10 Things Keeping You Unhappy with Life (and how to avoid them) – BioTrust Radio #43

Written by Tim Skwiat and Shawn Wells

unhappy with life

Are you unhappy with life — with yourself? Notwithstanding “having it all,” do you feel like something’s missing? Despite having what seems to be a “great life” (at least from the outside), do happiness and success remain elusive? You’re not alone. While we often focus on the habits, actions, and attitudes of the happiest, most productive, and most successful people, in this episode of BioTrust Radio, we discuss 10 reasons, crippling thoughts, and troubling distractions that can lead us to feel unhappy with life.

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“The only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own.” – Marc Chernoff

In this episode of BioTrust Radio, Shawn and Tim discuss a fantastic article written by March Chernoff (Marc & Angel Hack Life) titled 10 Things Too Many Unhappy People Want More Than Happiness. Too often, we get bogged down with we think we want and need (to be happy), leaving us with a sense of ambivalence, and ultimately, unhappy with life.

Why do we know these things? Why do we feel like we can talk about them? Because we care about you. Because we’re not immune to these very same things that we discuss. We’ve been there; we get distracted too. But as you’ll learn, embracing the struggles and accepting the challenges (with an optimistic smile) is a big piece of the puzzle in overcoming being unhappy with life.

Here are some of the things covered in this podcast, including 10 of common things you may think you need (to be happy) but don’t:

  • Another comfortable, leisurely day is not a recipe for happiness. If you’re unhappy with life, you need to embrace the notion that you need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. (See “comfort zone” image below.)
  • If you think a quicker way is what you need to stop being unhappy with life, think again. It’s about sweat equity and realize that the way you do anything is the way you do everything. We ultimately become what we repeatedly do.
  • Expecting perfect efforts and outcomes is a surefire way to be stuck unhappy with life. Instead, we need to focus on progress, not perfection. We need to emphasize the process (and our behaviors) — not just the outcome.
  • Are you spending too much time on social media? That’s a powerful distraction that often leads down the path of being unhappy with life. It’s time to learn to be more human again.
  • More approval from the masses is surely what you need if you’re unhappy with life, right? WRONG. The real secret to happiness is internal — not external validation. Stop worrying about what other people think of you.
  • Is your fully-booked calendar a reason you’re unhappy with life? Sure could be. There’s a tremendous difference between being busy and being productive, and there’s an even bigger difference between being busy and feeling happy and fulfilled. If you’re unhappy with life, realize that you can’t do it all — nor do you need to. Learn to delegate, teach, and empower others.
  • If daily drama is the norm for you, then you can probably bet that’s contributing to being unhappy with life. Stop dramatizing things and taking them to extremes. More often than not, the drama is fabricated — and unnecessary.
  • Do you think you need to be someone completely different to be happy? While there’s certainly something to learning from others to help evolve our own talents, skills, and strengths, if you’re putting all your eggs into being someone you’re not — or pursuing someone else’s life — this could be a huge reason you’re unhappy with life.
  • If you’re unhappy with life, you just need more confidence so you can take that next step, right? Nope. You don’t need more confidence to take that next step in life. You need to take that next step to build more confidence.
  • More stuff is NOT what most people need when they’re unhappy with life. More stuff doesn’t create happiness; relationships, experiences, insights, etc., combine to create happiness. Success is not what you have, it’s what you do. If you’re unhappy with life, focus less on stuff and spend time with people who bring you energy and value, go outside, and exercise more. “Our excessive physical possessions are not making us happy.  Even worse, they are taking us away from the things that do.  Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that really do matter.” — Joshua Becker

We’ll discuss these 10 common reasons people are unhappy with life and much, much more…Enjoy!

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Transcript – 10 Reasons You’re Unhappy with Life

Shawn: Hello, BioTrust Nation. This is Shawn Wells with Tim Skwiat.Tim: I’m here, too.Shawn: He is my amazing co-host on BioTrust Radio. He’s every bit as sexy as he sounds. He’s a good-looking guy, so you need to check him out. There’s a good reason to go to BioTrustRadio.com.

Tim: That’s right. [laughs]

Shawn: Where we also have the full transcription of each show. We have citations, links, and all that good stuff. Like so much more extra show at BioTrustRadio.com. But you can also find us on iTunes, Google Play/podcast, Stitcher and now Spotify. So, whatever way you can listen to us, I would greatly appreciate that you do. We would greatly appreciate it.

