Are You Living Your Worst Life? - Common Sense Living Newsletter
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Are You Living Your Worst Life?

Aug 11, 2015


I'm trying to live my best possible life. But I avoid examining it closely. I know that when I scrutinize it with unvarnished candour, I will find hundreds of ways that I am sabotaging my own happiness. And there are so many ways to self-sabotage.

If your life looks anything like the one I describe below... then you are successfully living your worst life.

You wonder what they will say

Before you do anything, you think ten times about 'what they will say'. What they will think. They being - anyone in authority, society in general, extended family... others. Older, more experienced people, naysayers, non-supporters, supporters too!

Every dream you have, someone will be there to tell you NOT to pursue it, that it's not worth it, that it will bring shame or failure. But you haven't promised anyone you would live a perfect life, have you? Do what you need to, and if they don't like it you can apologise later.

You don't read

You find yourself thinking sometimes - I don't know how, I don't think I can do it, I don't know what to do - all of these questions of confidence have one answer. Read. The answer does in fact lie in a book.

What am I doing?
Source: file404 / Shutterstock

Live by the book, they say, and I agree. That doesn't mean that you follow some rule that is listed in a book - but that you read the book to learn so you may define your own rules and live your best possible life.

Reading is like having the opportunity to talk to all the greatest minds that lived - open a book and learn from the best - if you don't, well, you're only learning from yourself. And no matter how brilliant you are - you are, after all, just one human.

You strive for perfection

You think aiming for perfection is a good thing. But it can be the worst thing. 

Marilyn Monroe apparently said, "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

If you are trying to be perfect you are dooming your own genius. Instead, aim to get things wrong, to embarrass yourself... strive not for perfection, but for failure.

Don't say, 'I won't do it because I'm not good at it'. Say, 'I might be awful at it but I'll do it anyways. If I fail, so be it.'

You assume you won't like it

When my niece makes a face every time she is asked to try a new vegetable she thinks she won't like, I sing her a song, 'Try it, you just might like it...'

I was traveling in Western Indonesia and found myself with a day off on a small island hoping to lie around on a beach. Except there was not much of a beach.

'What do people do around here?' I asked one of the islanders.

'We go scuba diving,' he said. 'We'll take you.'

Oh, but I don't dive. I decided to get off the island and go somewhere else when I thought of my song, 'Try it, you just might like it...'

So I did. And it turned out to be the best decision I had ever made.

So instead of assuming something is not, 'my kind of thing', give it a shot, you never know - it just might be.

You don't give back

Some people hold on very tightly to what they think is theirs - time, knowledge, money. But if you don't give you get very focused on yourself - and start obsessing over your worries and everything that's wrong. It's a good idea to shift focus off yourself every once in a while onto someone else - let someone else notice and appreciate you. Some research even shows that people who do volunteer have better self-esteem and a sense of empowerment, because they feel needed and appreciated, according to health expert Leanne Beattie.

You worry too much

We spend too much time regretting our past, and worrying about the future. Regret and worry diminish your energy and steal your life. Only one moment exists, and that is this one. Now. Abhi.

If you constantly worry about the millions of things that can go wrong, you will remain stuck in your past. You won't allow things to change. You dread change in fact. But by resisting change, you are also resisting growth.

To move on, assess your options, pick one, prepare for the consequences, have a plan B, cross your fingers and then follow through.

'You can't cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water,' as Tagore said. So quit worrying, and take a leap.

You feel unlucky

The forces are conspiring against you. Nothing is working out - things are going wrong - you're just unlucky. I once wrote an article about how hard work and perseverance is the road to success. One reader wrote back to tell me, 'Here in India, luck also counts for a lot. If you don't have luck you can never have success.'

Yes, there is such a thing as luck. But there is no such thing as lucky. Good things happen to people, and bad things happen to people. And it kind of averages out at the end ... luck is the great unifier. It evens us all out. No matter how big a lottery you win (thanks to good luck) you could still die the next day (thanks to bad luck).

Acknowledge that all is not within your control - it's not in anyone's control. The people who make it are those who keep on working to overcome obstacles rather than obsessing with the inevitability of luck. When they make it everyone else probably points at them and says - So lucky!

You want what he has

I like my hair. It hangs there on my head, is there for me when I need it, even looks nice sometimes. And yet when I see a shampoo ad with impossibly shiny, long, bouncy hair I can feel a slight tug within me - I wish...  You've probably felt that tug - you see a sporty red car, shiny new iPad, a friend's beautiful house, a more successful business...? We don't need these things to be happy... in fact having them would probably make no difference to our happiness. We would just be looking at something else and thinking 'now I want that...'

It might just be a manufacturing defect: no matter how happy and content we can be with our lives, we are simply wired to want what we don't have.

Which is why it is so important to figure out what we really want - what drives us, what we want from our lives, what brings contentment to our hearts.

And live that life. Live for those goals. No matter what anyone thinks, or says, or has - as long as your goals don't hurt anyone, they are nobody else's business. And as long as you remember to give back - you can be happy just chasing your goals.


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10 Responses to "Are You Living Your Worst Life?"


12 Aug, 2015

Really very good thought. actually our most of the sorrows comes due to known. thanks anisa for such a eye opening almost contrarian approach.


11 Aug, 2015

Do Agree with Live by the book:) Was flying Kenya to Luanda a day back and the inflight magazine had a quote from Angela's Ashes which read- Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace. Cheers.

Like (1)


11 Aug, 2015

Do Agree with Live by the book:) Was flying Kenya to Luanda a day back and the inflight magazine had a quote from Angela's Ashes which read- Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace. Cheers.

Manoharan Thottarath

11 Aug, 2015

This article brings up some finer points of life. There is no need for amassing wealth to remain happy. If one is contented with his life, that is really great. Let us live our lives to the fullest and without pretensions.


11 Aug, 2015

Your common sense living revealed about the reality of life. But human being's life is fully packed with only emotions. Mind is completely busy with all the deeds. Such a hopeful words need all the times, when we will be in dejected mood.

Surjeet Paul

11 Aug, 2015

Hi Anisa I am a regular reader of all the articles posted at CSL And all your articles are very nice & worth reading In todays article The quote of Marilyn Monroe is simply out of world. Its a new mindset. And I think we have a long way to go & keep learning from all your articles "Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring." Thank you for your efforts

Like (3)

Farhad Captain

11 Aug, 2015

Hi Anisa, This was a brilliant article, so true I feel it sums up my life at the moment. We all need a purpose for our life & it should be our endeavour to follow that. Thanks.


11 Aug, 2015

When ever I had to do something where I had a doubt whether the other person would be happy or not,I had to tell my self,OK I am happy to do it ,and so I did it.It has really made me happy.if we are sure we are not harming someone in a planned way,what prevents us from doing what makes us happy. I really enjoyed the article ,very clear thoughts.


11 Aug, 2015

It's generally the choice we make and the attitude we bring in making those choices. I blogged on the same topic in late June and it's in my Linkedin posts (unable to share the link as it's not allowed by Commonsenseliving) If you want to read my posts, please connect in my LinkedIn profile - srivatsabm BTW, I'm a avid reader of your views/articles. Your writings most of the times have shaped my further thinking and I took to blogging after I starting reading your thoughts.. Thanks for your writings.

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11 Aug, 2015

why is my life worst tell me

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