the original effort to correct it. If only we stick to the straight and time tested path we would achieve much more unless of course we have some well studied and well developed alternatives that make the task simpler.
Another human weakness is our inability to clearly and directly communicate our real feelings, wants and needs. When we are particularly shy or diffident about something, we tend to be obscure and vague in communicating our requirements. If you are an employee you will realize how frustrating it is when you feel your contribution is not reflected in your annual appraisal and increment and yet you do not have the daring to take it up with the concerned officials directly. You are more likely to crib and rave and rant with your colleagues who sympathize with you but can do little else. Similarly, most people who are in love will never pop the question for fear of rejection and will continue to give subtle hints and leads whilst not responding forthrightly to similar overtures from the other party. The most commonly seen miscommunication is telling white lies. This implies not reveling the truth by camouflaging it in verbosity or obfuscation. Perhaps being a little more straight and direct in communication would have yielded the right results faster and perhaps favorably too.
By not taking a decisive stand on any issue, the vast majority of us end up as fence sitters who would wait to see which way the wind is blowing before we commit. Fence sitters adopt a play safe approach and as a result do not have either clarity in their thinking nor do they make a firm commitment to anything. Politicians who often change their stand, change parties, indulge in double speak are a classic breed of those who refuse to toe a straight line simply because they want to change the lines often and as per their needs. Each one of is also guilty of either outrightly lying if we are in a big fix or apportioning blame on others, deflecting the issue or simply denying or feigning ignorance about it. Not a straight way to handle the situation and the fear of being caught will always haunt and then there is no more happiness with a Damocles sword over ones head.
Remember: “There are four ways you can handle fear. You can go over it, under it, or around it. But if you are ever to put fear behind you, you must walk straight through it. Once you put fear behind you, leave it there.” Donna A. Favors
- You are accompanying your best friend to meet the doctor who is to give an update about your friend’s biopsy report. Your friend is extremely nervous and so are you. You meet the doctor who smiles but seems tense and ill at ease. Assume that the doctor has to convey terrible news how would you want the news to be conveyed?
- Your boss has dictated an important letter to his secretary which has numerous figures and statistics. You are to check the letter and then give it to the boss for his signature. A week after the letter has been dispatched, the secretary informs you that she has noticed a very serious typographically error in the letter which can be potentially very damaging to the company. How would you tackle this situation?
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