But let’s get into this episode, 10 Things Too Many Unhappy People Want More Than Happiness. In other words, 10 reasons people may be unhappy with life. And this is written by Marc Chernoff of www.marcandangel.com. And Tim and I have kind of stumbled into this site. You know, we look through a lot of different sites with life hacking and bio-hacking and all these things, like where you have lists for improving your wellness, mentally and physically, and we’ve gone through some of those, and they’re just fun.

So, 10 reasons people may be unhappy with life. It says here, “Once upon a time a young girl awoke hungry and thirsty. She hadn’t consumed anything to eat or drink for as long as she could remember and she was lost in a vast desert without food, water, shelter, or any kind of parental care, but she wasn’t scared. She was ready, for throughout her short life, the universe had been crystal clear with her. While other children were granted easier lives and happier homes with loving parents, Christmas trees, and birthday parties, her destiny was different. It was to know suffering. She could find ways to alleviate suffering in others.”

And it goes into a really good story here which I’ll say that you can check out on the link for this podcast. But I like that thought process in and of itself. Tim and I have talked before about stoicism. Like Ryan Holiday, if you want to check that out, The Obstacle is the Way, in he has Ego is the Enemy, and some other books. He has a great blog. But also this makes me think of another great book and great podcaster is Jocko Willink, the Navy SEAL, and he has a book that’s very famous called Extreme Ownership. And it’s all about really owning things in your life and taking control of them and taking responsibility for them. And I like that here, too, because what they’re saying about this young girl like is to know suffering, that’s stoicism, where you get stronger through difficulty.

Call it adaptation, call it evolution, call it growth. But also with this suffering and changing the mindset to say, “I’m not just suffering. I’m suffering so I could find ways to alleviate suffering in others.” That flip of mindset is very one extreme ownership, where you take responsibility for it. You say I’m not just going to complain about this, I’m going to own it and then do it well, and get through it positively. So I think of those two books. But also that suffering, alleviating suffering in others, that’s just that positive mindset, the glass is half-full, the truly energized, intelligent way to think through problems, to think through your life. Because alleviating suffering in others, I mean, that’s certainly worthy. I love like that flipping of the mindset that’s laid out here.

Tim: I agree with that, Shawn. This reminds me. I mentioned my wife before on the show, several times. She’s a therapist, a professional counselor. And from very early on in our relationship—we’ve been together for over 11 years now—one thing that struck me was that we’ve all been through our fair share of stuff, but one thing that always struck me about what Amy, my wife, had always said is that she truly believed that everything that she has gone through and does go through in life was to help others get through similar situations. So she could really understand, like be in the trenches and understand what it takes or what it feels like, literally what it feels like, to be in their shoes, and also what it takes to get through that. And that sounds like this is something similar to that.

Like you said, when you embrace that mindset, you approach the problem completely differently. It’s that stoic mindset. But it’s also not that martyr type of mindset or “woe is me” kind of thing. It’s this is a challenge, I’m going to get through it, and by me getting through it I’m going to help others get through it as well.

Shawn: Exactly. I mean, this is all about people who are unhappy with life, right? And this says, “Yet, despite logic, many people who are unhappy with life think that they want and need,” and then it goes through this list. So, the first reason people are unhappy with life is 1. Another comfortable, leisurely day. “A comfortable leisurely day sounds nice for a moment, but it’s not the kind of day you’ll look back on with gratitude for how far you’ve come.” So, that’s pretty profound, thinking about that. What are your thoughts around that?

Tim: Well there’s another sentence here that’s highlighted that really stands out and is something we’ve talked about before, “Living is about learning and growing through excitement and discomfort.” So even in the moment when we feel that discomfort, when we feel like things are hard, that’s where we grow. That stress, when it’s acute like that is good stress, like we’ve talked about before. We need that good stress to initiate some kind of adaptive response. And so that comfortable, leisurely day, every once in a while that’s important. That that non-productive type of day or activity is actually really important so we can go back to being productive. We can’t always be “on,” so to speak. We talked about how that can damage us over the long-haul, but if that’s the regular, then we’re missing out on tremendous learning and growth opportunities.

