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6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

6 Secrets of Happiness from the Happiest People on Earth

Happiness seems unachievable to some; it’s easier to scowl so everyone knows you’re real and have been through some pain than it is to smile through the rain. The secrets of happiness are achievable by anyone, though. If you don’t want to spend your last moments on earth reflecting on all the woulda, coulda, and shouldas, than you should take the advice of the happiest people on earth. Here’s what six experts have to say about their secrets of happiness:

Thomas Jefferson

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he envisioned a nation where people could be free to do whatever it is they want to do. The United States of America was founded upon those ideals, and those ideals are still very much the foundation of a modern democracy. Each of these pillars – life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness – is vital to support the other three. As a free human being, you have not only the right, but the responsibility, to pursue your own self-fulfillment and happiness.

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    Dalai Lama

    Happiness is not something ready-made; It comes from your own actions.

    The Dalai Lama is essentially the Pope of Tibetan Buddhism. Whereas Catholics believe in God, however, Buddhists believe each of us is our own God. Both are perspectives on the whole of humanity, which is a hivemind. In order to understand how a hivemind works, one must simply study Anonymous (or, you could look at the Internet itself on a high level).

    The direction of the hive is determined by the sum of the whole. In order to make the world happy, you, yourself, must be happy first. If you want to be happy, however, it takes work. Even if sitting around doing nothing is your life goal, you’ll have to put forth the effort. To be happy, you must BE happy.

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    Oscar Wilde

    Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.” 

    Keeping the hivemind in mind (pun intended, but balked at the last minute), Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde divides the world into two factions: those who please with their presence, and those who please with their absence. If you don’t inspire, motivate, and entertain the people around you, it’s not like they just never do anything entertaining. People don’t pause until you return; their timeline progresses, and if you’re not making them smile, they’re smiling when you leave.

     

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      Albert Einstein

      A table, a chair, a bowl of fruit, and a violin – what else does a man need to be happy?

      Albert Einstein defines German engineering: innovative, dependable, and practical. It’s thinking like Einstein’s that defined physics for the human race. His innovations led to the computer, space travel, and so many pioneering achievements. His brilliance wasn’t just in his ability to apply the scientific method, however; it was in his ability to sit and enjoy his own life. After all, what’s the point of being the richest, smartest, or strongest man in the world if you can’t enjoy the simple pleasures in life?

      Mahatma Gandhi

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

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      While Hitler ravaged the world with war, Mohandas Gandhi proved the power of peace. Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance is a milestone in human history, and he did it while happily living a life of poverty. He understood that if you’re constantly day-dreaming, or over-sell what you do or have, then you’re not happy.

      Let’s take your New Year’s resolution for example; odds are that you likely have already broken your resolution. In fact, there’s a real good chance you broke it on Jan 1. By the time you’re reading this, however, you may not have told people you cheated. You’re likely still living the lie you tell everyone (which includes “I don’t make resolutions,” because we know you secretly do) that you are still on track with your resolution. By March, everyone forgets resolutions, and you have 9 months before people realize you haven’t lost weight and still smoke. You’re afraid of happiness–now stop agreeing with me and change something.

      Helen Keller

      Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence. And I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content.” 

      I promise your problems aren’t as bad as Helen Keller’s were. The girl lived in darkness, and nobody, save for a handful of people like Anne Sullivan, knew or cared how to communicate with her. Somehow this woman found happiness and became more successful than you, with your excuses about being born broke, having to work too hard in a thankless world, people lying and cheating, and blah, blah, blah.

      Helen Keller grew up in this same world, broke, alone, and all that, and by the time she died at 87, she was a world traveler, author, activist, and respected by the world community at large. If she can smile through all that, you can do it too.

      The above examples are just a small sample of happy people. You can find them everywhere in history, and there may even be some in your own community.  Rather than mocking them and assuming you’re too “real” and “street” for anyone happy to ever possibly understand, and rather than assuming all happy people are squares, and they’re delusional or ineffective, or that their smile somehow makes them dumber than you, maybe, just maybe, take a few words of advice from the happy people–and experience happiness for yourself.

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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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