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10 Signs You’re Genuinely Happy (Though You Don’t Realize It)

10 Signs You’re Genuinely Happy (Though You Don’t Realize It)

The world is chasing after lavish parties, dreamy vacations, expensive weddings, weekend getaways and high-tech gadget acquisition. In wanting to be a part of the in-crowd, it’s easy to spend a lot on luxury items and the hullabaloo around them. However, in spite of the extravaganza and buzz, there may still be a part of you that doesn’t feel genuinely happy. Is this the way things are, or do you just overthink it at times?

No, don’t sulk over the lines above, they are not there to tell you what you should or should not be doing. Instead they are intended to help us understand why we think that we are not genuinely happy. Maybe your life is becoming more complicated, but there are signs that you can still be genuinely happy thanks to the simple and free (almost!) things in life.

And if you need a reminder, here is my list of the happiness-inducing simple things in life for the keeps, for the weeks and for the eternal times to be.

1. You learn something new every day.

    You may not realize this, but with everything that you learn, good or bad, you imbibe something new. Even though you might feel it’s just a part of your routine or something you had to do, learning new things can make you happy and strong. It might be something that you had been stockpiling away for a long time but never had the time to actually do. It could be something you have yearned for, not yet heard of, or something unique. It could be simple things like swimming, driving, or learning a form of dance, or something major and unfortunate like a heartbreak or passing away of a loved one.

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    2. You take a vacation all by yourself.

      Remember the time your dad taught you how to ride a bike? Well, you actually learned the skill when you figured it out all by yourself, when your dad let go his hands on your back or the handles. Similarly, you learn and experience things best when you are all by yourself. Once you take a vacation alone, you tend to find all the routes and figure out the maps by yourself. You decide on whether to laze by the beach or to take the train or the taxi. This definitely makes you genuinely happy from within. Most importantly, you learn to be fiercely independent, mindful, and enjoy your own company.

      3. You spend time with nature.

        You would never realize how much sheer happiness this one can bring you. Whether it’s the rainy season and the leaves are all drippy droopy, or the early morning when the dew drops glisten in the rays of sunlight; the sunset that gives you the endearing hope of rising again or the twilight that gives way to darkness. Nature is symbolic of life and takes away all the worries and tensions that we have in this world for a while.

        4. You love your body.

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          Remember the time you were excited to wear your favorite black dress for a date and couldn’t fit into it? Or the time you were trying to fit into your old jeans and got stuck? While you don’t want to be as skinny as a supermodel, start working on those love handles now. If you don’t get much time to exercise, you need to make the time to walk, jog, do yoga or swim in the mornings, evenings or weekends. Try to feast more on fruits, veggies and salads, but do allow yourself little treats at times. You will slowly start feeling more fresh, active and beautiful. You’ll feel happy to love and take care of your body.

          5. You start cooking.

            Studies have proven that food cooked by you own hands is more healthy, tasty and beneficial to your body than that from a restaurant or takeout. Now you may not like the taste of it initially, or find the time for it, but start slow, maybe on weekends. It’s also amazing how much you learn about different cultures just by tasting (or cooking) their cuisine. In fact you can experiment a lot when you cook by yourself and can win over your friends, your partner or your boss. Definitely an underrated pleasure and a sign of genuine happiness.

            6. You do something that scares you.

              Well, it doesn’t sound like a pleasure, at least not in the beginning, but then once you overcome your fears, you may well start slowly enjoying  something that scares you, even if you don’t realize it’s happening. I find it hard too, but past experiences have made me realize the reasons why was I was scared in the first place. It could be anything ranging from watching a horror movie, moving out of home, or traveling on a flight for the first time, to bungee jumping, scuba diving or a wild life safari. Studies have shown that the kind of hormones that get released when you have an adrenaline rush give you pleasure and are responsible for your happiness.

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              7.  You learn a language.

                Odd though it may seem, this is something simple that can make you very happy, and it rates very high on my personal list. Not only do you learn how to twist your tongue and develop a new accent, it is actually very useful and can take you places. Studies have proven that your brain starts functioning faster, you start feeling accomplished, and you inwardly get very happy once you start learning a new language. You could land a new job, make some friends, or maybe even make a new life altogether. And the amount of pleasure? Infinite.

                8. You shop till you drop.

                  Now this doesn’t necessarily mean clothes, shoes, accessories or expensive gadgets. It has been tested and proven that shopping is the best mood lifter when people are down. Shop for some cheap junk jewelry at flea markets, the groceries, art, or maybe just some books or music. It’s not just the amount of money spent on the shopping that matters, it’s the sheer pleasure, the achievement of finding a bargain, or the memories you recall when you use those things that matter and actually make you glad.

                  9. You listen to, enjoy and dance to music.

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                    OK, maybe you had a break up or a fight with your partner or just a terrible day at work. How can listening to some dumb songs or tunes make you feel better, you say? Well, it can for sure. Just turn on the radio or load you favorite playlist and hum along. Of course it isn’t going to solve any of your problems, but it can lighten your spirits and make you forget things for a while. In fact starting your day with some music is definitely going to give you the right attitude to face your problems. A spring in your step for the day and you are ready! You never realized the power of music before and how much it could make you happy, did you?

                    10. You laugh out loud a lot!

                      Remember the time when you laughed till your stomach hurt? That is a sign of a simple thing making you happy, a big one indeed. This is the oldest trick in the book and you already know about it, so what’s the big deal? But how many of us laugh about things whole-heartedly every day with all the stress and tension going on? Barely a few. The easiest thing is call up an old friend and you are guaranteed to laugh remembering the old times. Also, most importantly, don’t just laugh, laugh it off. Those funny times, those awkward times, those not so pleasant times, and the perceived problems that you are facing right now. Whenever you do so it not only increases your blood circulation and immune system, you feel better and happy.

                      Happiness is a state of mind, as a wise person once said. Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the list above proves the statement to be true. Life is filled with simple pleasures, the little satisfying effects you never really anticipate, but always take great pleasure in. With very few exceptions, I believe these simple pleasures hold universal appeal. They are the gifts of life that we each subconsciously celebrate in our own unique way, though it’s easy to forget what we have.

                      Featured photo credit: Genuine Happiness in Nature via wallpapersus.com

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                      Last Updated on May 22, 2020

                      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                      What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

                      The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

                      But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

                      Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

                      So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

                      Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

                      The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

                      1. A Positive Attitude

                      Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

                      Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

                      Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

                      Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

                      The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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                      Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

                      2. Confidence

                      All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

                      Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

                      If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

                      Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

                      You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

                      • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
                      • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

                      3. A Sense of Humor

                      It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

                      Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

                      Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

                      As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

                      Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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                      Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

                      4. Ability to Embrace Failure

                      No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

                      Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

                      Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

                      Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

                      Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

                      By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

                      You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

                      5. Careful Listening and Feedback

                      This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

                      The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

                      The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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                      Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

                      Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

                      6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

                      No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

                      Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

                      Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

                      To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

                      • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
                      • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

                      Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

                      7. Growth Mindset

                      Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

                      Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

                      Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

                      It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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                      Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

                      8. Responsibility

                      Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

                      The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

                      Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

                      Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

                      9. A Desire to Learn

                      It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

                      Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

                      You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

                      Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

                      To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

                      The Bottom Line

                      Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

                      Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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                      Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

                      Reference

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