Shawn: Well, and I think of two things, too, is that when you have a really enjoyable day, like where incredible things happen, that’s on one end. And then a day that maybe is devastating, is difficult, that you do get growth and development from. Either one of those are memorable to the point of the author here, versus another comfortable leisurely day. That’s just straight down the middle and that’s not where memories are made, that’s not where joy is or growth is. It’s kind of neither. It’s just comfort, which is like anti-stoic. And I think of like when you’re just in the middle, when you’re comfortable, then there is no growth, there is no development, there is no joy.

Tim: Yeah, it reminds me there’s an image, and I’ll have to find it and post it in the show notes. But there’s this image of a like a large black circle and within this black circle there’s a little tiny little circle and it says, “My Comfort Zone.” And it points to that growth is out here. It’s in this big black area, not within the comfort zone. So it’s just kind of kind of interesting.

Shawn: Absolutely.

Tim: And it just also reminds me of something I think we’ve said before here is we have to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Shawn: That’s really good. Number two reason you may be unhappy with life is, A quicker way. “The more mature your eyes grow, the more clearly they can see through the smoke and mirrors of every quick fix. Anything worth achieving takes dedicated daily effort. Like most people, I used to believe that making wishes and saying prayers alone changed things, but now I know that wishes and prayers change us and we change things.” I mean, this kind of goes hand-in-hand with what I was just talking about, with growth and development or with joy. It just feels like people who are unhappy with life, I mean, I’m going to take a trend of one and two and say people who are unhappy with life aren’t the trend of bad things happening to them, and they’re just living every day and every day is terrible.

I would say that more dangerous is being comfortable, quick fix, play it safe, down the middle kind of thing because, again, with the more dramatic highs and lows, that’s where life happens, that’s where joy happens, and that’s where growth happens. Those are the two things. I mean, joy or growth. And really, if you’ve got a lifetime of just down the middle, there is no growth, there’s no need for growth. And there’s also no joy. So, a quicker way, I mean, that’s definitely shortcuts, right? And why do you want shortcuts? The obstacle is the way. Why cheat yourself of growth.

Tim: Yeah, there’s something to efficiency, no question, and being more productive and being like that. But a quicker way, and the implication here is that taking shortcuts and avoiding the grind.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: You know, we’ve talked about the grind before. And there’s a lot of people, one person that comes to mind to me is a former baseball coach, Augie Garrido. He always talked about the journey, the process. It’s not just about the outcome. In fact, it’s not really about the outcome at all, necessarily. It’s about the process, and doing things the right way for the right reasons, and working through it, in his case, together as a team. But we don’t want to forego the process, because that’s where a lot of those learning opportunities, the growth, happens.

Shawn: Exactly. Which, reason three you may be unhappy with life, Perfect outcomes and efforts. “Too many of us fear that we shall somehow be held back by our imperfections. But in reality, the exact opposite is true. The full acceptance of our imperfections is what ultimately sets us free. Understanding the difference between reasonable striving and perfectionism is critical to letting go of distractions and picking up your life.” And then it says, “Think progress, not perfection.”

So man, that’s okay. I battled with perfectionism before in my life and it can be—like, it kind of reminds me of that gratitude thing that we were talking about, where you’re just honing in on the one thing that’s wrong and you’re your focused there and you’re unsatisfied despite so many things going right, despite you accomplishing so much, etc., that you’re focused on. That you don’t have the Rolex watch, but you’ve got a working car, you’ve got food in your stomach, you’ve got an education, you’ve got someone who loves you, you’ve got clothes on.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: So, progress not perfection, and I think they’re saying that people who are unhappy with life can be perfectionist.

Tim: And I see this a lot, too, where I’m just working with folks that have a physical body composition goal. Weight loss is a good example. I think we focus way too much, in general, on outcome goals versus process or behavior-based goals.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: So, let me give an example. So, in terms of weight loss, an outcome goal would be to lose 10 pounds. And if that’s all you’re really thinking about then you’re missing out. You don’t lose 10 pounds every day. The way to get there is your behaviors. So, I need to get x amount hours of sleep. I need to go to bed by x time. I need to drink x glasses of water. I need to eat these foods. I need to not eat these foods. I need to exercise this amount. Those are behavior-based goals that are within your control on a daily basis. And when you start to focus on the process, the outcome is secondary.

And the other thing, too, is that when you focus on the things that are under your control, you do all the behaviors. You know you’re doing everything you can right. If you don’t get to that perfect outcome, you can say, “You know what? I did the best I could. I executed the process. I executed the behavior, so I’m not unhappy with life. I’m not unhappy with life that I didn’t get the expected outcome because I know I did everything that I could in terms of the process and the behaviors. And so, I’m happy knowing that I did the best I could.”

