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12 Amazing Ways We Seem To Stumble Onto Happiness

12 Amazing Ways We Seem To Stumble Onto Happiness

What makes you happy? Not what you think makes you happy — what truly makes you happy?

I asked myself that question, and I was amazed with how hard it was to come up with an answer immediately. I had to think about it seriously.

Unfortunately, many of us think of things and people when asked what makes us happy but, in fact, they don’t. Those are the things we think make us happy. We think of answers that sound good, but aren’t actually true.

Most of us are overthinkers. We try to analyze and overthink everything. We often forget to listen to that soft inner voice. That ever-present voice that always seem to have the right answers, but yet, we seldom listen to.

That soft voice that seem to be able to block out the noise, distractions, and other nonsensical things going on around us and get to the heart of the matter.

We all want to be happy, and many of us frankly have been searching in every little crevice and corner of our life, trying to find happiness. Some of us have traveled the world over, engaging in happiness seminars, happiness camps, reading happiness blogs and books. Yet, all we find are someone’s perception of what happiness is, and we are left high and dry.

The reason we try so hard to find happiness is because somehow we believe that happiness is something we find, and so we constantly search, hoping that one day we will accidentally bump into it.

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Happiness is always around us, and all we have to do is open our hearts and minds to receive it. We cannot find happiness because it was never lost.

Below are 12 of the many ways you often stumble onto happiness.

1. You stumble onto happiness when you are overtaken with sudden joy.

You suddenly realize that this moment is all you have, and it instantly becomes precious, and for some reason you just become happy.

Something happens in your life, and it’s joyous and amazing and suddenly you realize how happy you are.

This could be the birth of a child or just meeting someone you haven’t seen in years, and all the great memories rush over you and for that moment you realize you are happy. That moment you are overcome with happiness and joy.

2. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how blessed you are.

The things you have taken for granted are brought before you, and you instantly see how much you have to be grateful for. You have taken things for granted, not realizing that there are others worst off than you. You complain about your life and in an instant things change and you realize you are blessed.

You could be walking down the street, and you see someone in need and realize that this could have been you. You then suddenly realize how blessed you are, because you have more than enough. You are overcome with happiness.

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3. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you are loved.

You have been with the same partner for a while and, like anything else, it becomes routine. You do the same things over and over again, and things become normal.

Then, you hear of someone getting a divorce and in that instant you are awoken by the gravity of how loved you are. At that moment, you become happy and emotional because you realize you have been happy all this time.

4. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that your children are safe from harm.

You sometimes think you haven’t been happy since your children were born. You were happy then. Here they are now — bundles of energy, and they get on your nerves and mess things up and you become tired and overworked.

Then, you take a moment just to sit and think and you realize your precious children are safe, secure and healthy, and you are overcome with happiness. You realize that you have been happy all along.

5. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are happy with who you are.

You have struggled to find yourself and to know who you are for years. During your search, you realize that you are happy with who you are. All this time you’ve wasted trying to be someone else, and suddenly you realize that you are indeed very special. You are now happy in your skin. You were happy all along, but never knew it.

6. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you have to give.

You have never thought of helping or giving to any cause because you never thought you had anything to offer.

You decide to lend a helping hand to someone else and, low and below, you realize that you indeed have more to offer than you thought. You can, in fact, contribute to someone else’s life. You are happy because you now know you are more than enough.

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7. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how kind you are.

You are busy with your life, and you do things for people, not always taking the things you do seriously. Then, one day someone sends you a thank you note for being kind, and you realize for the first time in a long time that you are indeed happy because you have the power of kindness.

8. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that you are patient.

You have been impatient — running from left to right for some time and not slowing down. You become agitated with everything that gets in your way.

Then, one day you are driving down the street, and someone needs to cross. Even though you are busy and late, you decide to allow them to pass. You now realize you can be patient, and it’s a great feeling. You are happy, even if for that split second, and it feels good.

9. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are healthy.

You take your health for granted, not paying particular attention to your body until one day you hear of someone who is very ill. You realize that you have every reason to be happy because you are in great health. You have been happy all along, but never took the time to notice.

10. You stumble onto happiness when you realize you are safe.

You watch the news, and it suddenly dawns on you that you can go to bed without fear. There aren’t bombs dropping in your neighborhood, and you take a deep breath and realize you are happy. You are happy because you feel safe.

11. You stumble onto happiness when you realize that you are lucky to have a job.

You go to work every day and go through the routine without much thought. You might even complain about the job and your boss.

You run into someone who isn’t so lucky and you realize you are happy. In spite of all that is happening with the job, you are happy. You can pay your bills, you can support yourself, and that makes you happy.

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12. You stumble onto happiness when you realize how much you have to be happy for.

You can always find something to be happy for. This list is endless, and if you take the time to look into your life, you will find so many reasons to be happy.

Many times, the simple path to being happy begins with you realizing that happiness is nothing to be found. It is a decision you make anytime you want to.

Do not allow yourself to keep stumbling into happiness. Start being happy every minute of the day, because happiness is everywhere in your life — you only have to decide that you want to be happy.

It takes nothing for you to be happy but for you to make that choice.

Featured photo credit: Mother and Children/Gagilas via imcreator.com

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

More Tips Improving Listening Skills

Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

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