How to be an Unhappy Failure

Happiness is elusive, but unhappiness is much easier. Here are all the ways I’ve found to be unhappy.

Poison the Soil

Neglect sleep. If you wake up to an alarm every day, then you’re on the right track. If you feel like a zombie in the morning, even better. This will make you irritable and give you a reason to drink coffee, which will stress you out.

Neglect diet. Eating certain foods will make you lethargic and give you brain fog. I’ve found sugar and carbs work best, but you’ll have to experiment to find what works for you.

Neglect exercise. The Power of Habit lists exercise as a keystone habit that, when adopted, consistently leads to other positive changes in peoples’ lives. Avoid it.

Neglect friendships. Humans are social creatures, and if you spend enough time by yourself you’ll be unhappy–guaranteed.

Drink lots of alcohol. I’ve found that even if everything else is going well, a few consecutive days of moderate alcohol consumption can tank my mood.

Avoid nature. Sometimes, a walk through nature can reset your mind and give you a sense of peace. Why risk it?

Set Yourself Up For Failure

Make goals either so far off that they feel unachievable or so close that they feel trivial and not worth doing. Try to make the goal outside of your control, so even if you do everything right you still might not accomplish it.

A related idea - don’t focus on small, incremental progress. If you don’t measure your progress you won’t get any positive reinforcement and will likely abandon your positive habits.

Attach your ego to everything you do. When you start doing something for the first time, you’ll suck. If you attach your ego to the activity you’ll be discouraged and won’t continue. This is an easy way to guarantee you won’t stick with things long enough to achieve mastery.

Only believe you can succeed at things similar to what you’ve already done. When you’re starting out you won’t have achieved much, so you won’t set your sights very high. You’ll be forced to aim low, so you can’t achieve much of consequence, reinforcing your low expectations. If you aim higher you might actually achieve something impressive, which might lead to more self-esteem. Can’t have that.

Avoid setting rules for yourself that will simplify your life. If you’re trying to lose weight, for example, avoid setting a rule like “no desserts,” or “no food after 6 pm.” Instead, treat each situation as totally independent. This will sap your willpower every time the situation arises and give you plenty of opportunities to make the wrong decision.

Rely on your memory to keep track of important things. Paper beats memory every time, so make sure to give your memory plenty of opportunities to fail you.

Momentum is one of the most powerful forces of change and progress, so make sure to “shake things up” often. If something is working for you, change it.

Everyone will know something you don’t and won’t know something you do. If you combine your viewpoint with theirs, you’ll likely get a truer picture of the world than when you started. To avoid that, either ignore their perspective completely or follow their dictates to the letter, ignoring the reasoning and nuance behind their perspective.

Avoid measuring things (like how you spend your time or money). If you don’t know where it’s going, then it’s impossible to make any substantial improvements.

Adopt a Negative Outlook

Focus on peoples’ negative attributes instead of their positive ones. Everyone will have negative traits, so you can find them in even the best people. Negative thoughts breed negative emotions and that’s what we’re going for.

Rely on others to be friendly (extra tip: wear a scowl). Most people will mirror your emotions. They’ll be friendly if you’re friendly, and unfriendly if you’re unfriendly. If you make no effort and prime the situation with a scowl, the world will seem an unfriendly place.

Set high expectations for others, but do not communicate those expectations. People are unlikely to see the world the way you do, and have the values you do, so even if they are exceptional people they are unlikely to behave the way you’d like. This way, others will consistently fail you.

When it comes to dating, sometimes others won’t reciprocate your interest. Maybe they’re taken, or not in a good place in their life, or you caught them at a bad time, or maybe you just aren’t their type. Forget all that. Treat them as if they are speaking for their entire gender, and treat their rejection as a verdict on your worth as a human being. Assume that all others will feel similarly, and don’t test that assumption under any circumstances.

Avoid authentic conversations. When you talk about things that matter (rather than the weather, politics, etc) you might form a genuine relationship with another human being. These are the sorts of things that make life worth living, and must be avoided at all costs.

Make a habit of comparing yourself to others. There will always be someone better than you at something you care about, so you’ll never be satisfied.

Fall into negative thought spirals. Worrying about something? Keep thinking about it for as long as possible. Return to the thought at every opportunity.

Small Mistakes Become Big Problems

Avoid everything that frightens you. The more you avoid it, the larger it will become. The larger it becomes, the harder it will be to fight, and the more you’ll be at the mercy of your fear.

Utilize push notifications. Give the outside world abundant opportunities to interrupt you. If you have an extended period of time to yourself, then you might accomplish something, which might lead to satisfaction and a feeling of progress. Don’t let that happen.

Embrace the shallow. Spend as much time as possible filling your time, rather than doing things you care about. Good options include: social media, video games, browsing the internet, YouTube, etc. You can spend years doing this. It will also erode your ability to focus, which will make it harder for you to get anything substantial done.

Buy the best. You’ll find that if you buy something because it serves a purpose, then you won’t feel a need to replace it. If instead you buy something because it’s the best option available (say the newest iPhone), then your satisfaction with the purchase will be robbed as soon as a new iPhone comes out. You’ll end up poorer and less satisfied this way.

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