Shawn: Nice. I was actually interested to know the x time, the x food. But I think they cover those on other BioTrust Radio podcasts.

Tim: I will just say it depends. [laughs] My default answer for everything, “it depends.”

Shawn: Number four reason you may be unhappy with life, All those text messages, social updates, memes and perfect insta pics. meaning Instagram. “If it entertains you now, but will hurt you or bore you some day, it’s a distraction. Don’t settle. Don’t exchange what you want most for what you kind of want at the moment. Study your habits. Figure out where your time goes and remove distractions. It’s time to focus on matters. A good place to start is learn to be more human again. Don’t avoid eye contact. Don’t hide behind gadgets. Smile often. Ask about people’s stories. Listen. You can’t connect with anyone, including yourself, unless you are undistracted and present. And you can’t be either of those two when you’re Facebooking, Instagramming, or Snapchatting your life away. You just can’t.”

Really agree here. [chuckles] That’s so well-stated. I’m thinking of what to add, but man, it’s so true. It’s sometimes scary, when you like look around you. And I’m not saying I’m better than anyone when it comes to the cell phone. It’s something I need to always work on, too, and be mindful of. But man, there’s times when I’m at an airport or some place and I’ll just look around and literally every head is down looking at the device. And we’re in a crowd, so to speak, but we’re all alone.

Tim: Yeah, that’s crazy. [laughs] We talked about the social isolation stuff before, too, and how like we are more connected than ever before, but in many ways disconnected.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: But one thing that this reminded me of, too, is that with all the social media things especially, how perfect people can portray themselves or how perfect we think other people’s lives may be, and that makes us unhappy with life. Because we really get to select the content that we provide.

Shawn: Yeah, that’s true.

Tim: And so that’s only the perfect meal that we take a picture of or it’s only the perfect family picture, not the 152 where my daughter was doing something silly that I didn’t want to post or crying her eyes out. We don’t usually post the imperfections. We share the perfect things. And from the outside looking in, maybe that’s leaves people feeling unhappy with life or unfulfilled. Or maybe if we’re the person posting it, maybe we’re trying to…

Shawn: Create jealousy.

Tim: Exactly. Right on. And so, that’s what this reminded me of, too. And I guess one other thing that this made me think about, too, is that now that we communicate so much or we communicate so little face-to-face, or even over the phone for that matter. It’s more of through text messages and emails. I think people say a lot of things in ways that they wouldn’t say it in a face-to-face manner. And that can lead to unhappiness, I think, and rifts in relationships because there’s a lot of miscommunication or lack of communication there.

Shawn: So what’s an example of that, a direct example?

Tim: I think that if I was having a disagreement with someone by email or text message, that the way that those messages would be conveyed would be much more aggressive in nature, and someone is much more likely to say things through an email or text message that they would not say in person.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: And I think that that can either be a sign of unhappiness or can lead to unnecessary unhappiness because that conflict may be resolved much faster in a face-to-face communication.

Shawn: What about sarcasm?

Tim: I think you have to know your person, right? Like you and I, I think we know each other well enough that we can you have a WhatsApp message or something where there’s a degree of sarcasm, but a lot of times I have concern about my level of sarcasm not coming over [chuckles] and not being translated properly. And then if someone doesn’t respond right away, you’re like, “Oh, what did they not get?”

Shawn: [laughs] Yeah, I was just joking.

Tim: I was just joking, kind of thing. [laughs] So, yeah, I’ve got a lot of thoughts on this stuff.

Shawn: [laughs] That’s good. Reason five you may be unhappy with life, More and more approval from the masses. Man, if you really want to be unhappy with life, and this list is 10 Things Too Many Unhappy People Want More Than Happiness, which is a profound thought. I mean, let that sink in, that you’re literally choosing to be unhappy with life. You’re choosing something other than happiness and you’re doing it intentionally, which is an interesting thought in and of itself. Like what psychologically leads to that? And this makes the argument that it’s some behaviors and certainly some of the people you have around you that are affecting you.

