The doctor David Niven, a professor at the University of Ohio, set out a few years ago to find out, through researching a few thousand psychological and sociological studies, what are the keys that guarantee a successful life. The effort has had the expected objective (both for readers and for their pockets) and, today, it is one of the most important disseminators in the United States thanks to works such as The 100 secrets of successful people O The 100 secrets of good relationships, a kind of masticadita synthesis of the conclusions of other previous studies.
As he himself explains in the introduction to the first, in these volumes, “all studies on happiness have been reduced to the essential and expressed in a way that everyone can understand.” Even so, his books are still useful in identifying what can contribute to our personal growth. Here we present some of the most original collected in The 100 secrets of successful people, 10 little pills that can help change our behavior in the right direction.
You can’t always win
Modern society in general and the work environment in particular have led to an ultra-competitiveness that forces us to always try to be above the rest (and, if not, we have failed). Niven reminds us that we must also learn to lose, and above all, to move on after a defeat. Everyone loses battles, the important thing is not to lose the war.
If you are not sure what is going to happen, be positive
There is nothing more harmful than the uncertainty so typical of our days, since it leads us to mental states in which we begin to imagine only the possible negative consequences of our actions. Most of them will never happen, but even so, we think they are highly plausible. We do not know what the future will hold, so the only thing we can do is try to change what is in our power and for this we will need some positivity.
Don’t just trust yourself
Confidence is essential to get ahead, but an excess of it can only lead to disaster. We cannot know everything, and for that reason, it is necessary to allow ourselves to be advised or protected to achieve our objectives more easily. Only in this way can we avoid the obstacles that are hidden behind each corner and that we may not be able to discover on our own.
Change your goals
There is nothing more damaging than setting goals that are impossible to achieve. It is important to be able to change direction at the right time and not become obsessed with what is unrealizable. It’s not about giving up, but about being a bit pragmatic. The vital priorities are not the same at 18 as at 40, so just as our lives change, so do our dreams (and this does not mean that we betray the adolescent we once were).
It doesn’t matter what happened, but what you think about it
Psychology often reminds us that the importance of things is not inherent in each event, but depends on the relevance we want to give it. It is a defense of subjectivity: what good or bad happens to us does not matter as much as the interpretation we give it. Has your wife left you and, therefore, you are going to be unhappy forever or is it just a way to encourage you to meet new people? Has the layoff ended your career or opened new doors for you?
Try not to think about what bothers you
The vicious circles of negative thinking have no end and with each turn they get worse. If something or someone bothers us, we don’t like it or it hurts us, it is preferable to give it the right importance and ignore it, especially in our free time or when we behave with friends and family. The damage will be the same, but without the aggravation of gloating in hatred.
Be your own admirer
Is what you seem to have thought Matthew McConaugey, who in the delivery of the Oscars dedicated his award to his own self in 10 years, since, as he explained, it is the model that inspires him to continue forward. Without reaching the extremes of the protagonist of True Detective, we have to maintain a certain self-esteem in the face of the ups and downs of life. If we don’t even believe in ourselves, there will be no one who can put their trust in us.
How we see the world is more important than what it really is like
Many realists will sound like a defense of escapism or self-deception, but, like what happened with the importance of our vision of the world, we must avoid accepting what others have to say about us and look for personally what matters to us and therefore what we must fight for. In Niven’s words, “Scientists, philosophers and kings could lead an endless debate on this question, but there is no real classification for the world beyond the one you assign to it.”
You are a person, not a stereotype
We think that adapting to a certain image will make us more desirable in front of others. However, as Niven recalls, “people are happiest when they allow their true selves to come to light, not when they settle for popular images.” In many cases, this simulation is caused by the need to interact with the opposite sex, which is also wrong: “Men who think they should act tough and women who think they should be soft are caged in a set of expectations that don’t they have nothing to do with who they really are.
Spend a quarter of an hour a day planning
We wake up hastily to the sound of the alarm clock and, 17 hours later, we get into bed with our heads like a hype, saturated with experiences and information. However, we have not spent a second throughout the day putting our lives in perspective: have we done something that means a lot to us? Are we closer to our goal? Have we broken our principles? Spending ten or fifteen minutes a day reviewing our behavior is vital for the changes we propose to really work.