happy life

Are You Sabotaging Your Happiness? Let’s Fix That With 7 Easy Steps

Are you one of those people who like to complain all the time? Are you never satisfied, no matter what you do or how things change for the better? Can you always find a negative aspect of every situation you are in?

Did you know that your negative outlook can affect your productivity? You will start to focus more and more on complaining, instead of finishing your work. You may even try to recruit your colleagues or loved ones to your campaign of complaining.

Finally, you may even go as far as refusing to do your work. You start to procrastinate, because you are not happy with what you are doing. This negativity is killing your work performance.

Two essential things we forget

Complaining about and undervaluing our current situation seems to be a common trend nowadays. You can see this happening in the local supermarket, at the water-cooler in the office or even at home.

What is even worse is that we feel the cause for our complaints are never our fault – it’s always someone else’s. It’s very common to blame politicians, your neighbours or even your family members for why things are so lousy.

But do you know what is really causing all this? It’s the fact that we have forgotten two very important things and we are avoiding the responsibility that comes along with them!

First of all, nowadays we have an overwhelming opportunity to own more than we need. Advertisers will always try to hook us on to something new and exciting. And we usually take the bait again and again, even if we don’t need the stuff.

Second, where we are right now and what we have experienced so far is a result of the choices we as individuals have made in the past. It’s our job to take the responsibility of those past actions and become aware of why we are in our current situations.

Life ring in the sea of stimulus

So, here you are with your latest gadgets and trendy clothes, yet you feel like complaining.

Do you know why?

Because you don’t feel grateful for what you have or what you have experienced in life. It’s this lack of gratitude that causes you to complain and see only the negative side of every situation.

This lack of gratitude is also causing you to be unhappy. And just think about this a bit – when do you really perform at your best? When you are unhappy? Or perhaps, when you are happy?

Yes, you got it right: Gratitude + Happiness = Productivity.

Once you learn to appreciate the present and see potential for beauty in everything, you will start to feel that everything is worthwhile after all.

Don’t feel like complaining anymore? Awesome!

Do you value the present?

So how do you move from being an unproductive complainer to a happy producer?

First, you should stop for a moment and figure out whether things are really that bad. Do you find it difficult to value what you already have?

If you are a healthy person, for example, you have more than what some people will ever have. There are many people out there who would pay a lot of money to be healthy and to live a normal life instead of living in a hospital or eating pills every day.

Most of the time your situation is actually pretty good! You just have to be more aware of this. In fact, you should start to value and appreciate everything you have in life, like sunshine, a cup of coffee in the morning or the sound of children’s laughter.

Then, take responsibility for your current situation. You are where you are right now is because of your past actions and the decisions you have made.

I tend to believe that life has a plan and everything happens for a reason. So if you want to change the course of your life (you don’t like your job for example) then it’s your responsibility to take action accordingly and make the change happen.

Everything is perfect right here, right now

To get even more value out of life and shut down the complainer in you, do the following:

1. Stop for a moment. Ask yourself: “Are things really that bad or am I just complaining for nothing?” For example, you could take a walk in nature to think this through. Come up with all the good things you have in your life.

2. List all the great things in your life (whether they are small or big things). Make a list of all the great things that you have in your life and put that list on your work room wall or the refrigerator door.

You can always have a private list in Google Docs or EverNote if you don’t want to show it to anyone else.

Once you start a list of good things about your life, you will start to understand and appreciate of all the great things you have going for you.

3. Start writing a gratitude journal. This keeps you constantly reminded of those things that you feel grateful for. You could even write your journal before going to bed, so that you feel good when you fall asleep.

4. Take responsibility for your current situation. Figure out a way to change the part of your life that you are not comfortable with. Blaming others is not going to solve your problems.

5. Change your perspective. I have noticed many times that something which may seem negative on the outside has a positive side as well. It’s all about changing the perspective to see both sides of the coin.

6. Have a gratitude ritual. Do things that make you happy. For me, this includes grabbing a cup of coffee on my way into the office and sitting for a moment in our floor’s cafeteria. This cafeteria has a nice view over a busy street and I can watch the buzz on the street while I enjoy my coffee.

7. Say “thank you”. It is important to say “thank you”, whether you say this to your closest friends or to yourself.

I say “thank you” to myself because I have a two working hands and a sharp mind to write this story with. Or I say “thank you” because I can have a cup of coffee and a quick break after I finish this post.

Do these steps and feel grateful – when you feel grateful you are happy and more productive in your everyday actions.


Once you view things in your life in a more optimistic and positive fashion, facing the everyday challenges is easier. The best way to do this is to feel more gratitude in what you already have.

We like to complain about our everyday events and situations too often, but this is counter-productive.

With more gratitude in your life, you will look at the world through different eyes. You will see more positives in your daily life.


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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