But more and more approval from the masses, we really worry about what other people think about us way too much. And that does lead to being unhappy with life. That does lead to a series of decisions that we choose, really suffering over happiness to project something outwards to say we’re happy. I mean, think about how ironic that is. You want to project happiness so others believe you’re happy more than you want happiness. That is a really bizarre phenomenon, but it’s true. And we do it. We care more about what other people think about us. I mean, that’s a deadly thing.

I know I’ve talked about it before, the 20-40-60 rule, where I think it’s at 20 you care what everyone thinks about you, at 40 you realize that it’s not as important as you once thought, and at 60 you realize no one was really watching at all.

Tim: [laughs] Yeah.

Shawn: It’s profound that it takes years to kind of realize these things. But maybe we’re trying to help you on it right now that you should worry a lot less what other people think because most people don’t even think about you.

Tim: Yeah. The tricky thing there, I think, it’s human nature to some degree to want to be recognized for your efforts and things like that. And so I think there’s a certain amount of that that’s important or relevant, but to constantly seek external validation is a different story.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: At least I think so.

Shawn: No, I totally agree.

Tim: But I think we have to find ways to internally validate ourselves and our efforts, and go back to positive affirmations and the things that we think and say about ourselves. And some of these things may have deeper roots. Like being a father, I can see it already in my young daughter, my 2-year-old daughter, that like if you provide all this external validation, they start to seek it, they start to look for it at a very young age. And maybe some of us didn’t get enough of that or too much of it when we were children and we haven’t really learned how to grow out of that, or to cope with that and things like that. So, for some people, if that’s a problem, maybe it is somewhat worth getting some additional professional help with, to talk through it a little bit more.

Shawn: Yep. Yeah, good stuff, man. I love sitting across from you.

Tim: Right back at you, brother.

Shawn: Thanks, man. So number six reason people are unhappy with life, A fully booked calendar. “Feeling busy feels exciting for a while, but make no mistake about it, busyness for the sake of it is just a temporary distraction that pulls us farther away from long-term happiness and peace of mind. This is a lesson we all learn eventually, oftentimes the hard way.” So, I agree. And then there’s a bolded line, “You cannot do it all. You have to let some things go.” That’s similar to that Eisenhower quadrant that we were looking at before that has on one axis IMPORTANT and NOT IMPORTANT, and on another axis URGENT and NOT URGENT, IMPORTANT and NOT IMPORTANT. And one of the boxes is that you need to let go and delegate some things when it is IMPORTANT but NOT URGENT.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: So that’s something to think about. With your calendar, I mean think about this.

Tim: I’m sorry, Shawn. I think it was NOT IMPORTANT but URGENT.

Shawn: NOT IMPORTANT but URGENT. You’re right. Man, I’m butchering this one.

Tim: [laughs] We’ll get there.

Shawn: Okay. So anyway, don’t have a fully booked calendar. Just put in things in your calendar that you really need and you need to accomplish and focus in on.

Tim: Yeah, and I’m sorry Shawn. I’m just going to say again, we talked about this before, but there’s a big difference between being busy and being productive. And just being busy for the sake of being busy is not necessarily a good thing.

Shawn: Exactly. So, reason seven you may be unhappy with life, The daily drama that sounds so significant. “Ninety-nine percent of the drama in our lives isn’t significant in the long-run because it isn’t even real. It’s all in our heads, just momentary rise in blood pressure for all the wrong reasons.” We seek this. And I’ve read some articles on this like because it’s like it evolutionary kind of. Like we had more fight-or-flight scenarios in our day, when we were out surviving in the jungle or on the plain. Or you hear a noise and there’s a rustle of leaves, it’s like you go into like, “What’s that?” And so, a lot of times we, as humans, now fabricate some of the stuff just to create those fight-or-flight feelings inside ourselves because it makes us feel alive. But we literally are creating drama.

And if you notice, what you’re seeking out when you watch news or when you’re watching a reality show, and even a cooking show or like these home building shows now. It’s like, “[bleep, bleep, bleep] You dirty blah-blah-blah. I can’t believe.”

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: You know, really? Like is this really dramatic or is this fabricated drama on a “reality show.”

Tim: Right.

Shawn: And it’s so true. Like we want to watch drama. We create drama. “Hey, did you hear so and so, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” You’re creating drama.

Tim: Yeah, exactly.

