Top Ten Happiness Robbers
Bill Cottringer

“You can never make another person happy, only unhappy. ~The author.

Are you happy enough with your happiness bank account balance? Knowing that a happiness bank account balance can never be high enough, here are a few bank robbers you will want to avoid at all costs:

1. Beliefs. Wrong, irrational or selfish beliefs are perpetual robbers of the happiness bank. You often aren’t even aware of what “wrong” beliefs you have that may be withdrawing happiness from your account when you think they are making deposits. One very basic belief to get correct is the choices you have in eliminating sources of unhappiness and increasing the happiness sources. The other correct belief to have is your belief in your own power to do these things by taking positive actions to get the realities you want.

2. Time. Not having enough time to do what you need to do can really drain your happiness bank. Good time management involves three main thinking tricks: (a) viewing time as more fluid and psychological than consistently mechanical (b) having a positive attitude towards the time you do have (c) setting and keeping the priorities that contribute most to your main purpose in what you are trying to do. When you avoid typical time-wasters (clutter, mistake repair, other people’s emergencies) and practice these three thinking tricks above, then impatience—the biggest robber of all—starts to fade.

3. Perceptions. It is probably safe to say that most perceptions you have of others and that others have of you are incorrect, or at the least incomplete. Not taking the time or not making the assertive effort to correct mistaken perceptions adds to unhappiness because of the wrong things you feed yourself about situations involving people. Negative self-talk about yourself and others, when it is usually wrong, leads to unnecessary unhappiness.

4. Thoughts. Thinking itself isn’t the robber, but rather under-thinking or over-thinking what you are doing. Under-thinking usually results in missing important details and making mistakes, while over-thinking adds unnecessary, irrelevant details and wastes valuable acting time. Get what information that is available within a reasonable amount of time and then make your best choice to act in the easiest way that will get the best results and have the least negative side effects. And remember, things are rarely quite as simple as we would like or quite as comlicated as we imagine.

5. Feelings. Again, it is not necessarily feelings that are the robbers, but not understanding what purpose feelings serve and what they mean in the pursuit of happiness. Simply put, good, positive feelings serve the main purpose of encouragement in letting you know you are on the right path, while bad, negative feelings are a kind reminder that you may want to re-evaluate your approach to what you are trying to do.

6. Problems. Yes in deed, problems are an inevitable part of life and an attitude of accepting that reality is the best happiness anti-robbery protection plan there is. The right attitude to have about problems are that they are valuable opportunities to learn important things that can help you solve the next really big one that will surely be coming your way, especially if you have learned to deal with it already.

7. Human Nature. We are all full of pride, ego, rebelliousness, talk and other character flaws by nature, but that doesn’t mean they have to hold us hostage causing much unnecessary unhappiness in the process. The key is not to try and get rid of these things altogether, because that is impossible. What makes sense is to strive for a reasonably healthy balance between the extremes ego and humility, self and others, rebelliousness and obedience and talking and listening.

8. Purpose. Not knowing your purpose in life or in anything you are trying to do, or having the “wrong” purpose can rob you of much happiness. For instance, losing weight or quitting smoking to be more appealing to someone else will probably just lead to disappointment and serious unhappiness.

9. Adversity. Adversity is an accumulation of problems leading you into a dark tunnel, sometimes undeserved. You can only get through the adversity tunnel with a huge debt of unhappiness by caving in, or a bigger bank balance of happiness from persevering and weathering the storm with a good character that shines its light for others to admire.

10. Vicious Circles. There is both a gift and curse nature to human self-consciousness. The gift nature is that by thinking about yourself and what you are doing, you can correct things like perceptions when they are wrong, and avoid the happiness robber. Of course the curse nature is that you can easily get caught up in vicious circles like worrying about angst, being unhappy about being unhappy, and getting distressed about stress.

Take a quick inventory of your happiness bank balance and see what robbers are making unnoticed withdrawals behind your back.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA., along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including his latest book “Reality Repair” coming shortly from Global Vision Press. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or