10 Ways You’re Making Your Life Harder Than It Has To Be

BY: Tim Hoch

Original Post

1.You ascribe intent.

Another driver cut you off. Your friend never texted you back. Your co-worker went to lunch without you. Everyone can find a reason to be offended on a steady basis. So what caused you to be offended? You assigned bad intent to these otherwise innocuous actions. You took it as a personal affront, a slap in the face.

Happy people do not do this. They don’t take things personally. They don’t ascribe intent to the unintentional actions of others.

2. You’re the star of your own movie.

It is little wonder that you believe the world revolves around you. After all, you have been at the very center of every experience you have ever had.

You are the star of your own movie. You wrote the script. You know how you want it to unfold. You even know how you want it to end.

Unfortunately you forgot to give your script to anyone else. As a result, people are unaware of the role they are supposed to play. Then, when they screw up their lines, or fail to fall in love with you or don’t give you a promotion, your movie is ruined.

Lose your script. Let someone else star once in awhile. Welcome new characters. Embrace plot twists.

3. You fast forward to apocalypse.

I have a bad habit of fast forwarding everything to its worst possible outcome and being pleasantly surprised when the result is marginally better than utter disaster or jail time. My mind unnecessarily wrestles with events that aren’t even remotely likely. My sore throat is cancer. My lost driver’s license fell into the hands of an al-Qaeda operative who will wipe out my savings account.

Negativity only breeds more negativity. It is a happiness riptide. It will carry you away from shore and if you don’t swim away from it, will pull you under.

4. You have unrealistic and/or uncommunicated expectations.

Among their many shortcomings of your family and friends is the harsh reality that they cannot read your mind or anticipate your whims.

Did your boyfriend forget the six and a half month anniversary of your first movie date? Did your girlfriend refuse to call at an appointed hour? Did your friend fail to fawn over your tribal tattoo?

Unmet expectations will be at the root of most of your unhappiness in life. Minimize your expectations, maximize your joy.

5. You are waiting for a sign.

I have a friend who won’t make a decision without receiving a “sign.” I suppose she is waiting on a trumpeted announcement from God. She is constantly paralyzed by a divinity that is either heavily obscured or frustratingly tardy. I’m not disavowing that fate or a higher power plays a role in our lives. I’m just saying that it is better to help shape fate than be governed by it.

6. You don’t take risks.

Two words: Live boldly. Every single time you are offered a choice that involves greater risk, take it. You will lose on many of them but when you add them up at the end of your life you’ll be glad you did.

7. You constantly compare your life to others.

A few years ago I was invited to a nice party at a big warehouse downtown. I was enjoying the smooth jazz, box wine and crustless sandwiches. What more could a guy want? Later in the evening I noticed a steady parade of well-heeled people slide past and disappear into another room. I peeked and saw a large party with beautiful revelers dancing and carrying on like Bacchus. Suddenly my gig wasn’t as fun as it had been all because it didn’t appear to measure up to the party next door- a party I didn’t even know existed until just moments before.

I do this frequently. Those people are having more fun. Mary has a bigger boat. Craig gets all the lucky breaks. Ted has more money. John is better looking.

Stop it.

Always remember what Teddy Roosevelt said: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

8. You let other people steal from you.

If you had a million dollars in cash under your mattress, you would check it regularly and take precautions to insure it is safe. The one possession you have that is more important than money is time. But you don’t do anything to protect it. In fact you willingly give it to thieves. Selfish people, egotistical people, negative people, people who won’t shut up. Treat your time like Fort Knox. Guard it closely and give it only to those who deserve and respect it.

9. You can’t/won’t let go.

These are getting a little harder aren’t they? That’s because sometimes you have to work at happiness. Some hurdles are too difficult to clear by simply adjusting your point of view or adopting a positive mindset.

Do you need to forgive someone? Do you need to turn your back on a failed relationship? Do you need to come to terms with the death of a loved one?

Life is full of loss. But, in a sense, real happiness would not be possible without it.  It helps us appreciate and savor the things that really matter. It helps us grow. It can help us help others grow.

Closure is a word for people who have never really suffered. There’s no such thing. Just try to “manage” your loss. Put it in perspective. You will always have some regret and doubt about your loss. You may always second guess yourself. If only you had said this, or tried that.

You’re not alone. Find someone who understands and talk to that person. Reach out for support. If all else fails, try #10 below.

10. You don’t give back.

One way to deal with loss is to immerse yourself in doing good. Volunteer. Get involved in life.

It doesn’t even have to be a big, structured thing. Say a kind word. Encourage someone. Pay a visit to someone who is alone. Get away from your self-absorption.

When it comes down to it, there are two types of people in this world. There are givers and there are takers. Givers are happy. Takers are miserable. What are you?