Shawn: You know, like it’s drama, drama, drama. You’re watching drama, you’re creating drama, you’re living drama. And then, I swear people that say the word “drama” or refer to dramatic people, are dramatic people.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: It just seems to me that that’s the way. If you’re someone that’s positive focus and always putting the positive spin on something, and you have gratitude, then you don’t seek out “drama.” You don’t create drama. You actually create feelings of happiness, contentment, and joy, not only for yourself but the people around you.

Tim: Yeah. I agree with that, Shawn. And you talked about this in a previous episode. In the workplace, how some people are just creating these fires and you can feel the tenseness in the environment when you walk in the office, all that kind of stuff. And we shared that Eisenhower quote, “What is important is seldom urgent and what is urgent is seldom important.” But I know exactly what you’re talking about with the fabricated drama. “Like right now what’s happening is the worst thing that’s ever happened. This is the most blah blah.”

Shawn: Everything is like a one-star or a five-star. Everything’s a zero or a 10.

Tim: It’s like, here we go. Here we go again.

Shawn: Dramatic, dramatic, dramatic. You know, most things in reality would be a 5-6-7-8, not a 10. Not a zero, 10-zero, 10-zero.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: It’s like full-blast other way. I think that’s just people that create drama, need attention, and all that kind of stuff.

Tim: Exactly.

Shawn: Anyway, moving on from the drama folks, number eight on the list of reasons people are unhappy with life, Being someone completely different. “It’s human nature to attempt to mimic other humans we look up to. Perhaps a sports star or a celebrity, especially when you’re feeling insecure in your own skin. But attempting to be someone else will always leave us feeling empty inside. Why? Because what we appreciate about the people we admire is their individuality, the qualities that make them unique. To copy them, we need to develop our own individuality, and in that way we would actually be less like them and more like our true selves.” Man this is a maybe the best thing out of this whole article.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: I love this one because I think there’s some quote about why would you want to be like someone else. You’ll always be like a copy, a one-off. You’ll never be as good as that person that’s doing it that you’re admiring because, again, like the article says, it’s the individuality that you admire and that’s how they achieve that.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: Because they’re being the best version of themselves. So, if you want to “copy” them, then you need to pursue yourself. Be an individual. Be true to yourself. Know yourself, understand what motivates you, find your why, and then be the best version of you. That’s how you copy these people you greatly admire. That musician that’s mind‑blowing to you, that artist that’s mind‑blowing to you, that whatever it is. Like someone in your field of study that does IT, and they’re the best programmer you know. It’s because they have a passion for programming. They have an attitude towards excellence, and they get after it every single day.

Tim: Exactly. And we talked about like when you’re trying to be someone else, who or what are you actually escaping? I think it’s an important question to ask. And then here Marc, in the article about being unhappy with life says, “The only challenge greater than learning to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes is learning to walk a lifetime comfortably in your own.”

Shawn: Ooh.

Tim: And so that’s what made me think about. If you’re not comfortable in your own skin, why is that? And just to kind of build onto what you talked about, individuality. And I think another word for that to me is “strengths.” We all have unique strengths or a unique set of strengths. We’re often told or we often think that we have to focus on our weaknesses and build them up, but what we may be better off doing is focusing on our strengths and harnessing our strengths, and really playing to our strengths. As opposed to hiding them or feeling embarrassed of them, and things like that. And if we can really understand what strengths we were born with and God gifted, and growing those, then maybe we become happier with who we are and try to escape ourselves less.

Shawn: Man that’s really good, Tim. That reminds me of this book, StrengthsFinder 2.0. And they talk about that in the intro before you discover your strengths and how to focus in on them, is that Rudy may make a great story, but when you take someone who’s not very gifted at something and I think it’s like talent zero to 10, and then drive zero to 10, essentially. I don’t know the two words it uses. It’s been a while since I read it. But essentially, that’s what it is. And like someone like Rudy is like 1 for talent in football, but a 10 for drive and hard work, or whatever you call it. But where your time is best spent is where you’re a 10 in talent and you match that talent with drive, passion, and energy.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: And if you don’t want to be unhappy with life, that’s where you should focus, and that’s where you’re most effective, and that’s where no one can keep up with you. Because you multiply through, right?

Tim: Right.

