How To Guarantee Unhappiness: The 5 Thinking Habits Of Highly Miserable People

Spencer Sekulin
Jul 12, 2018 · 7 min read

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” ~Aristotle

The difference between happiness and misery can be traced to what you do every day, and the most important thing that you do every day is think. Everything starts with thought — from the greatest achievements to the most wretched of misdeeds.

The seeds of happiness and misery begin in your mind. How you think affects how you act. How you act affects how you feel. How you feel affects everything else.

There are many things that you can do to make yourself miserable. The list is infinite. But there are a few things that are common amongst most unhappy people — not all, but certainly most. So here’s a quick guide to feeling like shit —or, if you want to be happier, a quick guide on exactly what NOT to do.

#1 — Blaming Everything But Yourself

“When you blame others, you give up your power to change.” ~Robert Anthony

When you blame, you are virtually surrendering to whatever it is you’re so upset about. You’re saying to yourself that you don’t have the strength to change it, so you put it off on others to soften the blow. But you’ll feel it all the same.

By blaming others for your own misfortunes or mistakes, you do yourself a great disservice, for you take the problem and make it unsolvable — because you believe it is outside your control.

The one who blames has an external locus of control. The one who accepts responsibility has an internal one.

Those who blame everything but themselves are blind to the path of self-improvement. And they will not improve, because they don’t think THEY are the problem.

But deep down, I think we all know, and it is from this lie, this poor defense mechanism, that a tremendous amount of misery is created. Because although you get to delude yourself about others being the problem, you still have to suffer the company of your own failures — the burden of self-dissatisfaction.

If you’re feeling unhappy, take a look at yourself first before assigning blame to others. Most of the time it will be something you can change in your mind or in your actions.

If you want to be happy, don’t blame others, don’t shirk responsibility, and don’t lie to yourself about your ability to change. Face the truth. Boldly meet challenge. It is only by doing so that you can achieve your highest purpose.

“The price of greatness is responsibility” ~Winston Churchill

#2 —Complaining

“Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain — and most fools do.” ~Dale Carnegie

Have you ever been at an airport or a restaurant and been in line behind that person who complains about everything?

It’s taking too long. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. This sucks. You’d think they would be faster. Look at how long it’s taking! I shouldn’t have come here. I can’t wait to give them a piece of my mind!

BLAH! BLAH!! BLAH!!!

If you have, you have likely met a Class-A miserable person. Why? Because complaining stems from a lack of discipline, a lack of self-control, a lack of the sort of pluck it takes to endure inconveniences with maturity and calm. At its core, complaining is a useless habit of thought that only poisons your ability to act. That’s not the sort of material to build a good life on, is it?

“When you complain, you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation, or accept it. All else is madness.” ~Eckhard Tolle

Stop bemoaning how things ARE and take ACTION to make them BETTER. Complainers don’t believe they can change it, otherwise they’d be digging deep and doing whatever it takes to eliminate the problem.

Here’s another thing . . .

Complaining = Whining

People don’t like whining. So not only will complaining disarm you, it will make other people hate being around you.There’s nothing more annoying than someone who complains incessantly. It’s toxic!

So if you want to be miserable, by all means complain all the time.

Or you can do the opposite . . .

“The finest souls are those who gulped pain and avoided making others taste it.” ~Nizariat

One of the things most indicative of a mature mind is being able to adsorb suffering like a sponge and not share it with anyone else — to face it.

#3 —Worrying

“Worry is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.” ~Arthur Somers Roche

Having the habit of worrying all the time will make short work of your happiness, peace of mind, and even your health.

It will sap away all the good things from your days. It will take all the colors, all the vibrancy, all the opportunity, and all the joy and drain it down to nothing. Why? Because worrying is hard work. Thinking about it over and over. And, as Markus Aurelius said, our souls take on the color of our thoughts. Worry enough and it will drop you to your knees.

“A day of worrying is more exhausting than a week of work.” ~John Lubbock

Worry is a high-energy exercise that accomplishes absolutely nothing. It is like pushing a boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again, time after time, ad infinitum.

Beating the worry habit is one of the best things you can do to separate yourself from the ranks of the miserable.

“My advice to you is to do what I finally did on worry. Give it up. Who needs it? I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m saying it’s worth it. It took me almost one year to kick the worry habit, and it was not an easy year. It was one of the toughest years I ever spent, but I finally got that monkey off my back. And I discovered you can live the most incredible life free of worry. Not free of challenge. Not free of difficulty. Free of worry. I learned how to do it. And you can.” ~Jim Rohn

#4 —Pessimism

“Pessimism leads to weakness, optimism to power.” ~William James

Photo by Joseph Greve on Unsplash

A negative mind will never give you a positive, happy life. Pessimism is a deadly disease of thought. A habit of self-imposed misery.

Here’s what pessimism is:

“The deadly disease of always looking on the bad side, the problem side, the difficult side, checking all the reasons why it can’t be done. The poor pessimist leads an ugly life. He doesn't try to figure out what’s right, he tries to figure out what’s wrong. He doesn't look for virtue. He looks for faults. And when he finds them, he’s delighted. How ugly.” ~Jim Rohn

You can either see the sunset or the specks on the window. You can either see the glass as half empty or half full. It may seem like a small, irrelevant thing, but it makes all the difference, because your perceptions become who you are.

A pessimist will not take chances. A pessimist will not see the positive side of a great opportunity. A pessimist thinks his way into being less than he can be.

Such a habit of thought will show up in your mood, in your beliefs, in your attitude, in your dress, in your stature, and in your bank account. Everything affects everything else. So be careful how you think, because what matters most is not how things are, but how you THINK things are.

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” ~Winston Churchill

#5 —Self-Doubt

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ~Suzy Kassem

Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash

Doubt is a plague. Especially self-doubt. It stops you from becoming what you are capable of becoming, instead keeping you caught up in an endless cycle of uncertainty.

Doubters see an opportunity and discount their ability to do it. Doubters can talk themselves out of anything! And nothing destroys potential like a chronic self-doubter.

You can easily guess why such people are unhappy. They can’t even be confident with who they are, let alone what they could have been. That is tragic.

So instead of doubting, believe in yourself. You are worthy.

“If you are going to doubt anything in life, doubt your own limitations.” ~Dan Brule

Call To Action

“Poor thinking habits keeps most people poor.” ~ Earl Shoaff

You are what you consistently do. Your habits shape your life. Practice poor thinking habits daily and you will certainly be poor — in mind, in body, in spirit, in wealth.

Many people are miserable simply by their own habits of thought. You, on the other hand, turn it all around.

You don’t blame others. You take responsibility and respect your power to change.

You don’t complain. You face all misfortune with integrity.

You don’t worry. You confidently face uncertainty and risk.

You’re not pessimistic. You view life positively, focusing on what is right, and making the best of all things, even hard times.

You don’t doubt yourself. You believe in yourself and all that you are capable of.

And because of these things, misery will find infertile ground in your life. For misery loathes the soil in which happiness thrives.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Spencer Sekulin

Written by

Writer | Creator | Student of Life | Contributor for The Startup, Better Marketing, and more. Let’s learn and grow together. https://spencersekulin.net

Welcome to a place where words matter. On Medium, smart voices and original ideas take center stage - with no ads in sight. Watch
Follow all the topics you care about, and we’ll deliver the best stories for you to your homepage and inbox. Explore
Get unlimited access to the best stories on Medium — and support writers while you’re at it. Just $5/month. Upgrade