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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 February 20, 2019

      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

      How to Master Effective Communication Skills at Work and Home

      Possessing effective communication skills is a powerful tool to have. Effective communication skills are essential to success in many aspects and areas of your life. There are a lot of jobs that require you to be a good communicator.

      Strong communication skills help you enjoy better relationships with friends and family. Being an effective communicator will give you advantages in more ways than you can imagine.

      Conversely, being poor at communicating will negatively impact your life.

      Let’s take a look at how to master effective communication skills at work and home.

      What is Effective Communication?

      Probably a good place to start is to paint a picture of what clear communication is.

      Effective communication is defined as verbal speech or other communication methods to get your point across. Sounds pretty simple, right? It does but there’s more to it than that.

      It’s really about how all of us interact and communicate in every aspect of our lives. It’s the ability to say something at the right time; to be able to get multiple people on the same page in a group decision. It’s how that one friend of yours who plans most of the activities is able to get everyone to the same place at the same time.

      Non-verbal communication is key to being effective as well. It’s the ability to have your body language say the right thing so the person you’re speaking to knows your listening.

      Effective communicators don’t react to situations with high emotion. It means not having to say something all the time in every situation. You are even being an effective communicator when you show up to pick your daughter up from the mall when you say you will. You are communicating to her that she can rely on you.

      Are You a Poor Communicator?

      Before we get too deep into how to be a master communicator, let’s take a look at your communication skills.

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      If you find yourself agreeing with a lot of these, you might want to sharpen your communication skills.

      • You’re constantly interrupting – Hey, I know, we all want to be listened to. We all want to get our point across. Most importantly, we want to be understood. If you find yourself interrupting all the time you aren’t listening enough.
      • Doing too much – Many of us are master multi-taskers. It’s not good if you are communicating with someone. When you try to do too much while speaking with someone, you aren’t paying attention to what they are saying. Lack of focus is bad.
      • Rambling – I know of several people I work with who do this constantly. I honestly dread having to speak to them. The worst part is even though a lot of words are coming out of their mouths, they really aren’t saying anything. I’m more confused after they answer my question.
      • Not being direct – Nothing wrong with emails or reports. However, if you can convey the same information quickly and directly to someone, it is much more effective. Why write a 2 paragraph email when you can pick up the phone and say the same information in 2 sentences?
      • Always talking about yourself – Everybody likes to relate things to their own experiences. It draws us together and helps us create a feeling of sharing and community. If you are always coloring someone else’s conversation with a similar situation in your life, people will think you are making everything about you. Don’t be that person!
      • Using a lot of qualifiers – Qualifiers are fine for the most part. When you use them as a crutch most of the time when you speak, it’s not helping your communication. Sometimes, we do this to makes things seem “softer”. Saying things like “I don’t want you to take this the wrong way but…” or “I know what you’re thinking but…” over and over doesn’t help you communicate.
      • Your ears don’t work – If you don’t listen well, you can’t answer someone correctly. In order to be an effective communicator, you have to understand what someone else is saying to you. If you don’t listen with purpose you will only have part of the picture.
      • Bad body language – The importance of body language is well documented. If you don’t look at someone when they are speaking, it appears that you don’t really care what’s being said. This makes people feel like you don’t care what they are saying and it’s not important to you. Other bad body language examples include always crossing your arms and not looking someone in the eyes.

      What Effective Communication Can Do For You

      Let’s take a look at how being able to effectively communicate can help you at work and in your personal relationships.

      Work

      • Better client relationships – You certainly want a great communicator to be handling your client relationships. Strong communicators represent both the client and your company is the best manner.
      • Higher employee engagement – Pretty critical if you are a leader or a manager of people. An engaging and interactive communicator in a leadership position is wonderful for employees.
      • Getting better buy in from others – This is great whether you are a manager or individual contributor. Strong communicators tend to get people moving and working towards a common goal.
      • Helps mitigate conflict – Good communicators are able to help resolve conflicts quicker and easier. This helps smooth things over and keeps projects and initiatives moving forward.
      • Builds trust – You want to be able to trust who you work for and with. Effective communicators are good at establishing and building trust between people and groups.
      • Solves problems – Problems are solved by people with the ability to communicate clearly between groups and people. Those without good communication skills many times add to the confusion of a problem because they are unable to articulate their thoughts and ideas.