How to Answer the Questions You Always Get Asked When Meeting Someone | The Art of Manliness

partyAlmost every time you meet someone new, there are three questions you will probably have to answer during your conversation:

What’s your name?
What do you do?
Where are you from?
These three questions are so common, and you answer them so frequently, that it is very easy to get in the habit of answering them the same way, again and again, without thinking. You probably get bored with your own answers, so you don’t put energy and effort into offering them in an interesting way. “Hi, I’m Joe. I work in public relations for an energy company downtown, and I’m from the Midwest but moved here a couple years ago.” Zzzzz…

You might even feel like Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day – going through the exact same routine time in and time out. It may even contribute to why so many of us dread meeting new people.

via How to Answer the Questions You Always Get Asked When Meeting Someone | The Art of Manliness.

Conversational Narcissism: How to Avoid It | The Art of Manliness

convo2Last month I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in forever to have lunch. Having both read and written about how to be an effective and charismatic conversationalist, I followed the old dictum of listening more than talking and asking the other person engaging questions about themselves. This is supposed to charm your conversation partner. I guess it worked because my friend talked about himself for an hour straight and didn’t ask me a single question.

When we’ve talked about the ins and outs of making good conversation before, someone inevitably asks, “But what if both people keep trading questions back and forth?” Well, that’s a pretty good problem to have, but I’ve yet to see it happen. Instead, most folks seem to struggle with asking any questions at all and have a very difficult time relinquishing the floor.

via Conversational Narcissism: How to Avoid It | The Art of Manliness.

5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not

packs-163497_1280-1024x682Imagine that you are sitting on the front porch of your house sipping lemonade with your family on a warm summer’s night. You sit back and reminisce with them about how you… bought the newest HG TV?

Materialistic gratification only lasts so long. It is said that our brains adapt to  happiness. With materialistic things buying our happiness, we are successful for a brief moment. New things will lose their shine and we will lose our interest.

Instead of spending your money on things that will eventually be obsolete, try spending it on something that will make lasting memories. Memories become a part of our lives forever and help make us who we are. The good experiences will forever stay good in your mind forever and the bad ones turn into a funny anecdote in the future.

Below is a list of 5 things you should spend less money on and 5 things you should spend more money. Use these tips to save money so that you can spend it on experiences that will enrich the lives of you and those around you.

via 5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not.

How Delaying Intimacy Can Benefit Your Relationship | The Art of Manliness

waitjackWhen is the right time to start having sex in a relationship? Not until marriage? A couple months in? The “standard” three dates? Sometimes even on the first date?

There are as many opinions on this question as there are men in this world, and each will often vigorously defend his position. The guy who waited until marriage says he couldn’t be happier with his decision, while the guy who sees nothing wrong with sex on the first date contends that such behavior is entirely natural and without negative consequence.  And of course abstinence guy will never be able to step into the shoes of early-in-the-relationship guy, and vice versa. Which is why time and experience have shown that arguing about this decision – especially over the internet! – rarely, if ever, convinces someone to entirely change their position.

Thus what I hope to lay out in this article is not an iron-clad rule for when you should become intimate in a relationship. Instead what I aim to present today is a case for delaying intimacy in a relationship and taking it slower – leaving the interpretation of what “slower” means up to each individual man to filter through his own moral, religious, and philosophical beliefs.

Note: Before we begin, I should probably point out the somewhat obvious fact that this post is directed at those who desire a long-term relationship. While I don’t personally endorse the one-night stand, if that’s your modus operandi, then this article would not be relevant for your situation.

via How Delaying Intimacy Can Benefit Your Relationship | The Art of Manliness.

Resurrection of yourself

Over the past two weeks I have been listening to talks on CD’s on my ride in to work. I try to listen to Catholic radio on my ride, but the signal is so week in the morning that all I get is static mixed in with talk, so it’s kind of hard. So I started to listen to CD’s.

In truth it has been a very good experience, I am learning more about my faith daily, and that can’t be a bad thing. With Lent coming up, I have made a short list of what I plan of doing during this Lenten session. I would like to share this list with you, and who knows I may even be inspired to write about my experience, but if you’re lucky I won’t.



This Lent:

1.       Read/Learn more about my faith

2.       Attend the Stations of the Cross at my local Parish

3.       Go to confession

4.       Donate more to Boys Town

5.       Clean out my house, and donate all I do not need to St. Vincent DePaul

6.       Clean out my life and offer up all that I do not need to God

7.       Work out (I am just way to fat)

8.       Eat healthier (I love junk foods, and that’s why I’m way to fat)

That’s my short list, and with the Grace of God, I will be able to stick to it all.

