“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”
Books on happiness are a dime a dozen. I’m a bit of a self-improvement junkie, so I can assure that they are – I’ve read well over a hundred of them. And no, it’s doesn’t mean that reading these books is a waste of time. I have discovered some amazing nuggets of wisdom in the books I’ve read that have helped me better myself in many ways. Three of my favorite books on happiness include:
But one thing is certain, like all channels of self-improvement advice, books on happiness echo pretty much the same exact advice over and over again in a thousand different ways. So today I figured I’d eliminate the fluff and give you a list of the 30 traits most happy people have in common, according to every book I’ve ever read on happiness.
- They are ‘glass half full’ people – while still being practical and down-to-earth. They have an ability to find the good in any situation.
- They understand that happiness is a choice, and consciously and methodically create their own happiness, while others hope happiness will find them.
- They are ambitious. They don’t believe in, or wait for fate, destiny, chance or luck to determine or shape their future. They take control and choose to live their best life rather than spending it on auto-pilot.
- They have clarity and certainty about what they want and don’t want for their life. They visualize and plan their best reality while others are merely spectators of life. They have identified their core values – what is important to them – and they do their best to live a life which is reflective of these values.
- They ask the right questions – the ones which put them in a happy, creative, positive mindset and emotional state.
- They rarely complain because they know it’s a waste of energy. All complaining does is put the complainer in a negative state of mind.
- They don’t procrastinate and they don’t spend their life waiting for the ‘right time’. They are busy, productive and proactive with their goals. While most are laying on the couch, over-planning, over-thinking, sitting on their hands and generally going around in circles, they are out there taking steps in the right direction.
- They are fearful like everyone else, but they are not controlled or limited by their fears – they face them and grow beyond them over time.
- They don’t blame others. They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes, or their lack thereof.
- While they are not necessarily more talented than the majority, they always find ways to maximize their potential. They get more out of themselves by exercising their talents and their passions. In other words, they use what they have more effectively, which leads to long-term personal achievement and happiness.
- They avoid toxic people, and spend time with positive, like-minded people. They understand the importance of being part of a team, and part of healthy relationships.
- They take calculated risks that help them expand their horizons and grow – financially, emotionally, professionally, etc.
- They deal with problems and challenges quickly and effectively, they don’t put their head in the sand. They face their challenges and use them as vehicles for personal growth.
- They are solution focused. They learn a lesson and move on to bigger and better things while others are still stuck on the problem.
- While many people are reactive, they are proactive. They take action in pursuit of their goals and the things that make them happy.
- They are life-long learners. They constantly work at educating themselves, either formally (academically), informally (watching, listening, asking, reading) or experientially (doing, trying). And their education helps them discover new vehicles to happiness and success.
- They are humble and they are happy to admit mistakes and to apologize when they should. They are confident in their ability, but not arrogant. They keep an open mind, and are happy to learn from others.
- They are more effective than most at managing their emotions. They feel like we all do but they are not slaves to their emotions.
- While many people are pleasure junkies that avoid pain and discomfort at all costs, truly happy people understand the value and benefits of working through the tough situations that others typically avoid.
- They sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term happiness. They are more interested in something being effective than they are in something being easy. While everyone else is looking for the quickest shortcut, they look for the course of action which will produce the best results over the long term.
- They are multi-dimensional, and create balance in their lives by properly managing the time they devote to family, friends, work, hobbies, etc. Because they realize that too much, or not enough, of one of these things creates stress and unhappiness. They realize that not only are they physical and psychological beings, but emotional and spiritual creatures as well. They consciously work at being healthy and happy on all levels.
- They are adaptable and embrace change. While the majority are creatures of comfort and habit, they are comfortable with, and embrace, the new and the unfamiliar. They are strong, and they are happy to take the road less traveled.
- They aren’t as concerned with what others want for them as they are with what they know is right for themselves. They are happy to swim against the tide, to do what most won’t. They are not people pleasers and they don’t need constant approval.
- They are secure. They do not derive their sense of self-worth from what they own, who they know, where they live or what they look like. Their self-worth is a reflection of who they are and how they choose to live.
- They are generous and kind, and take pleasure in helping others achieve happiness too. They are happy to make others look good rather than seek their own personal glory – they share the goodness every chance they get.
- They keep themselves in shape physically, not to impress others, but because they understand the importance of being physically well as it relates to their happiness and longevity. Their body is not who they are, it’s where they live.
- They don’t invest time or emotional energy into things which they have no control over. They concentrate solely on the things they can control.
- Their career is not their identity, it’s their job. It’s not who they are, it’s what they do. And over time, they gradually align their career with their values – changing positions, employers, and careers as necessary.
- They have an off switch. They know how to relax, let loose and enjoy what they have in their life right now.
- They practice what they preach. They don’t talk about the theory, they live the reality. They do what they need to do, for themselves and their loved ones – for the sake of long-term happiness and success.
Bottom line: You can be happy – you can choose happiness. And you don’t even need to develop all 30 of these traits to get there. Start with one of them that you know you struggle with. Work on just that one point until you have it mastered, and then move on to another one. Gradually, you’ll discover yourself becoming a better version of YOU – and that by itself is something worth smiling about.
Photo by: Christine Lebrasseur