      Personal relationships

      • Creates closeness – A good communicator is able to help foster a feeling of closeness with his or her partner.
      • Makes conflict okay – It’s actually better to fight with your partner from time to time instead of never fighting. We all have differences of opinion and points of view. When we don’t express these and bury it inside by not communicating, it just comes out later in a more negative form.
      • Provides support – It’s nice to know that someone cares about you and supports you. A strong communicator will ask how you’re doing and be a good sounding board for what you’re going through.
      • Expressing feelings – People who are not effective communicators tend to be not very good at expressing how they feel. This makes it tough to share your feelings with you partner.
      • Get the loving you want – In order to get the physical, mental, and emotional love you want and need, you have to be able to communicate clearly and appropriately with your spouse or partner. This is done through effective communication.
      • Eliminate mistrust, doubt, faithlessness, and insecurities – Many times these seeds are sown due to a lack of communication. If your partner rarely tells you where he or she is going, you will tend to start coming up with your own ideas. Often these aren’t true but how would you know if you aren’t told?

      Can You Improve Your Communication Skills?

      The short answer is yes, of course you can improve your communication skills.

      Improving or changing anything in your life takes some work and effort but it can be done. You have to keep in mind your starting point and your goal.

      If you are not a very good communicator now and you want to be able to give a motivating speech to a large graduating class, you’d better get working.

      On the other hand, if you get along fairly well in general but want to be able to improve your relationship with your boss or spouse by being able to master effective communication, you may just need some guidance and practice.

      Either way, if you want to master effective communication skills at both work and home, it will take a little work and effort. Doing so will benefit you in many ways.

      How to Master Effective Communication Skills

      In general mastering effective communication skills will help you at both work and home. Let’s look at how to improve verbal, written, and body language communication skills. These will help you create better relationships everywhere you go!

      1. Learn how to listen

      Speaking is only half of the communication equation. Sharpen your listening skills so you are able to process what the other person is saying. You can then respond it a well-informed manner.

      Check out these active listening guidelines to be a better listener.

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      2. Make eye contact

      Having regular eye contact with someone while you are having a conversation shows you care what they are saying. When you are looking at the floor or out the window it gives the impression that you aren’t paying attention.

      Take a look at this advice on how to make engaging eye contact.

      3. Ask questions

      When you ask someone questions, you are able to clarify what they are saying to ensure you get the whole picture. If you don’t understand it fully, ask questions.

      Do you know that it takes some skills to ask questions too? Here’s how to be good at asking questions.

      4. Watch body language

      Watch both yours and the other persons.

      We all know if you have a conversation with your arms crossed the entire time, it gives off a bad vibe. Have open, engaging body language when speaking with someone.

      On the flip side, if you see someone’s eyes glazing over while speaking to you, it’s probably a good idea to wrap it up.

      Take a look at these top 20 body language indicators to learn more.

      5. Speak confidently

      Sometimes this is easier said than done. If you communicate in an open, direct, and clear manner, it subtly shows people that you are confident in what you are saying.

      It doesn’t mean you always have to be right but delivering your thoughts with confidence helps your case.

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      These tips will help you speak more confidently.

      6. Keep it simple

      You don’t always have to be succinct in your communication. There is a lot of value in being able to tell a great story.

      That being said, there are many instances where keeping it simple is very helpful. This is especially true at work in both verbal conversations as well as written like emails.

      7. Know your audience

      You should have a certain style when communicating with your boss. Another style of communication is better with your spouse and probably others with your kids or friends.

      Know your audience to help you communicate the most effectively.

      8. Be empathetic and understanding

      There is a massive amount of power in being empathetic. And I mean that in a very positive way.

      Showing that you are empathetic and understanding to another person goes a long way to creating a great bond with that person. We all want to be understood. It’s that simple.

      Think it’s a challenge for you? These 5 tips for empathetic listening will help you.

      9. Pause before reacting

      There have been a number of times when I’ve read an email that just came in and had an instant reaction to reading it. And I don’t mean a positive reaction. My less effective ways of dealing and communicating has been to send a scathing email back.

      When I’ve communicated more appropriately, I’ve waited a while before I responded. This is true in verbal situations as well.

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      10. Over communicate

      You’d think if you tell someone something that should be the end of it, right? Done deal. Not so fast.

      I’m not recommending you tell someone the same thing 10 times in a row. With as many distractions as we all have these days, it’s generally a good idea to follow up on something you’ve communicated a few times if it’s important.

      Conclusion

      Having effective communication skills at both work and home will help you immensely.

      At work, it helps you in your career in many ways.

      Communicating well with your boss leads to a solid, symbiotic working relationship. You’re able to clearly articulate what you need to do your job well. You can share your vision and strategy with your boss and others. Good communicators are needed in management roles and leading others. Fostering an environment of effective communication leads to a great work environment.

      At home, having effective communication skills will help you achieve the type of relationship you want with your spouse.

      You are able to speak freely and openly about your feelings. You can share your wants and needs in a manner that your spouse understands. Your spouse will feel understood and supported by you which is a wonderful feeling to have. And being able to have a disagreement and work through it due to strong communication skills is amazing.

      Look at how you can master effective communication skills at work and home to help create more satisfying relationships in all phases of your life.

      More Resources About Work Communication

      Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

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