4 Ways To Break Out Of The One Tricky Mindset That Keeps You Stuck

We can have all the things in the world we want but we still won't be happy until we do this.

Woman happy with nothing, woman having all the things but not happy Cast Of Thousands | Shutterstock, Aboodi Vesakaran | Unsplash

Many of my clients come to me believing they need something that can be quantified, like a certain number on their ATM receipt or to fit into a specific dress size.  

They soon realize that what they are missing is quality, not time or money. Quality, not quantity, is what makes us happy and fulfilled.

We live in a consumer-driven society and find it more difficult than our parents to achieve a balanced life. Why? We've adopted a quantitative perspective. To be truly happy, we need to shift back into a qualitative perspective — one where we focus on the quality of our lives.


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Here are 4 reasons we get stuck in this stagnant mindset.

1. It's what we're taught.

We are taught to need the newest electronic device and the season's most up-to-date fashions to fit in. In the past 25 years, we've given up keeping up with the Joneses and driven ourselves mad keeping up with the Kardashians.


In Julie Schor's book, The New Politics Of Consumption, she writes, "Within the middle class, and even the upper middle class, many families experience an almost threatening pressure to keep up, both for themselves and their children."

2. We block out our fears by doing.

Does a sponge soak up more water after it's saturated? If we pour more into our containers, we'll eventually reach our happiness quota, even though we can't absorb anything else. Perhaps we try to over-saturate so we can avoid our worst fears

If we slow the pour to a trickle, we might realize we're already happy sometimes. We're not meant to be happy all the time. But we can be happy frequently, we have to notice to slow down.



3. The illusion of scarcity.

If I were placed on an isolated island with enough water, food, lots of bug repellent, and a few good books, I could be entirely happy ... because happiness isn't bought. The more we have, the more we want, and the more time we work to get it is okay up to a point, but are we depressed because we don't have the latest smart TV?


Or is it because we haven't stopped to smell a flower? I used to work with people in underdeveloped countries, and most were happy. War breaks out, not because people lack smart TVs, but because people lack basics. 

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4. We get overwhelmed measuring everything.

We even use phrases such as "glass half empty," and "don't count your chickens before they hatch." We are given messages that somehow we are supposed to support our aging parents, send our children to the top 100 schools, and wait in anticipation of our annual raise and our annual bonus. It's not all possible.

Four simple ways to shift your life toward the 'qualitative' mindset & finally feel happiness

When we look at our lives from a broader perspective, we probably remember the moments we loved much more vividly than the days we spent balancing our budgets. It's up to decide how to use it.


Today, will you spend more time worrying about the deadline you might not meet, or would it be more beneficial to take a walk and enjoy the weather? The choice is yours.

1. Give yourself, not an object.

I try to spend time with my family and friends instead of giving them a souvenir of me. Our good deeds and daily love will be remembered more, and love is the only thing we can take with us.

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2. Say thank you.

You can say it to your partner, boss, pet, garden, or the universe, and you can say it to the person holding the door for you that you didn't even notice. Just say it often. Don't forget to thank the TV, film, and tech industry for giving you all these cool things to do.


3. Count your blessings.

What if we gave ourselves a breather and focused on what's around us? What if we got higher and saw the big picture, or lower, honing in on the minute detail of a dust particle? Did you call a friend?

On this side of 50, I find the worst I anticipated never materialized and things I never dreamed of doing. It's not what happens to us, but our perspective once it does.


4. Make time yours.

Happiness is not counted in minutes but measured in treasured moments. What if we did what we could and what we wanted? What if we made our lives memorable and precious? What would you do first? How would that change your life?

When googling "quality of life," most hits come up as health references. Ironically, we may not consider our quality of life until we face a health threat. All our staff will not keep our loved ones from leaving or our world from changing.

Yet, on the path to chronic activity, hoarding, or spending, we surround ourselves with new things to distract us from what we were sent here to do: Live. The secret to a quality life is to live it.

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Kathryn Brown Ramsperger wrote for National Geographic and Kiplinger before working as a humanitarian journalist in Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. She's also an intuitive creativity coach and creator of Step Into Your Story! (TM), as well as the award-winning author of two novels, including her latest, A Thousand Flying Things.