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18 Timeless Secrets of Happy People

18 Timeless Secrets of Happy People

It’s common to hear people say that fame only brings unhappiness. Not true! As these wise words from modern and historical celebrities (and a group of happiness scientists) show, they’ve figured out the secrets of happy people and a happy life. Let’s hear it in their own words, shall we?

1. Happiness is who you are

“I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition”

– Martha Washington

Genuinely happy people have an almost magical ability to stay in good spirits even when there isn’t a great deal to be cheerful about. When happiness is a core aspect of your personality, nothing can force you to be unhappy.

2. Happiness is a choice you make

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be.”

– Groucho Marx

The next time you find yourself in a difficult situation, ask yourself this: would you rather have a difficult and unhappy time, or stay happy through the tough times? Your choice.

3. Happiness comes from self-consistency

“Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.”

– Mahatma Gandhi

As any psychologist will tell you, it’s human nature to want your thoughts, words and deeds to be consistent—but you’ll often find yourself trying to fit the mould of what you think other people want instead of being fully and consistently yourself. That leads to conflict in your mind, which leads to a less happy life.

4. Happiness is your responsibility

“Don’t wait around for other people to be happy for you. Any happiness you get you’ve got to make yourself.”

– Alice Walker

There’s nothing more depressing than waiting for the happiness delivery guy. Why? Because he doesn’t exist. Decide to deliver your own happiness, and you can free yourself from a very long wait.

5. Happiness is best served in moderation

“We cannot be happy if we expect to live all the time at the highest peak of intensity. Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony.”

– Thomas Merton

Guess what? Spending all your time wishing you were happier will only make you more depressed. Aim for a comfortable day-to-day background level of happiness, rather than a huge blast of ecstatic joy that leaves you feeling wiped out.

6. Happiness is not in your memories

“The first recipe for happiness is: avoid too lengthy meditation on the past.”

– Andre Maurois

Reminiscing about good memories can leave you feeling happy for a while, it’s true, but the source of happiness is now. Dwelling on past happiness doesn’t change today, so stay in the present to make this your happy day. And if you find yourself dwelling on unhappy memories instead, let them go—all they do is keep you from achieving happiness today.

7. Happiness is not in your ambitions

“Future: That period of time in which our affairs prosper, our friends are true and our happiness is assured.”

– Ambrose Bierce

The author of The Devil’s Dictionary, Ambrose Bierce knew exactly how to be happy: simply avoid pinning your hopes on the unpredictable future. (He also knew a lot about sarcasm.) Hopes and ambitions for the future are nice, but being happy in the moment is better.

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8. Happiness is contagious

“Whoever is happy will make others happy too.”

– Anne Frank

It’s a fact: smiling at somebody tends to make them feel happier. Laughing has an even stronger effect. So wherever you go, share your happiness with the people you meet, and surround yourself with happy people if you can.

18 Secrets of Happy People

    9. Happiness is destroyed by envy

    “The talent for being happy is appreciating and liking what you have, instead of what you don’t have.”

    – Woody Allen

    Nobody who spends their life wishing they had more than they’ve got is ever going to achieve lasting happiness. But if you dial down your sense of envy and entitlement, you’ll be happy more often than not.

    10. Happiness can’t be bought

    “Money won’t make you happy… but everyone wants to find out for themselves.”

    – Zig Ziglar

    As a cliche, “you can’t buy happiness” is right up there with classics like “no use crying over spilt milk” or “crime doesn’t pay”, but the reason those cliches are so popular is that they’ve got a big hunk of truth in them, so don’t expect to get happier by spending more money!

    11. Happiness can’t be compared

    “The man with a toothache thinks everyone happy whose teeth are sound.”

    – George Bernard Shaw

    Before you make yourself unhappy by fretting that everybody else is happier than you, realise that they’ve all got problems; that’s… well, that’s life, folks. Instead of comparing your happiness to somebody else’s, try comparing it to your saddest moments. Suddenly, things don’t seem so bad after all.

    12. Happiness is not on Facebook

    “The more they used Facebook… the more their life satisfaction levels declined over time.”

    – Ethan Kross et al., in a research paper published by PLOS One

    Seriously, did you think all those party photos and excitable status updates meant that everyone’s having a ball? Nope, it just means they post on Facebook when they’re happy because they want to share that happiness (and maybe brag about it just a tiny bit). See happiness secret #11!