Shawn: So, the 10 times 10 is 100, so you’re maxing out who you are and therefore you’re maxing out your happiness, and no one can touch you.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: If you focus on your strengths and put all your energy there, then you’re going to be a rock star — and not unhappy with life.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: If you try and put your energy into places that you’re not that great—and I’m not talking about some ways you can get great because you already know it’s an area of strength for you, but it just takes the learning curve to master some things. I mean, that’s acceptable. That makes sense. Like if you show that you have true football talent, let’s go back to that, but you’re not a pro football player right now. I mean, that’s because you lack the experience and knowledge, the work you have to put in. But you have the 10 for potential. So absolutely something to think about on that one. Do you have any more?

Tim: No, no. I thought that was awesome that way that you talked about the strengths and talents.

Shawn: Yeah, and that’s a cool book, too. Something to check out, StrengthsFinder 2.0. That’ll be in the show notes. Number nine reason you’re unhappy with life, More and more confidence. “Confidence is that inner inertia that propels us to bypass our empty fears and self-doubts. On the road of life, we come to realize that we rarely have confidence when we begin anew. But as we move forward and tap into our inner and outer resources, our confidence gradually builds.”

Tim: This is something that we’ve talked about before is the idea of the obstacle is way.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: That’s where you build the confidence. And sometimes you have to take that step. Now, at points it’s helpful to have some external confidence in you, like someone to tell you, “Hey you got this. You did a great job.” This is where those mentors come into play. Or maybe you just need a little bit of something to say, “Hey, you can do this. You’ve done this before.” But confidence only builds with that experience, right? And so it’s a chicken or the egg kind of thing, to some degree. But really, over time, as you have more experience, as you delve into these things, you actually get more confidence. And to some degree, you start to feel that and you start to know that, and you seek more of it.

Shawn: Yeah, it’s so true. And like this line here. I really like this, “So stop believing that you should feel more confident before you take the next step, and remind yourself that taking the next step is what builds your confidence.” Just start. Just like don’t cripple yourself and leave yourself paralyzed with indecision.

Tim: I was talking to Andrew about this a little bit earlier today, and going to kind of bring it back to exercise, just because I think it’s a relevant thing.

Shawn: Yeah.

Tim: And we talked about before, having the clothes ready and things like that. Well, sometimes it’s just a matter of just saying, “Okay, I don’t really want to exercise. I’m just going to put my shoes on. I’m just going to lace them up, and I’ll see how I feel after that. Okay, I’m all right. I’m just going to take the step out the door.” Just take that next step. Or maybe it’s just like, “Okay, I’m just going to do two minutes and see how I feel,” and then you get to two minutes and you’re like, “Well I can’t stop now. I gotta do a couple more minutes.” And then you get there and all of a sudden it’s 10 minutes. So just getting started, just getting that inertia going, and you starts realize it’s not as bad as I thought. It actually feels pretty good.

And it’s the same thing with a writing assignment. Like overwhelmed by and I don’t have the confidence to know where to begin. Just start. You don’t have to start with the way that the final product is going to be. Just start right in the middle. Whatever you’re thinking about, just start writing some notes, start writing an outline. And then you can put all those thoughts together later, but just get started and get things going.

Shawn: Get moving, man. Yeah, I love that. So, reason 10 you’re unhappy with life. This is the end of the list of reasons you’re unhappy with life. More and more stuff. “Too many people buy physical possessions they don’t need with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know. Don’t be one of them. Fill in your life with lots of quality experiences and insights, not lots of things that distract you from what’s important. Have incredible stories and lessons to share, not incredible clutter in your closets.”

Man, this is too true. I think it’s a product of today’s society, where we just are surrounded by stuff, and the packaging for that stuff. And we focus in on stuff and we think that happiness comes from stuff. And then we’re surrounded by stuff.

Tim: [ghoulish voice] Stuff.

Shawn: And literally, it can feel overwhelming. I know I feel this way from seeing clutter. Just if you walk in your house and there’s stuff everywhere, it just, I don’t know, there’s a weighted feeling about stuff, for me. And I love like just clean and empty. When I go into a hotel room, I get like a sense of peace from that. And just stuff, I think there’s responsibility for the stuff. What if it breaks? What if it falls? What if someone takes it? Is that the right stuff? Someone else has the new version of that stuff. I want the new version of that stuff. You know, you just get caught up in all this stuff.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: And it costs money, and you think that’s where happiness is going to be, and it never is. Even when you get that brand-new iPhone, it’s like someone else has a better one or there’s a different version from a different brand that does—I don’t know—something with the screen that’s cooler than yours. And you get caught up in stuff and that phone is about making phone calls and maybe doing some apps or something, if you need it. Don’t get like overly-focused on stuff or that car that you think your neighbor has. It’s so cool or whatever. All that, it really is stuff.

