When I was a child, I felt miserable, painful, hated life, and thought that things would not improve: my childhood was traumatized and I was laughed at by other children for being "angry. I know that my remaining negativity, tension, and pain cannot sustain the rest of my life, so I am committed to change. After ten years of research, studying hundreds of books, recording thousands of pages, and testing countless strategies, I was able to reshape my life and become happier than ever.

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However, after listening to all this information, this is the biggest lesson I have learned during this journey: happiness is not just subtraction, but an addition.

Of course, it is easy to think of some life skills, breathing exercises, and will definitely change everything and make you feel satisfied. However, if you are not actively making yourself unhappy, then happiness in life is much easier. Therefore, rather than adding more things to life, it is more effective and practical to eliminate things that harm our happiness.

“It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.” — Bruce Lee

Although there are many things that can affect your happiness, here are the five simple things I have removed that have the greatest impact:

1.Remove Negative Information.

Whether coming from social circles or seeing things, many people are accustomed to negativity, stress, and depression. These are the two changes that removed my biggest offender:

I stopped watching and reading the news.

I do make exceptions for major events of serious impact, but I generally avoid all news. First, it’s a massive stressor. From a study by the American Psychological Association:

"The survey shows that more than half of Americans say the news makes them feel stressed, and many people feel anxious, tired, or insomnia as a result. However, one in ten adults check the news every hour, and 20% of Americans People report "constantly" monitoring their social media feeds-whether they like it or not, which often exposes them to the latest news headlines.

Using negative headlines after negative headlines will make you more worried, anxious, and sad. In addition, although news occasionally helps, it usually portrays negative, extreme, and prejudiced views, making violence, conflict, and conflict appear more than they actually are.

Using negative headlines after negative headlines will make you more worried, anxious, and sad. In addition, although news occasionally helps, it often portrays negative, extreme, and prejudiced views, thereby making violence, conflict, and conflict appear more than they actually are.

I remember when I was living in South Korea and there was a conflict with North Korea, my family would ask me if everything was okay. But in South Korea, people acted as if nothing happened-they were just living a normal life, while in the United States, everyone was panicked by the news.

This is another important reason: most news will not affect you at all. For example, hitting around in another town, drug busts, sex scandals, self-harming people, etc. Why waste it on negative things that you cannot control?

This has nothing to do with ignorance. Know that certain things have no effect on your mental health.

I significantly reduced social media usage.

The problem with social media is that people feel frustrated and dissatisfied with their lives. In a recent study, researchers in Canada and Australia pointed out:

The most important finding of the post-mortem analysis is that over time, the increase in social media and TV use is related to the decrease in self-esteem. Considering the upward social comparison, it may be that repeated exposure to idealized images on social media and TV will reduce self-esteem. However, according to our results, the augmentation spiral only applies to depressive symptoms, not self-esteem, which indicates the cognitive and emotional deterioration effects of social media.

Usually, on social media, people only share the best things that happen. As Dr. Meg Jay wrote in The Defining Decade, there is nothing wrong with it, but in contrast, people begin to feel dissatisfied with their lives:

“It’s not so much a catch-up method as it is another way of catching up by Facebook. What’s worse is that now we feel the need to not only keep up with our closest friends and neighbors but also to keep up with hundreds of constantly updated Dynamics constantly remind us how glorious life should be."

As result, many use it as a way of “keeping up with the Joneses” and see how they’re performing by comparison:

“For many people, Facebook is better to find friends than the people they follow. Research shows that, on average, Facebook users spend more time checking other people’s pages than adding content to their own pages. The site has the most visitors-most women who post and share photos and get status updates-use the site for "social monitoring." These social investigators usually don’t keep in touch with friends or stay in touch like they do."

However, once I start to restrict social media, I feel great relief. I have more free time to spend on things I love.

The average person spends 2 hours and 24 minutes checking social media every day. (This can further affect happiness because of the connection between screen time and frustration.) However, people often want them to have more time to travel, read, exercise, learn languages, spend time with their loved ones, and so on. All of these can help you increase your joy, sense of accomplishment, and motivation.

Nothing adds up. Reduce all social media and news consumption by two weeks and see what happens. What do you spend two more hours every day?

2.Remove The Bottom 20% From Your Life

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The 80/20 rule suggests that 20% of the causes cause 80% of the impact. This is why I conduct an 80/20 analysis every few months and ask two questions:

1.What is the 20% thing that makes me 80% unhappy?

2.What is the 20% thing that leads to my 80% happiness?

If certain activities, promises, or even others make me unhappy, I will try to avoid these things. (If they increase my happiness, I will try to increase them.)