    13. Happiness is making every day matter

    “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”

    – Leonardo da Vinci

    Inaction rarely makes people happy. We need to feel that our existence has meaning and purpose in order to be happy, so spend each day doing the things that are most important to you.

    14. Happiness means knowing what you love

    “It’s a helluva start, being able to recognize what makes you happy.”

    – Lucille Ball

    Let’s face it—if you don’t know what makes you happy it’s about time you started to figure it out. What makes you smile? What leaves you feeling great? Keep on with those things and your happiness will always have fuel.

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    15. Happiness is a gift. Accept it.

    “I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve.”

    – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

    Are you cheating yourself out of happiness because you don’t feel you’ve earned it? Breaking news: you don’t have to earn happiness. It’s a gift—from your friends, from strangers, from the universe, from yourself. Give it and accept it freely so there’s always plenty in circulation.

    16. Happiness is one side of life’s coin

    “Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.”

    – Carl Jung

    Nobody can be happy all of the time. If you were, you wouldn’t be able to recognise your happiness because you’d have nothing to compare it to!

    17. Happiness is loving (and being loved in return)

    “If you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

    – Socrates

    For most of us, a great deal of life’s happiness comes from being around the people we love, and knowing that they love us right back.

    18. Happiness comes when you stop looking for it

    “You will never be happy if you continue to search for what happiness consists of. You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.”

    – Albert Camus

    The quest for happiness is easily confused with the desire for things that we believe might make us happy. On closer inspection, though, some of the happiest people in the world are those who’ve stopped hunting for a magical happiness guarantee, and are simply happy to exist.

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    Sophie Lizard

    A writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on April 11, 2019

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in every phase of your life. This is especially true in the workplace.

    I have personally worked with several leaders who were masters of communication. A few were wonderful speakers who could tell a great story and get everyone in the room engaged. Those of us in attendance would walk away feeling inspired and eager to help with what came next. Others were very skilled at sharing a clear direction and job expectations.

    I knew exactly what was expected of me and how to achieve my goals. This was the foundation of an energized and vibrant role I was in. What I have found is strong communication skills are incredibly helpful and sometimes critical in how well we perform at work.

    Here we will take a look at how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    How Communication Skills Help Your Success

    Strong communication skills pave the way for success in many ways. Let’s look at a few of the big ones.

    Create a Positive Experience

    Here are two examples of how well developed communication skills helps create a positive experience:

    When I first moved to the city I now live in, I began a job search. Prior to my first live interview, I was told an address to go to. Upon arriving at the address provided, I drove around and around attempting to find the location. After 15 minutes of circling and looking for the address, I finally grabbed a parking spot and set out on foot.

    What I discovered was the address was actually down an alley and only had the number over the door. No sign for the actual company. The person that gave me those very unclear directions provided a bad experience for me.

    Had they communicated the directions to get there in a clear manner, my experience would have been much better. Instead the entire experience started off poorly and colored the entire meeting.

    As a recruiter, I frequently provide potential candidates with information about a job I’m speaking to them about. In order to do this, I also provide a picture of the overall company, the group they might be joining, and how their role fits in and impacts the entire company.

    Time and time again I have been told by candidates that I have provided the clearest picture of a company and role they have ever heard. They have a positive experience when I clearly communicate to them. Even when the position does not work out for them, often times they will want to stay in touch with me due to the open communication and beneficial experience they had during the interviewing process.

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    Strong communication skills will provide a positive experience in virtually any interaction you have with someone.

    Help Leadership Skills

    It’s certainly a skill all its own to be able to lead others.

    Being a mentor and guiding others towards success is a major hallmark of great leaders. Another characteristic of effective leaders is the ability to communicate clearly.

    As I referenced above, having a leader who can plainly articulate the company’s mission and direction goes a really long way towards being the Captain of the boat that others want to follow. It’s like saying “here’s our destination and this is how we are going to get there” in a way that everyone can get on board with.

    Another critical component of everyone helping to sail the boat in the right direction is knowing what your portion is all about. How are you helping the boat move towards its destination in the manner than is consistent with the leaders’ vision?

    If you have a boss or a manager that can show you what it takes for not only you to be successful, but also how your performance helps the company’s success then you’ve got a winner. A boss with superior communication skills.

    Build Better Teams

    Most of us work in teams of some sort or another. During the course of my career, I have led teams up to 80 and also been an individual contributor.

    In my individual contributor roles, I have been part of a larger team. Even if you are in business for yourself, you have to interact with others in one manner or another.

