We all want to live a good life.
A big part of living a good life is learning to avoid self-inflicted misery.
Misery is defined as a cause or source of great distress or discomfort. Oddly enough, we make numerous choices in our lives that cause both short-term and long-term misery. In other words, we inflict misery upon ourselves. We can make living a good life a lot easier simply by avoiding things that cause future misery.
Below I’ve summarized 10 things that have or will cause future misery:
1. Alcohol – How many bad choices are made on a daily basis due to alcohol consumption? I’ve made numerous bad decisions in my life from binge drinking. At some point in my 30s, I finally learned that alcohol must be respected. It is extremely dangerous and can change our lives and the lives of our loved ones in seconds. As an example, 92% of domestic abuse assailants reported use of alcohol. Want to reduce your chance for domestic violence by 92%? Minimize alcohol consumption. Binge drinking is similar to playing Russian Roulette with a loaded pistol. You never know when the gun will go off.
2. Smoking – My mother died of lung cancer from smoking. I went to every chemotherapy appointment with her and got to see how much misery smoking can cause first hand. I can tell you it isn’t pretty. Imagine how it would feel to struggle for each and every breath? It is hard to see people smoke today knowing what the future might hold for them. I don’t believe they truly understand how challenging lung cancer can be. They don’t understand the future misery they set themselves up to receive.
3. Debt – In most cases, the things we borrow money for aren’t worth going into debt for. Debt is a noose around our necks and this noose can tighten quickly. Too much debt WILL cause misery at some point in the future. Trust me, I know first hand. 🙂
5. Partnerships – Throughout my journey, I have been in dozens of business and investment partnerships. Every single partnership, except one, went south and created a great deal of misery. In almost every single partnership, my partner(s) walked away from the partnership when the business or investment experienced challenges. They simply left the problem and resulting mess for me to clean up. Partnerships, at some point in the future, WILL cause misery. It’s guaranteed.
6. Greed – Money is far from the most important thing in life. However, we often make choices elevating the importance of money and these choices can cause a great deal of misery. We trade a significant portion of our lives away to collect a paycheck. Working for 50 to 60 hours a week at a job you hate is definitely a miserable situation.
7. Not Understanding Our Health Is Our Greatest Asset – In one of the chemotherapy appointments with my mother, I met another cancer patient. As we talked he said, “I would do anything to be healthy again for just one day.” The cancer treatments had numerous side effects for him and his quality of life had disappeared. This man would do anything to have what you and I have right now – our health. We definitely take our health for granted. We have got to make taking care of ourselves a priority. We’ve got to exercise and eat a healthy diet, or we WILL be challenged with various levels of health related misery in the future.
Just this week, I watched this video of a touching moment when an 87 year old mother with Alzheimer’s recognizes her daughter:
Think about how devastating Alzheimer’s can be? If a loved one has this disease, your relationship, as you know it to be, is over. You won’t be able to laugh over any shared memories. You won’t be able to have any heart-to-heart talks. You’ll be helpless and have to watch them struggle every day. If this isn’t bad enough, how would life be for us if we had Alzheimer’s or dementia? We would be trapped in hell every single day with no escape. We would be all alone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Research shows that we can minimize and possibly prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia through the foods we eat. Read “Grain Brain” by Dr. Perlmutter.
8. Not Taking Advantage of Compound Interest – If compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world like Albert Einstein said and we don’t take advantage of it, we are inflicting a great deal of future misery upon ourselves. Compound interest only works through time and it has the ability to make our futures a great deal better. If we don’t put it to work, we will have more misery in the future as we’ll struggle financially.
9. People – Unfortunately, the people in our lives can cause a great deal of misery. They can be downright miserable people, or their comments and actions can cause a significant amount of misery. In either case, it is often best to reduce the amount of time you spend with them. This is a great deal harder than it sounds, I know. However, to reduce our own future misery, it is the only choice we have because we can’t change other people no matter how hard we try.
10. Not Learning From Our Mistakes – Life will continue to deliver the same lessons to us over and over again until we finally learn the lesson being delivered. This article is actually a way for me to remember many of the mistakes I’ve made in my life and an effort not to repeat them. We throw a rock up in the air and it falls back down hitting us in the head. Soon after, we pick up the another rock and throw this second rock up into the air allowing it to come crashing back down into our heads again. Why do we continue to do this? When we begin to learn from our mistakes, life gets a little easier. When we don’t learn from our mistakes, life gets a little harder.
Throughout life we tend to search for the “magic pill” that will make our lives better. We want to lose weight effortlessly. We want to get rich quickly. We want to wave a magic wand and have better relationships with our family. Well, there are no “magic pills.”
Instead we have choices.
Choices that can help us live a good life, or a life of self inflicted misery.