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10 Things Happy People Are Doing Differently

10 Things Happy People Are Doing Differently

We all want to be happy.

But have you ever noticed that some people seem to have a knack for being happy in any situation compared to the average person? Do you have a friend that seems to be always up no matter what?

We’re all genetically and psychologically (through our life experiences) pre-disposed to a certain level of happiness, but here are 10 things that happy people are doing differently which help them crush life:

1. They understand that everything is impermanent – emotions, events, and even themselves

In Buddhism there is something called the Law of Nature, which states that everything is impermanent and arises just to pass away. Think about it – you’re never angry forever, that vacation to Hawaii isn’t infinitely long, and you yourself (spoiler alert) will die one day.

This doesn’t mean that they refuse to do anything saying “What’s the point, it’ll just end?”. They just realize that they should enjoy what they have while it lasts to the best of their extent, and that when something bad happens, it won’t last forever.

2. They set internally guided and controllable goals

In his book, A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy, William B. Irvine says that the happiest people set goals that are completely within their control. Those that become deflated by their goals are people who set them and rely on external items outside their control.

So for example, you can’t control if you get a promotion, but you can control how many hours you work, asking your boss for the promotion, and taking on extra tasks.

You can’t control when you will find a boyfriend or girlfriend, but you can control how many people you talk to each day, whether you ask for their contact information, and if you follow up with them for a date.

You can’t control when you lose 10 pounds, but you can control how many times you go to the gym a week and how many doughnuts you eat (well… unless if it’s a cheat day).

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By setting goals that you have complete control over, you can become happier because you know that there is only one person you rely on to make those goals a reality: you.

3. They understand that life is a journey, and they focus on enjoying the process and grind versus the results

Speaking of goals, many of us get too focused on achieving something and don’t enjoy the build up to it. Or we get so focused on one thing, and then don’t see all the little things that added up to make the goal a reality. Or, maybe we get so focused on achieving something that we highly under-estimate the amount of work that we have to put in.

Many of us fail at goals we set because we don’t realize the amount of work that needs to be put in. Getting a 6-pack takes hours in the gym. Becoming a writer takes hours at the keyboard. Becoming a surfer takes many, MANY crashes face first into the sea.

The happiest people are those that find joy in the process of attaining the goals, so that even if they don’t reach them, they are happy throughout the entire time. This also lets them enjoy what they are doing right NOW, versus waiting for happiness to come later (hint: hitting that goal NEVER makes you as happy as you think it will).

As Mark Manson said, “If life is a hamster wheel, then the goal isn’t to actually get anywhere, it’s to find a way to enjoy running.

4. They take full responsibility for their lives and everything that has happened and will happen to them

This is the difference between feeling powerful or like a victim, and one’s happiness is directly proportional to the amount of control you feel you have over your life.

Are you single? It’s up to you to learn how to talk to people, get over your anxiety, and set up dates.

Are you overweight? You can look up work out routines, sign up for a gym, and get a personal trainer.

Do you not like your job? You can find others or find the resources you need to create your own business.

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When you take responsibility for everything in your life, you know that you can change whatever you want – you can create any life you want as long as you’re willing to do WORK and change your priorities.

5. They focus on what is good about any situation

Cue the trite “looking at the glass half full vs. half empty” saying. In a world up to interpretation, you can look at things however you want. And because your thoughts determine your emotions and mood, this can lead to drastically different lives for people who have the same thing happen to them… but they interpret it differently.

For example compare someone who is reasonably happy to someone who is frought with anxiety:

They have a lot of phone numbers for potential dates

Happy: Oh my God this is awesome! So many people I could meet!

Anxious: Crap, too many numbers. How the hell will I ever have time to meet them?

They are free to travel wherever they want for work

Happy: I have so much freedom and can see so much!

Anxious: Argh I need to make the right decision and what happens if I can’t see other stuff? I mean this is probably SUPER important and I need to make the perfect location selection. I should probably collate library resources and do a week of research…

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The anxious stuff is from personal experience, and it’s a bit funny I admit, but some people aren’t aware of how they think! Your view and interpretations creates your life.

Be careful.

6. They understand that their mind is like a computer or screen creating the reality they see, and what you put in is what you get out

Continuing on from #5, happy people understand that if they always think negatively, they will always be negative. Your mind is a computer and all it knows is what you put in to it: Garbage in, garbage out.

Hence, happy people are very careful about what thoughts they focus on. If you have ever meditated (if not, start NOW), you will know that a billion thoughts are always coming and going, but we don’t have to grab on to them if we don’t want to.

The thoughts you focus on create you mood and reality, so happy people consciously aim to discard as many negative thoughts as possible. You can read more about this in the classic essay “As A Man Thinketh” by James Allen.

7. They are grateful for what they have and what happens to them

In his TED talk, David Steindl-Rast focuses on how it’s not happiness that makes us grateful, but gratefulness/gratitude that makes us happy.

Happy people purposely practice gratitude for everything they have and anything unexpected that happens to them: from the fact that someone offered to pay for their dinner, to moments with a significant other, to even HAVING a significant other, to just being able to see, hear, or breathe.

By doing this, they are always filled with joy and wonder about the world, and they are deeply happy. It also helps them get out of negative moods quicker.

8. They are empathetic and caring, but not to their detriment

Volunteering our time or helping others gives a deep sense of happiness. Happy people are empathetic and understanding of the issues of others, but they limit their time and boundaries – they take care of themselves and their needs first, and then they take care of others next. They understand that they can’t help anyone if they are in a state of disarray or are pre-occupied.

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9. They know that they are responsible for creating their own happiness, but understand that others play an important role

While happy people know they must create the circumstances that result in their happiness (a specific job, the means to live in a certain place, financial support,…), they understand that other people play a role in their happiness: their family and friends who support them in tough times, intimate relationships for sex, intimacy, and love, and clients or bosses who pay them for work.

While they know they have to go out and get what they want, they understand that other people will always be a part of their happiness.

10. They understand that they can only control so much in life, but they can always control their reaction

Those that are deeply afraid of the world try to control and micro-manage everything, but in reality, we are only able to control so much in life. Happy people realize they can’t control things that are external (other things, people, or events), but they are 100% in control of their reaction to whatever happens.

So, they are in control of setting boundaries or saying “No” when people are being rude.

They are in control of finding more work when a client leaves them.

They are in control of not reacting on their impulse to punch through glass windows when they are angry.

And as such, they can continuously move forward despite what happens in life.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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