If You’re Not Enjoying life, You’re Doing it Wrong

To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. — Oscar Wilde

Thomas Oppong
Jul 15 · 5 min read

Unless circumstances are extremely beyond your control, and you can’t do anything about it, this holds true.

Life is a cycle of good times and bad. It’s not linear.

There are always going to be ups an downs. But you can still make prudent choices as the transformation progresses.

We all suffer different degrees of stress and anxiety in life. Some people thrive well, and others suffer quietly through obstacles and thoughts. The good news is, downs help us to appreciate and understand what an up looks like.

If you’ve experienced the downs for too long, and are having trouble seeing the ups, it’s time to shift your narrative, change your perception and take actions that will help you make progress despite the setbacks in life.

Epictetus once said, “We are not disturbed by things that happen, but rather, by our perception of things that happen.”

“This is the most important part of learning how to enjoy your life again: when you’re in a place of trauma and pain, you can’t try to force yourself to be happy. First, you have to step back into neutral,” says Brianna Wiest, author of I Am The Hero Of My Own Life.

Enjoying life starts with shifting our mindset, seeing things in a new way, because our brains are wired to heavily focus on the negative.

According to research, our brains have a negative-bias. Every bad comment or news about us, or around us makes a bigger impact on our perception about ourselves and the world than we realise.

“Your brain is simply built with a greater sensitivity to unpleasant news. The bias is so automatic that it can be detected at the earliest stage of the brain’s information processing,” writes Hara Estroff Marano of Psychology Today.

This bias causes us to worry more than necessary, fear the worst, and focus on bad narratives for too long, which robs us of the joys around us.

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry — all forms of fear — are caused by too much future, and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence,” says Eckhart Tolle.

Some people even play the victim because of negative bias. They only get satisfaction from sympathy from others.

Others have unrealistic expectations for themselves. They try too hard to make things right or be happy. They focus on life illusions to feel good. And when they fall short, they become miserable. They are constantly living in survival mode. It’s a terrible way to live.

The mental and physical fatigue can distract you from enjoying or appreciating life to the fullest.

If you are waiting for others to help you enjoy life, you are in the wrong lane. You can’t just sit around and expect the fullness of life to come to you.

We live in a world that subtly sabotage our efforts to live a good life.

But when you deliberately take meaningful actions and cultivate the right mindset, life is consistently enjoyable. So be vigilant. Pay attention to everything that robs you of the joys of life.

Figure out which small things you do or have enjoyed in the past and work toward maximizing and setting yourself up for more of those.

Lean into the little joys in life when you find them. The simple things are the most extraordinary things that sometimes makes life easy to manage.

Don’t think too much about “enjoying” life. The moment you jump to “thinking mode”, and seek things to make your life fulfilling, the fullness of life will become a mirage.

Enjoying life is not just about that one-off vacation or bonus. There is more to life than those short-lived moments of calm and dopamine release.

The little moments you are not noticing are the true pursuits that can guarantee every joy. True happiness is about embracing the little joys in life.

How we spend our days is how we spend our lives, as the adage goes. The habit of taking even mild pleasure in small things is life-changing.

It’s about making time for that sunrise, using your mornings to take care of yourself, losing yourself in your favourite book, being present when you are enjoying a cup of coffee, taking long walks, listening to the wind blow through trees, and being grateful for both small and big things.

The true nature of life is constant movement and constant evolution. Stay in control of the change, otherwise, life will become less and less comfortable.

Control the pains of life. You can absolutely avoid a lot of the psychological suffering by staying focused on your internal growth.

Here is a thought-provoking statement by Brian Krans that encourages us to schedule time for ourselves, our relationships, and what we care about:

“Are you happy? Have you ever been happy? What have you done today to matter? Did you exist or did you live? How did you thrive? Become a chameleon-fit in anywhere. Be a rockstar-stand out everywhere. Do nothing, do everything. Forget everything, remember everyone. Care, don’t just pretend to. Listen to everyone. Love everyone and nothing at the same time. It’s impossible to be everything, but you can’t stop trying to do it all.”

It pays to find more enjoyment in life as it exists right now, not in the past or the future but today, this moment.

“We can easily spend nine-tenths of our lives trying to appreciate the free time, hammocks, bike rides, and coffee breaks to come, or we can spend that time — which amounts to decades — appreciating what is already happening. And there’s nothing subtle about the difference it makes,” writes David Cain.

Life’s enjoyment isn’t all locked up the huge things we want to do. There’s enjoyment available to us in almost all of the little things we choose to do every day. Pay attention to them and pass time joyfully.

Try an be as present as you can through every step. Awaken yourself to the beauty and value of the things, people and ideas around you.

“Do your best to take time to notice, feel and appreciate your way through every texture of the circumstances you are in,” Alfred James recommends.

Closing thoughts

We all want to enjoy life and not just a fraction of it.

Make it your ultimate goal to live.

Enjoying life is living it in the simplest but transformative way possible.

Remember what Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.”

Be here more, and you’ll enjoy life more.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

Thomas Oppong

Written by

Founder at AllTopStartups | Author | Creator of Thinking in Models and Kaizen Habits | Featured at Inc. Magazine, Business Insider, Forbes, Entrepreneur, etc.

Personal Growth

Sharing our ideas and experiences.

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