The content below was recovered from archive.org
I discovered the amazing increasehappiness.com website in April 2010. When I went
back to read it again, I found it was gone and the domain was for sale. So, I
purchased it and recreated this website to help others. If you have questions or
feedback please email travis at increasehappiness dot com.
4. Admit Failure
Your goal is to Increase Happiness. You have learned how to Affirm Daily to develop new
Desires to Increase your Happiness. But what if you don’t?
What do you do when you somehow develop Desires that make your life miserable? Common
sense dictates you would get rid of those Desires, but often that’s not what happens.
Consider people addicted to smoking cigarettes. All of them could quit smoking. Virtually
everyone who does so is glad to break the habit. Most people, including smokers, know all this.
So why do they continue smoking? Every smoker has three habits to break:
- The nicotine habit.
- The physical and social rituals of smoking.
- The idea of smoking.
Nicotine can be chemically substituted. The rituals can also be replaced. But the biggest
challenge is to replace the smoking idea.
Once an idea becomes a Desire, Mental Survival wants it to Survive. To kill your Desires is to
kill part of yourself – a form of mental suicide.
A Desire for a Weak Choice creates an inner conflict. Part of you wants to keep the Weak
Choice for Mental Survival. Another part of you wants to destroy the Desire so you can Increase
How do most people resolve the conflict? They cheat. Mental Survival invents EXCUSES,
which are rationalizations to prevent them from changing their Desires.
An Excuse allows you to keep making Weak Choices and deceive yourself that your Happiness
won’t suffer. Most Excuses contain a seed of truth. But to believe an Excuse, you must give the
truth far more weight than it deserves.
Consider the following Excuses for the Weak Choice of smoking:
- Denial. There is no absolute proof that smoking causes health problems.
- Exception. Some people smoke their entire lives and never have a problem.
- Legitimate. Many people smoke. It’s a legal product.
- Invincible. Even if smoking causes problems, it won’t happen to me. I’m special.
- Delay. Even if smoking causes problems for me, it won’t happen for a long time, and
I’ll worry about the future when it comes.
- Attack. People who want me to quit smoking are idiots. Only those with no flaws should throw the first stone.
- Victim. It’s not my fault. I have an addictive personality.
- Conformity. All my friends smoke.
- Minimize. I don’t smoke much. I can always quit later.
- Gusto. I want to live life to the fullest.
- Timing. I’ll quit as soon as (something else) happens.
- Insignificance. It doesn’t matter if I smoke because I’m just a tiny dust speck living
on a tiny dust speck in a dust speck of a galaxy.
- Identity. Smokers are underdogs, and I like being part of that group. I like being an outcast.
- Sour Grapes. If I was a non-smoker, I’d be irritable, and I’d put on weight.
- Sweet Lemons. Smoking is cool. It calms me down and keeps me skinny. I’m glad I smoke.
- Imperfection. Even if I quit smoking I’d still have (some other problem) so it doesn’t matter if I quit or not.
- Comparison. At least I’m not (something worse than a smoker).
- Imperious. I don’t make mistakes.
- Youth. I’ll smoke until I’m (some age) and then I’ll settle down.
- Luck. I’m lucky. Bad things don’t happen to me.
- Smart. I’m not going to become addicted like others. I’m too smart for that.
- Fate. I could be struck by lightning tomorrow. When it’s my time to go there is nothing I can do about it.
- Frailty. Even if smoking is a mistake, everyone makes mistakes.
- Popeye. I am what I am.
- Rebel. I won’t conform to what society demands.
- Two Evils. I’d rather die from cancer than (something worse).
- Surrender. I can’t help myself. I am addicted. I could try to quit, but would probably fail.
- Avoidance. I don’t want to know if I can quit. If I don’t try, I can’t fail.
- Compensation. I deserve to smoke because I suffer from (some problem.)
- Divine. If God didn’t want me to smoke he wouldn’t let me.
- The Devil you Know. At least I know what smoking can do to me. I could have lots of
other bad habits with unknown risks.
- All or Nothing. My doctor wants me to quit smoking, drinking and overeating. That’s
too many changes, so I won’t do any of them.
- Payback. (Someone else) doesn’t want me to smoke, so now I’m showing them.
- Two Wrongs. My spouse has (some bad habit) so I get to smoke.
- Stubborn. I don’t care what anyone says, no one will change my mind about smoking.
- Power. It’s my decision. I can do whatever I want.
- Entitlement. I am a good person. I deserve to do what I want.
- Shame. I am a bad person. I deserve to be punished by health problems.
On the day you are diagnosed with a smoking-related illness, every one of these Excuses will
People cling to their Excuses because they don’t want to believe they are making a mistake.
They don’t Admit Failure because it conflicts with their Mental Survival. They hold on to their
ideas, including the Weak ones, as if their lives depend on it.
Separate yourself from your ideas. If your idea fails, that does not make you a failure. You are
only a failure when you hold on to failed ideas.
To Admit Failure you must recognize Excuses. You might have difficulty recognizing Excuses
because to you they seem true. The best way to discover an Excuse is to realize that when you
are not achieving the Happiness you seek, an Excuse probably exists.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- What Choices could I be making to achieve the Happiness I desire?
- What are the reasons why I am not making those Choices?
- Which of those reasons are Excuses?
Once you identify an Excuse, you can write Affirmations to overcome it. The best way to
eliminate an Excuse is to replace it with a Strong Desire. For example, your desire for smoking
might be: "I enjoy saving the money that would be spent on cigarettes."
You should also develop the Desire to admit your mistakes. Words like this should flow freely:
- I could be wrong.
- I misspoke.
- I made a mistake.
Those phrases are liberating. You will feel better, knowing you have been candid and honest
with others. And the reactions you get might surprise you. Most people will not think you are
weak for admitting failure. They will more likely see your admission as a sign of strength.
To improve your interactions with others, you should AFFIRM RELATIONSHIPS
- Mental Survival creates Excuses to prevent you from changing your Desires.
- To avoid failure, you must Admit Failure.
- You should constantly seek out Excuses and Affirm to eliminate them.
- Enjoy admitting your mistakes.
I’ve always been told to "never give up." If I Admit Failure, doesn’t that mean I’m giving
There is a difference between giving up on Happiness and giving up on specific Choices. If
your current Choices will not lead you to Happiness, you should pursue other Choices. You must
relinquish your grip on failure before you can grasp success.