Usually, as long as I remove 2 or 3 things that I don't like, I will find that my life is obviously (and immediately) better. Of course, staying calm and accepting the troubles you can’t control is helpful, but masochism is not needed-if it can be avoided, why not? Ruthless this is the life we ​​are talking about.

3.Remove Negative People.

Among all the famous sayings about self-improvement, nothing can affect my life more than this:

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

                                  — Jim Rohn.

If you are with negative, unhappy, and ambitious people, no matter how hard you try, they will make you fall down the stairs. You cannot go beyond the power of the environment, so if you want to change, you must first change the environment.

Don't underestimate the power of social circles. In a 75-year study at Harvard University, researchers found that interpersonal relationships are the most important factor in a happy and healthy life:

“The clearest message that we get from this 75-year study is this: Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.”

                               — Robert Waldinger, director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

This is why I removed negative people from my life. Please note: I am not blaming them for my unhappiness-an important reason we became friends is probably because they reflect my life. But I know that if I want to change, I must change my friends.

Try to use the 80/20 rule: Which 20% of friends or family members cause 80% of unhappiness, self-doubt, anger, etc.? Find the source of the negative emotions, have an honest conversation respectfully and create boundaries to protect yourself.

“You train the world on how to treat you.”

                                                  — Dr. Ben Hardy.

In the end, I set a precedent for what I wish for my friendship and interpersonal relationship and chose what I will tolerate and intolerant. Eliminating toxic relationships almost immediately changed my happiness.

4.Remove The Desire To “Prove Myself”

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There is nothing wrong with ambitious and grand goals. But I noticed that many people pursue lofty goals in order to prove to others, and more importantly, to prove to themselves. They care very much about what people think of them, but they also care about proving their worth, proving that they are at a certain level, and verifying their existence.

I also feel inside about it. But this only keeps me away from happiness. Because the need for "perfection" can lead to depression, anxiety, and burnout.

What I pursue is the imaginary standard of "perfection", because my definition of perfection will always change, so this can never be achieved. However, my identity as a person is eternal. No achievement can make me more worthwhile as a person.

Of course, I can improve my communication skills, be more tolerant of others, kinder, more patient, less judgmental, etc., but I don't believe that personal development can make me better.

After all, before learning these skills, am I "worrying" about a person? Or am I "better" than someone who does not develop personally? It must not work. Nowadays, I do not pursue personal development to become a "better person", but just to improve certain life skills and create better results.

In order to eliminate the tendency to prove myself, I often ask:

  • If I can never tell someone about my achievements, will I continue to pursue them?
  • If my journey of self-improvement cannot make me a "better" person, will I still do it?

By giving up the pursuit of imaginary standards of excellence, I do things purely for enjoyment and love, which makes happiness much easier.

5.Remove My Attachments.

Some people think that they will be happy only if they have certain things (wealth, health, relationships, property, etc.). But this cannot be established in psychology.

When we achieve and feel happy, we adapt quickly and lose that happiness-then we try to achieve other goals, and then repeat the above cycle, thus creating the so-called "hedonic treadmill."

In the final analysis, if they can't be happy without these things, then they won't be happy with them. This is not to say that you should not try to achieve anything in life. Instead, I try to achieve goals without letting my happiness depend on the goals-in other words, not attaching my happiness to the goals. It creates more freedom, tranquility, and peace. Moreover, if I happen to lose everything I have, then I will not be so depressed, because it has never been the source of my happiness from the beginning.

This also includes my attachment to life itself. Fear of death, my death made me hold life firmly. Once this attachment is released, happiness will follow.

Although some people may think that death or death causes sadness or "nihilism", in fact, it can actually make people have a deeper appreciation and gratitude for the happiness, pleasure, and opportunities they have.

Think about it:

  • When you know that you will eventually pass away, do you still cherish the time you spend with friends and family?
  • How many things would you like to do when you know that you cannot do something on a certain day?

Even if you feel pain, anger, or sadness, realize that I have only so much time left, which makes life easier and more enjoyable. Because happiness always exists, right before my eyes. I just need to see.


1.Negative information can cause a lot of stress and frustration, so please take action by reducing news and restricting the use of social media.

2.Use the 80/20 rule to see which 20% of things cause 80% of misfortune, and find ways to eliminate them from life.

3.Interpersonal relationships are the biggest factor in your health and happiness. Use the 80/20 rule again, check that 20% of your social circles are causing you 80% to be unhappy, and find a way to establish boundaries with them.

4.Dodon't try to be perfect, don't try to prove that you are "valuable." Do more for yourself and make more announcements to yourself.

5.Stop linking your happiness with achievements, goals, wealth, etc., and leave the hedonic treadmill.

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