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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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    Last Updated on December 17, 2018

    Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

    Why You Think You’re Not Good Enough and How To Believe in Yourself

    Have you ever wanted to say something at work, but a little voice of doubt crept in and said, “what if you are wrong”?

    Maybe you wanted to apply for that promotion or ask that special someone on a date, but something kept you from taking action. When you think you’re not good enough, you tend to fear the outcome and lack faith in your abilities. That is why it is vital you discover how to believe in yourself so you can accomplish your goals and create your dream life.

    Whatever your situation, the fears and self-doubt your false beliefs create will always stop you in your tracks. Identifying the beliefs that cause you to sabotage your life is the first step to removing them.

    Self-doubt causes inaction, and inaction leads to regret. When you are not following your passion and living your dream life, you are left with a lot of questions:

    • What if I took a chance on myself?
    • Could I have had a better life if I took more risks?
    • Am I be satisfied with the legacy I am leaving behind?
    • What could I have accomplished if I did not settle for less?

    So why would you think you’re not good enough?

    1. Parenting

    The perception you have of yourself is based on your past experiences. There are studies that show children mimic everything from their parents ability to regulate emotions, to their parents belief about money.[1]

    I have had clients who did not believe they were good enough because they did not receive any positive reinforcement as a child. When they were young, their parents were extremely overprotective.

    Think of your childhood challenges like dragons you had to slay. Each obstacle you overcame was another dragon you successfully removed from your life. As you slay more dragons, your self-esteem and confidence increase. When someone has overprotective parents, their parents end up slaying the dragons.

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    As a result, the child builds more confidence in their parent’s abilities, while still doubting their own.

    If you are never encouraged to slay your own dragons, you start to doubt whether you can. It is only natural for a child to conclude their parents are always helping them because they think they need it. This child ages into an adult who still believes they are not good enough. They seek the help and confirmation of others, and they rarely stand-up to opposition.

    Solution: Slay Your Dragons!

    If you want to believe in yourself, you are going to have to take steps to rebuild your trust in yourself. Start by keeping your word to others and arriving on-time. By showing yourself that others can (and do) trust you, you are going to feel more comfortable trusting yourself.

    As you move onto larger and more challenging tasks, you have built a foundation of trust in your ability to keep your word. Next, you are going to want to reclaim your sword from others. At first, you may want to confide in whoever it is currently slaying your dragons.

    Understand if it is your parent or someone who loves you, they want the best for you and mean well. You are simply going to tell them that you want to do the work, and will ask them for their thoughts in the planning phase. Feel free to check in with them and give them updates on your progress, while making sure they understand you are wanting to do the work yourself.

    Then when the task is completed, let them know so you can celebrate together. Now that you have slayed your own dragon, you can start to reclaim your confidence. By you utilizing them as your guide, you get the added bonus of someone you respect and admire, telling you how amazing you are.

    Think of it like a symbolic passing of the torch. Now, you are both dragon slayers. Which means all the positive attributes you attributed to them slaying your dragons, now belong to you.

    2. Over-Exaggerating and Oversimplifying

    Your past experiences may involve you or someone close to you failing. When you experience failure, you can lose your desire to continue. This has less to do with whether you are brave or scared, and more to do with the fact that your mind does not like failure.

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    No one enjoys participating in events in which they under-perform. Outside of the usual reasons of embarrassment, feelings of inadequacy, and fear of failure – it is simply not fun.

    Who wants to play baseball if they strikeout every time it is their turn? Would you enjoy singing in front of an audience if you were booed off the stage every time you performed? I could go on, but I think you get the point.

    The thing about those two examples is no one really strikes out “every” at-bat. It is also unlikely someone could be booed off the stage “every time” they performed in-front of an audience.

    What ends up happening is you oversimplify and exaggerate your past experiences and then your mind believes you. If you believe you are not good enough to ask someone on a date because they “always” tell you no, then do not be surprised you never muster the courage to do so.

    If you want to overcome these feelings of inadequacy, start by changing your beliefs. This exercise does not need to be complicated. If you believe you strikeout every time it is your turn, I want to you to go to a batting cage and keep swinging until you hit the baseball.

    When you experience success, I want you to take a mental note, write it down, or have someone video it. This is your proof that you do not always strike out. Then, whenever your belief that you are not good enough resurfaces, you are going to replay that video.

    Regardless of the situation, you can find a successful experience that you are overlooking.

    Solution: Read About the Failures of Others

    It sounds a little crazy, I know, but reading about the failures of other successful people will improve your confidence. In a study conducted by Columbia University, they found that teaching students about the failures of great scientists encouraged them to do better.[2]

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    When you are battling fear and self-doubt, you tend to over-exaggerate the abilities of others and diminish your own by comparison. You start to believe the successful are successful because they are courageous risk-takers, who do not take no for an answer. You tell yourself, they are meant to succeed, while you on the other hand are not.

    When you are able to relate to the successful, you start to realize they have the same struggles and challenges you do. The only difference is they kept going.

    Now it is not a question of whether you can succeed, it is a question of whether you want to succeed.

    3. Undervalue Yourself

    What is the main difference between someone who believes they are good enough and someone who does not? The person who believes they are good enough understands they are a person of value.

    What I mean by this is if you do not believe you are worth being listened to, you will not have anything to say. If you do not believe you are good enough to be respected and treated as such, you will accept and rationalize all kinds of mistreatment.

    There is an old saying that we are treated as we allow ourselves to be treated. When someone has the confidence and self-esteem that commands respect, they will not accept being treated any kind of way. However, if someone does not see themselves as worthy, they will remain in toxic situations because they do not believe anything better is on the horizon.

    Dr. Jennifer Crocker, who worked on a series of self-esteem studies, found in her latest research that:[3]

    “College students who based their self-worth on external sources–including appearance, approval from others and even their academic performance–reported more stress, anger, academic problems, relationship conflicts, and had higher levels of drug and alcohol use and symptoms of eating disorders”

    Solution: Internalize Your Self-Worth

    Instead of valuing yourself based on the awards, recognition, and accolades of others, you need to search internally. By basing your perception of yourself on your core values, you can regain control over self-image.

    Instead of focusing on things that are outside of control, keep your mind on what it is that makes you special. You are not defined by your job, relationships, religion, or education. Rather, you are defined by the manner in which you participate in these things. You may be a creative, hard-working, and compassionate person; and that shows up in every thing you do.

    Understand that you do not need to be creative, hard-working, and compassionate all the time to consider yourself these things. You are not trying to be perfect, but you are trying to connect with your true self.

    By understanding the similarities in which you tackle objectives, you will build a consistent and powerful self-worth that stands apart from external confirmation.

    Final Thoughts

    Do not allow your past experiences do dictate your future success. You do not want to look back on your life and have a lot of questions and regrets.

    Build trust in yourself by taking action today. This will help you build the confidence you need to believe in yourself and your ability to become the champion of your life.

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    Featured photo credit: Riccardo Mion via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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