Lent offers us all a time to examine our lives, a time to reflect on ourselves and God. (See my blog on reflection at www.youcanbenew.wordpress.com) Lent leads up to the holiest of holy days, Easter, the resurrection of our Lord, Jesus the Christ, It is a glorious day, a day of great joy, and lent, the 40 days (not including Sundays, Sundays are a free pass) leading up to Easter. Lent is our time to prepare to the celebration of the resurrection. Our “acts” during Lent, Prayer, Fasting and Alums Giving are meant to help us prepare for Easter. We should use them not a tick marks on our Lent list, but rather as guide lines on how we should live out our life, daily.

We should always pray, daily, not just during Lent, but we can use Lent as a time to help us deepen our prayer life. Use the time to attend special prayer opportunities at your parish, use the time to read spiritual books or to listen to talks about our faith.

Fridays is fish day during Lent, but in truth it is so much more than that. Fasting is not just about giving up something, it about offering up. We offer up our hunger or wants to Jesus, we go without, so we can suffer along with Jesus. This is not just a Lent thing; we should always deny ourselves for the glory of God.

Alums for the poor, we know that we should give money and our used items to the poor, and we do, every Christmas time donations are up, and we all feel good about ourselves for doing our part. And that would be great, if we only had poor at Christmas time. We are called to be the light of Christ in this world, we are called to shine. We need to care for the poor daily, through prayer, fasting and Giving; Giving our time, money and talents.

Lent, a time to examine ourselves, a time to look deep within, use the 40 days to learn more, do more and give more. But don’t stop at the end of the 40, continue it on, allow this lent to lead you in to a resurrection of yourself.



I have been over in Germany and the UK for the past 2 weeks (well almost) and have not really taken the time to blog. But I have been reading my friends blog (www.timelytidbits.wordpress.com) when ever i can get to the Internet. As of late she has writ en some powerful blogs, blogs to make you think, that’s what I like to write. I don’t think I do that all to often, but when I do, I am very pleased.

The Internet is a wonderful thing, it allows basic people like me to present my views on the world, my faith and anything else to the whole world. Got to love that. But with the ability to do so also comes great responsibility. Yes I know that’s from Spider-man, but its true.

I have the ability to change outlooks, I have the ability to be uplifting or not, I have the responsibility to be truthful. So with bloging comes a responsibility, one that i hold high. Others do not, but I am proud to state that both Theresa (www.timelytidbits.wordpress.com) and I take that responsibility on and try to live up to it.

To me, often times i type drivel, nothing of much use to anyone but me, and sometimes its not even useful to me, but every now and than I fell I do type something of great importance, either on this site or my other blog site (www.youcanbenew.wordpress.com). When that happens I feel a warmth in my soul, knowing that I have used the web to make this a better world.

I just finished a great book “A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity” by Bill O’Riely from Fox News O’Riely Factor. This book was about his life, how he became who he is. Through out the book he talks about responsibility, to self, others, country and God. He uses his Catholic school education as the starting point of his morals, and he is not sorry for them. His point of view is, as I see it, Do what is right, and most of the time all will turn out okay, and when it turns out bad, fix it if you can, and move on…. I like that point of view, its the same one I hold. Stand strong for what is true and don’t let anyone tell you not to, stick up for yourself and defend others when they are wronged. To me Mr. O’Riely hit it dead on! So pick up this book and read it for yourself, it’s well written and true to Mr. O’Riely

He knows (Mr. O’Riely that is) that with his job comes great responsibility, that he has an obligation to others and himself to be the best person he can be, and that means treating others as they should be treated. We all can learn for his book, I have found it to be a great “self help” book. Mr. O’Riely would hate me calling it that, but to me it is.

So stand tall, take your world by the nose and hold on to it, fight for what is right (and don’t let anyone tell you that there can be more than one right, right is right, wrong is wrong, end of story!) and try to make this a better world for all.

Theresa and I are both trying to just that, each in our own way, often times we do not agree, but that’s OK, we don’t have to, she can go on being wrong and I can go on being right (just a joke, sort of), in the end we both will know that we stood tall and strong for what we truly feel to be right. At times we are pig-headed and do not hear what each other are saying, and at other times we are not so, and allow the other to control, but in the end we both have grown because we both put ourselves out there, displaying our inner self for all to read, and I can say that both of us are truly proud to do so. You have allowed us to ramble on and given us a home to voice our concerns, to display our views and reach out to others. You have allowed us to build a home where all our truly welcomed, how grand it is!

All may not agree with what I right, but all are welcomed to leave comments, and I do not remove them unless they are spam or use words that should not be used, or read by the young, once again i have a responsibility…

So leave your thoughts behind for all to read, inspire greatness in all, or reject what i have to say, either way your comments add to the conversation, and that truly is a blessing.