    If you have strong communication skills, it helps to build better teams. This is true whether you are in an IT department with 100 other fellow programmers or if you own your own business and have customers or vendors you communicate with.

    When you showcase your robust ability to communicate well with others while interacting with them, you are building a better team.

    Now let’s jump in to how to improve communication skills to help you pave the way for your workplace success.

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    How to Improve Communication Skills for Workplace Success

    There are many tips, tricks, and techniques to improve communication skills. I don’t want to overwhelm you with too much information, so let’s focus on the things that will provide the biggest return on your time investment.

    Most of these tips will be fairly easy to become aware of but will take time and effort to implement. So let’s go!

    1. Listen

    Ever heard the saying you have two ears and one mouth for a reason? If you haven’t, then here’s the reason:

    Being a good listener is half the equation to being a good communicator.

    People who have the ability to really listen to someone can then actually answer questions in a meaningful way. If you don’t make the effort to actively listen, then you are really doing yourself and the other person a disservice in the communication department.

    Know that person who is chomping at the bit to open his or her mouth the second you stop talking? Don’t be that person. They haven’t listened to at least 1/2 of what you’ve said. Therefore the words that spill out of their mouth are going to be about 1/2 relevant to what you just said.

    Listen to someone completely and be comfortable with short periods of silence. Work on your listening skills first and foremost.

    2. Know Your Audience

    Knowing your audience is another critical component to having strong communication skills. The way you interact with your manager should be different than how you interact with your kids. This isn’t to say you need to be a different person with everyone you interact with. Far from it.

    Here is a good way to think about it:

    Imagine using your the same choice of words and body language you use with your spouse while interacting with your boss. That puts things in a graphic light!

    You want to ensure you are using the type of communication most relevant to your audience.

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    3. Minimize

    I have lunch with a business associate about 3 times a year. We’ve been talking for several years now about putting a business deal together.

    He is one of those people that simply overwhelms others with a lot of words. Sometimes when I ask him a question, I get buried beneath such an avalanche of words that I’m more confused than when I asked the question. Needless to say this is most likely a large portion of why we never put the deal together.

    Don’t be like my lunch business associate. The goal of talking to or communicating with someone is to share actual information. The goal is not to confuse someone, it’s to provide clarity in many cases.

    State what needs to be stated as succinctly as possible. That doesn’t mean you can’t have some pleasant conversation about the weather too.

    The point is to not create such an onslaught of words and information that the other person walks away more confused than when they started.

    4. Over Communicate

    So this probably sounds completely counter intuitive to what I just wrote about minimizing your communication. It seems like it might be but it’s not.

    What I mean by over communicating is ensuring that the other person understands the important parts of what you are sharing with them. This can be done simply yet effectively. Here’s a good example:

    Most companies have open enrollment for benefits for the employees in the fall. The company I work for has open enrollment from November 1 to 15. The benefits department will send out a communication to all employees around October 1st, letting them know open enrollment is right around the corner and any major changes that year. There’s also a phone number and email for people to contact them with any questions.

    Two weeks later, we all get a follow up email with basically the same information. We get a 3rd communication the week before open enrollment and another one 1 day before it starts.

    Finally we get 2 emails during enrollment reminding us when open enrollment ends.

    There’s minimal information, it’s more of a reminder. This is effective over communication.

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    5. Body Language

    The final critical component to how to improve communication skills for workplace success is body language. This is something most of us have heard about before but, a reminder is probably a good idea.

    When I am in a meeting with someone I am comfortable with, I tend to kind of slouch down in my chair and cross my arms. When I catch myself doing this, I sit up straight and uncross my arms. I remember that crossing arms can many times be interpreted as a sign of disagreement or conflict.

    In general, the best rule of thumb is to work towards having open body language whenever possible at work. This means relaxing your posture, not crossing your arms, and looking people in the eye when speaking with them.

    When you are speaking in front of others, stand up straight and speak in a clear voice. This will convey confidence in your words.

    Conclusion

    Possessing strong communication skills will help you in many facets of your life and most certainly in the workplace.

    Good communication helps create better teams, positive experiences with those we interact with, and are critical for leadership.

    There are numerous tactics and techniques to be used to improve communication skills. Here we’ve reviewed how to improve communication skills for workplace success.

    Now go communicate your way to success.

    More Resources About Effective Communication

    Featured photo credit: HIVAN ARVIZU via unsplash.com

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