You need to get back to relationships and lessons, and stories, and experiences, and that’s where life is. It’s never in the stuff. There’s someone that’s trying to sell you something and that’s why you’re buying the stuff, because you noticed the ad for that car. There’s some guy with a huge smile on his face while he’s driving that car. And then in that makeup ad, there’s a woman that just seems so happy and satisfied, almost smug, and she’s wearing that makeup or that dress, or whatever it is.

Capitalism is driven off of the dream of happiness when you buy this stuff. And it so rarely happens.

Tim: Yeah, I mean we talked about this before, happiness is success, and success is not what you have but what you do, right? And so you start to learn that, like you start to buy all this stuff up. That’s not fulfilling the role of happiness, and we know that. But we see other people have all this stuff and things like that. We think that’s what we need to stop being unhappy with life.

But another thought that came to my mind, too, is that there’s very acute short-term sense of, I wouldn’t call it happiness, but rush of feelings of well-being that some people experience when they buy new things. And that dopamine type of rush can be achieved through other things, like having a conversation with someone. It might feel like happiness; it might feel like we need more of that so we’re not unhappy with life.

Shawn: Right.

Tim: Going outside and spending time in the sunshine, exercising, and things like that. So, in some way, maybe there’s a physiological gap that’s trying to be filled by buying stuff that you can fill other ways. And I think—sorry, go ahead.

Shawn:  No, I was just thinking that I would dare say, when you have too much stuff, which we dream of and we wish we were like super rich and we could just have all the stuff in the world: boats and mansions, and certain clothes, and shoes, and all the stuff, furniture in your house, TVs, and whatever, all this stuff, right? But if that was true, then people that had tons of stuff would be the most happy, and they’re not. They’re often unhappy with life too!

Tim: Right.

Shawn: It’s the people that don’t need stuff that are happy.

Tim: Right.

Shawn: Some of these kids in Africa that let’s say are in a good environment, like well-fed, but they’re in a tribal environment. They live in a very simple way and they’re extremely happy for it. Or the Buddhist monk or what have you. And then there’s people that are just inundated with stuff, that are chasing stuff, have stuff, and they’re miserable, they’re unhappy with life, they’re suicidal. They’re chained down to stuff. They feel like their stuff is never good enough. They want more stuff. They bought the wrong stuff.

Tim: Yeah.

Shawn: And so I would dare say that people that don’t need the stuff, that don’t focus on stuff, are the happiest. And the people that need the most stuff, have the most stuff, get caught up. And the most number of stuffs are the ones who are unhappy with life.

Tim: Yeah. Because you’ve constantly looked toward that external source of what you think is happy. And you’d ultimately become desensitized to this stuff. There’s just not enough stuff, right?

Shawn: That’s true.

Tim: It’s like, this is an odd way to say it, but it’s like insulin-resistant almost. You’re just resistant to the feelings of goodness that could come from having the stuff, so you need more and more, and more, and more to get the same feeling or the same hit of happiness that you used to get from it, and it’s never fulfilling you. And you mentioned minimalist.

Shawn: Yeah, yeah.

Tim: There’s a quote here from Joshua Becker, whose website is BecomingMinimalist.com, and we’ve talked about him before. And it says, “Our excessive physical possessions are not making us happy. Even worse, they are taking us away from things that do. Once we let go of the things that don’t matter, we are free to pursue all the things that really do matter.” And I think that’s a pretty profound way to kind of wrap that up.

Shawn: Right. Stuff chains you down; stuff cannot rescue you from being unhappy with life. You don’t have the freedom when you’re caught up and stuff. Yeah, that’s great. Love that.

So, hey, thank you for listening to this list of 10 reasons people are unhappy with life from the great article 10 Things Too Many Unhappy People Want More Than Happiness. Again, profound thought that often, quite often, we choose something other than happiness. And it’s a powerful thing to think about why we do that as humans. So, this is a pretty profound list. It kind of digging in. We’ll have the links for it and everything we mentioned, books and quotes, in the show notes on BioTrustRadio.com. You can also check BioTrust/VIP for our Facebook group. Really awesome community that you can interact with. And you can listen to us on Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, and now Spotify. So we really appreciate you guys listening and we’ll talk to you soon.

Tim: Thanks gang.

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