6 Happiness Hurting Habits

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A podcast I listened to today led my to an article by Business Harvard Review with the title: “6 Habits That Hurt Your Career.” The negative effects of these habits on career advancement are scientifically proven i- and can be found in numerous companies and teams.

While reading the article I realized that these habits are not only professionally but in general ideal to pave your way to unhappiness.

Sometimes we have developed these habits because they might have been useful in single situations in the past. However we tend to lose sight of their long-term effect on our relationships and thus also on our own well-being.

So, open your eyes and hard stop if you catch yourself doing the following:

  1. Conflict Avoidance: What sounds like avoiding difficult conversations starts earlier – namely whenever we avoid a situation or switch to fight mode in order to distract from our own insecurities, fears or mistakes. Becoming aware of one’s own reaction patterns in such situations is the first step towards breaking them. Pause, take time to calm down and approach the conversation again – consciously, pro-actively, rationally and prepared.
  2. Impulsiveness: Impulsiveness ranges from sudden, emotional outbursts of anger or frustration to “running over others” with your own ideas and concepts. Here, too, it is important to become aware of the triggering moment and to ask yourself: “What feeling do I want to leave in the people I meet?” or “What could others think of my idea? What impact will it have?”
  3. Blame-shifting: Also known as “I didn’t do it” or “This is not my fault” or “If XYZ didn’t …, then …” If you have this reflex, ask yourself honestly how important it is for you to be right and what your attitude is towards mistakes (my article “Embracing mistakes” may also help here). Try to change your focus. What is it really about? How can you change from the search for a guilty person to the search for the solution?
  4. Insisting on control: Do you prefer to do things yourself before you have to trust others to do them for you? Do you focus on the desired result or do you believe that the only way to achieve this result is by following your own path? Start on a small scale by letting go and accepting. Become clear about what you want and open yourself to different suggestions. Letting go not only enriches your life but also enables the people around you to flourish. Because as the saying goes: “If you builld fences around people don’t be surprised if you get sheep.” (Förster und Kreuz)
  5. Perfectionism: My favourite subject. Often, when I hear someone say “I am a perfectionist” when asked about their weaknesses, it sounds more like pride than a burden.  But real perfectionism has nothing to do with “delivering 100%” – because real perfectionists often don’t get to deliver at all, because they are unable to feel 100% accomplishment. How about “80% is enough” for a week?
  6. Power hunger: Only yesterday I talked to a friend about the dynamics that sometimes get unleashed when teams get a new boss. Formerly supportive colleagues suddenly switch to competition mode and it seems to be all about “who can best present themselves in order to establish their position in the favour of the new one”. In the worst case, at the expense of everyone else. Seriously: with a really good manager such behaviour will leave exactly the opposite impression. But also in your private relationships – if you want to keep them up – the following applies: empathy before egocentricity and compromise before the compulsion to control.

These habits can also be summarized under the topic “Emotional Intelligence”. Here is the good news: unlike IQ, EQ can be trained for a lifetime!

For enriching relationships and a happy life.

May we succeed!

Yours, Birgit 

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