By Lisa M. Smith

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

Here’s a clue:

An optimist finds an opportunity in every problem; a pessimist finds a problem in every opportunity.

If you hate “polyanna’s” and are content to stay in a world filled with black clouds, these tips are just for you. (If you are of the other ilk, you may still find value from this edition by avoiding–or doing the exact opposite of–these guidelines).

Happiness is a state of mind. You can choose to be right, or you can choose to be happy; it all depends on what you want and what you choose. If your choice is unhappiness, here are my tips for ensuring that gloomy disposition.

1. Hold on to your limitations and current beliefs, especially if they are different from what happy and successful people do and believe. After all, if you change your limitations and what you believe, you might be left with something better. That just won’t do if you want to be less than you are.

2. Strive to be right all the time. Never allow others to “win” an argument. Don’t consider another person’s experience or point of view. Make others feel inferior in their knowledge or opinion.

3. Be a perfectionist. Don’t settle for “good enough.” Everyone is looking at you and will think less of you if you don’t get it right.

4. Hold on to grudges and resentment. If you “forgive and forget” and try to move on, people will think you’re a wimp and will take advantage of you. Let all that anger build up and keep talking to everyone you meet about how you were wronged to make sure you never let it go. Feel free to embellish the circumstances, as well, to make it more extreme and very apparent that you were the victim. And for goodness sake, don’t allow yourself to put yourself in the other person’s shoes–that could ruin everything!

5. Do everything yourself and never ask for help. Remember that no one else can do it as good as you can, so don’t even bother to ask. Besides, people resent being asked to help someone else unless you can make it worth their while.

6. Take on more than you can possibly accomplish in the time frame given/available. Stress, anxiety, and lack of sleep are predecessors of unhappiness. If you hold on to them long enough, you can strive for the ultimate level of unhappiness: depression (then you get to take Prozac every day).

7. Look for and focus on problems, not solutions. If you find a solution to a problem, there’s nothing to be stressed about. You also have nothing to talk to others about or ways to get attention. If you accidentally become aware of a solution, either don’t act on it, or find another problem within the solution.

8. Do what others want you to do, rather than what you want to do. It’s helpful to follow the masses instead of trusting your instincts or being individualistic. Listen only to your head, not your heart. Your heart is only there to pump blood.

9. Put money above everything else. Pick a job/career that will make you lots of money, especially if it leaves you no time for family, friends, fun, relaxing, eating well, exercising, or pursuing a dream or passion. Besides, didn’t you know that the one who dies with the most toys, wins!

10. Live only for yourself. Don’t help anyone out. Don’t think about anyone else or anything outside of your small circle. Don’t try to make a difference in anyone else’s life or in the world.

11. Pretend and act like your wealth, security, and happiness are outside of your control and are dependent upon other people and forces outside of you that you can’t control. Complain about it all the time and hang around with others who reinforce this belief.

12. Ignore your inner/spiritual self. Convince yourself that you are only your mind and body; that there is no higher power or higher self and that you can only rely upon your own strength to get you through tough times. God is for weak-minded people.

So, I hope that made you unhappy. Keep following these rules and you’ll assure your utter misery for a lifetime.

If you would prefer to change your pessimistic ways, however, order the “Moving from Pessimism to Optimism” hypnosis CD, which is August’s “CD of the Month” for the special prices of just $15 plus $5 S&H. If you’d like more individualized hypnosis, email or call my office to arrange a f.r.e.e. consultation.

My specialty is working with professional women ages 30-60 who want to improve their career and personal lives in a harmonious way that allows each to be expressed as fully as possible.

Lisa Smith is a Certified Master Hypnotherapist, Wellness Coach, and NeuroLinguistic Programming Practitioner in the Virginia Beach area. She is a sought-after speaker, author, workshop presenter, and group coaching facilitator for creating healthy, natural, lasting change. Visit her website at for F.R.E.E. stuff and to get contact and other information about her services.

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