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140 people had breakthroughs this week. Will the next one be you?
Two things for you to think about
It’s impossible to be your best self without disappointing some people some of the time.
Unhappy people have a tendency to blame you for your happiness. Don’t make the mistake of apologizing for it.
Reflect: Then consider sharing this thought with others.
Three things for you to ask yourself
When have you apologized for your own happiness? When have you compromised your best self to prevent disappointing someone? How did that go?
Recommended: Use these as journaling prompts for the week.
One thing for you to try this week
This week, I want you to refuse to compromise on something that is good for your happiness and well-being. If you’ve been compromising on it for a long time, now is the time to stop. Email me and tell me how it goes.
Remember: Small changes lead to lasting breakthroughs. Reply to this email and let me know how it went for you.
New This Week
Is Technology Ruining Our Minds? (ft. Scott Barry Kaufman, PhD) – In this week’s podcast episode, I sit down with my friend and psychologist, Scott Kaufman, and discuss neurodivergence, the difference between confident vulnerability and weak vulnerability, identity formation and how it’s delayed by complexity, status games on social media, the limitations of growth mindset, and what may explain the rise in victimhood culture today. Enjoy!
Last week’s breakthroughs
In last week’s newsletter, I asked you to express your gratitude to someone. Bonus points if it’s someone whom you’ve never expressed it to before.
Ellie has a message for all of you:
Gratitude is a tricky subject for me. I have been repeatedly told to write something every day and I tried it several times but I can’t keep at it. So today I want to express gratitude to myself for daring to write back, gratitude to you for your newsletter that I enjoy reading and for other people’s experiences and breakthroughs.
It helps to see that I am not alone in struggling. It doesn’t solve it but it feels better to know that we are all humans trying our best to get by.
Thank you all for being willing to share and show that we can change and improve over time.
For Bill, expressing gratitude is a weekly routine:
Every Monday morning, I send a Thank You email to the person that helped me the most the week before. I also include their manager. This is so their manager has something to refer to for reviews, pay raises, or promotions.
Maybe someone from Tech Support responded to a request and got me back on track sooner than I expected. Thank You! Maybe a manager steps in with a tough client and deflects criticism from the team. Thank You!
I find this exercise then grows into other aspects of my life where I feel my ‘Thank You!’ has more oomph.
Derrick and his family began a Thanksgiving tradition:
My family and I started what we hope will be a new November tradition for years to come. At the beginning of the month, we went outside to find ourselves a ‘gratitude tree.’ We found a big stick with some branches and put it in our living room. Every day, or as we think of things, my wife, daughter and I add things we’re grateful for. On Thanksgiving day, we’re going to sit around the tree and read each other’s responses.
I love Thanksgiving, it’s probably my favorite holiday, because of the focus on family and gratitude (and eating a lot of food). I’m hoping this is a new tradition that will cause us to enjoy it even more!
To end, a thoughtful reminder:
I’ve been thinking of gratitude a lot recently, and expressing it openly and verbally frequently.
I’m really happy at the moment, and I tell people about it. When it’s a bad time, people always reassure you that it’ll pass—but the truth is that the good times will pass too, so you need to enjoy them while they are here. These are the times you’ll miss when inevitably another thing rolls along.
A friend of mine who works in finance recently gave me a metaphor for happiness which I have found so helpful: the idea of structural versus cyclical fluctuations (in that markets can be structurally sound/growing, but still experience fluctuations in the day-to-day). I know that I’m structurally happy: I have a good job, good friends, love my house, my dog, I’m healthy. I separated from a partner two weeks ago, and that’s a blip—but the foundations are solid.
Fluctuation is part of life. Eight different friends checked in with me to see how I was doing over the course of the week: how lucky am I?
And, of course, thank you to all of you who let me do this. I’m sometimes shocked that this is actually my job—that I get to write and hear so many amazing stories, meet so many interesting people, spend so much time thinking about the human mind and all its complexities.
Thank you for caring, and subscribing, and laughing at my terrible jokes. There’s much more to come.
As always, send your breakthroughs by simply replying to this email. Let me know if you’d prefer to remain anonymous.
Until next week,