The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People


Cloe Madanes, a renowned family therapist and author, has made significant contributions to the field of psychology and personal development. Among her many insightful works, one that stands out is “The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People.” In this article, we will delve into Madanes’s intriguing exploration of the habits that can lead individuals down the path of misery, as well as the valuable lessons we can learn from her work, applicable to IT.

  • The Constant Need for Approval: Madanes identifies the first habit as the relentless pursuit of approval from others. People who constantly seek validation often find themselves trapped in a cycle of insecurity and disappointment.
  • Living in the Past: Another common habit of misery is dwelling on past mistakes and regrets. Madanes highlights the importance of letting go of the past to embrace the present and future.
  • Fear of the Future: On the opposite end of the spectrum, the fear of the unknown can also be a source of misery. Those who are paralyzed by anxiety about the future may find it difficult to enjoy the present.
  • Resisting Change: Madanes emphasizes that resisting change is a habit that can lead to stagnation and unhappiness. Embracing change, even when it’s uncomfortable, can open doors to personal growth and happiness.
  • Criticizing and Complaining: Constant criticism and complaining not only create negative energy but also alienate others. Madanes urges individuals to shift their focus towards constructive communication.
  • Blaming Others: Playing the blame game is a surefire way to remain miserable. Madanes encourages taking responsibility for one’s actions and choices.
  • Always Playing It Safe: Madanes suggests that staying within one’s comfort zone might provide temporary security but can lead to a life devoid of excitement and fulfillment.
  • Exaggerating Problems: Miserable people often blow small issues out of proportion. Madanes advises maintaining perspective and not catastrophizing minor setbacks.
  • Unresolved Guilt and Shame: Holding onto guilt and shame can be emotionally crippling. Madanes underscores the importance of forgiveness, both for oneself and others.
  • Lack of Compassion: Madanes stresses that failing to show compassion to oneself and others can breed negativity and isolation.
  • Seeking External Happiness: Material possessions and external achievements can provide temporary joy, but Madanes reminds us that true happiness comes from within.
  • Striving for Perfection: The pursuit of perfection can lead to unrealistic expectations and constant dissatisfaction. Madanes encourages embracing imperfection as a part of being human.
  • Avoiding Responsibility: Avoiding responsibility can lead to a sense of powerlessness and unhappiness. Madanes urges individuals to take charge of their lives.
  • Focusing on What’s Missing: Miserable people often fixate on what they lack instead of appreciating what they have. Madanes advocates cultivating gratitude as a key to happiness.

Applications for IT

Applying Cloe Madanes’s insights from “The 14 Habits of Highly Miserable People” to the realm of Information Technology (IT) is not only relevant but can also significantly enhance the well-being and effectiveness of IT professionals and teams.

In IT, the constant need for approval can manifest as a never-ending quest for recognition and praise, often leading to burnout. IT professionals should be encouraged to focus on their intrinsic motivation and the satisfaction derived from solving complex problems rather than seeking external validation. Furthermore, the resistance to change, a common habit of misery, can impede progress in an industry where technological advancements occur rapidly. IT teams should embrace change as an opportunity for growth and innovation, understanding that adapting to new tools and methodologies is essential for staying competitive.

Additionally, the habit of criticizing and complaining can have a toxic effect on IT teams, hindering collaboration and problem-solving. Encouraging open and constructive communication is vital, as it fosters an environment where team members can voice concerns and suggest improvements without resorting to negativity. Moreover, striving for perfection in IT projects can lead to delays and missed opportunities. Embracing the agile mindset, which values incremental progress and learning from mistakes, aligns well with Madanes’s advice to accept imperfections and focus on continuous improvement.


In conclusion, Madanes’s insights can be invaluable in the IT industry, helping professionals and teams cultivate a positive and productive work environment. By addressing these habits of misery, IT personnel can boost their resilience, creativity, and overall job satisfaction, ultimately contributing to more successful and innovative projects.

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