Do you ever find yourself doing things you don’t want to do? Do you ever find yourself
doing a favor for someone that you’d rather not? In a relationship that you don’t really want to be in? Going to a job you don’t want to be at?
In short, you’re doing stuff that decreases your overall happiness.
- You want to ride your bike but instead you pick your friend up from the airport
- You want to be with someone who isn’t crazy, but you instead you stay with your crazy partner
- You want to enjoy what you do everyday, but instead you file into your office cubicle and count the minutes till the day ends
When you start making choices in life that don’t increase your overall happiness levels, you are telling yourself “I’m doing something that doesn’t meet my own desires. I must not care about myself very much because I keep ignoring what will make me happy.”
In essence, you are being self-loathing. It’s a recipe for unhappiness.
So why do we do things we don’t want to do??
I’m glad you asked! As we’ve discussed many times, the brain isn’t a perfect problem-solver. Its hardware is old and outdated; we’ve had no genetic update since the formation of cities, electricity, contraception, high school, the green revolution, etc. It’s prone to many errors.
As such, there are two primary reasons people tend to do things they don’t really “want” to do:
- They’ve lost track of their overall goal
- They don’t care about their overall goal
No. 2 is really just another way of saying “they don’t want to be happy.” And let’s face it, if you don’t care about yourself enough to do stuff that makes you happy, there’s nothing anyone else can say or do that will change that. That’s your choice. For everyone else, here’s how to keep track of your overall goals.
Learn to remember WHY you are doing something
The moment you get that feeling of ambivalence rushing over you, the moment you start to question your actions or feel like you don’t entirely want to do something…
STOP! And Examine your Net Happiness Points.
That’s the moment you need to start training yourself to ask the question: Is this what I want to being doing?? What will really make me happy here? In other words, your reminder bracelet shouldn’t say WWJD, it should say WWID: What Would I Do?
(By the way, this is why it’s so important to know yourself and be honest with yourself. How can you answer these questions if you aren’t in touch with your own desires?)
This self-reflection is not only something you need to learn to do before you make a choice, it’s something you need to do during your choices. After all, if you’re doing something you don’t want to do, either:
- You miscalculated what would make you happier in the first place
- What would make you happier has changed
In the following posts, we’ll look at three different scenarios where this can happen, why, and how without realizing it, you end up doing something that you don’t want to.