1. The belief that a happy life and an easy life are the same thing. An easy life means no difficult choices, no heartache, no challenges, no fear, no rejection, no failure. But an easy life also means no adventure, no growth, no thrill, no risk, no appreciation for joy, and no love so great that it feels like your heart could burst. Happiness comes with a price (of pain, of worry, of anxiety), but it’s the most worthwhile price you’ll ever pay.
2. The belief that happiness is something you should grasp at, rather than something that exists inside of your being. The problem with happiness is people think it’s just another trophy to put on their shelf, something they can chase after until they finally catch it and can display it to others. But you’ll have much more luck experiencing contentment if you learn to be grateful for what you do have, especially the simplest of things: air in your lungs, the fact that the sun rose again this morning, a smile from someone you love. If you pay close enough attention, you’ll feel how deep the connection of those little happy moments goes into your soul.
3. The belief that your dream job will feel stress-free and effortless. A dream job just means finding something you care about so much that the work brings you energy and joy rather than exhaustion and apathy. Your dream job will be just as hard as any other job you would have, and you’ll probably work ten times harder at it. But at the end of the day, you’ll feel alive and exhilarated, rather than trapped and listless.
4. The belief that true love means being just as passionate on day one of the relationship as you are two years or twenty years down the line. Passion can definitely be a lifelong aspect of a relationship. But that over-the-moon, butterflies-in-your-stomach, can’t-breathe-when-you-look-at-them type of infatuation has an expiration date; everybody’s newness wears off eventually. But true, genuine love is so much better than that. It’s having a sense of calm, safety, trust, and pure joy around your significant other at all times (even when you’re fighting) because they make you feel more like yourself than any other person in the world.
5. The belief that the world owes you something. It doesn’t. Think about how complicated your life is, and then remember that every person you encounter is living an existence just as complicated as yours, if not more. They’re too busy to revolve their world around yours. If you want something, it’s up to you, not them, to figure it out.
6. The belief that you can make everybody like you if you try hard enough. Some people just aren’t going to like you. Stop wasting your energy trying to figure out why, and spend it on people you actually care about.
7. The belief that you’re finished learning after college. You’re never done learning about anything. There are books and websites available at your fingertips that many people in the world could only dream of. There are lectures to attend and new people to meet and workshops to sign up for and passions to discover. Never stop learning. The minute you stop learning is the minute you stop living.
8. The belief that it’s someone else’s fault every time something doesn’t work out for you. Maybe sometimes it is, but where does that get you? You’re better off trying to go about it a different way than to waste time figuring out who’s to blame.
9. The belief (even if it’s unconscious) that you’re the center of the universe. On the contrary, you’re just the smallest of specs. And while that may seem like a negative and brutal outlook, what it actually does is give you freedom and clarity. The timeline of your life, in comparison to the length of time that humans have been on this earth, is as insignificant as it could possibly be. So who cares if you can’t figure out why that one coworker doesn’t like you? Who cares if your photo got an “embarrassingly low” number of likes? Who cares if you’re not as accomplished at your current age as your older sibling was? When you’re dead, all those worries are going to evaporate in an instant – plenty of them already have. So you might as well spend your time worrying less about forgettable problems and more about how you can make even the smallest of differences in the lives of others.