30 Traits Happy People Have in Common

30 Traits Happy People Have in Common

“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.

  1. 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.
  2. They understand that happiness is a choice, and consciously and methodically create their own happiness, while others hope happiness will find them.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. They ask the right questions – the ones which put them in a happy, creative, positive mindset and emotional state.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. They don’t blame others.  They take complete responsibility for their actions and outcomes, or their lack thereof.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. They take calculated risks that help them expand their horizons and grow – financially, emotionally, professionally, etc.
  13. 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.
  14. They are solution focused.  They learn a lesson and move on to bigger and better things while others are still stuck on the problem.
  15. While many people are reactive, they are proactive.  They take action in pursuit of their goals and the things that make them happy.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. They are more effective than most at managing their emotions.  They feel like we all do but they are not slaves to their emotions.
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. 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.
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. They have an off switch.  They know how to relax, let loose and enjoy what they have in their life right now.
  30. 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


  1. Rob Wu says

    Number 5 is so very important. If you aren’t asking the right questions, you are excepting the wrong answers as a way of living.

  2. Bett says

    Thanks for sharing, now I know why I smile at my problems. And this has motivated me to smile some more.

  3. Chris Vardy says

    Great words. I love reading this type of positive writing and soaking it all up. Its like washing your face – if you don’t do it daily, it can get very dirty. Cheers

  4. says

    Great list, and I would add a couple more.

    We have the ability to be grateful and to share that gratitude with others.

    We also build the practice of sincere apology and forgiveness into our lives. If we hold onto grudges, we will never find our way to happiness.

  5. says

    That’s a pretty comprehensive list! I would submit that no one practices all 30 of these ideals perfectly, and that you don’t have to in order to be happy. Happiness is not so much a destination (“I’ve arrived”) as it is a journey. Thanks, Marc and Angel, for consistently providing thought-provoking material on living the best life.

  6. Jerry Hislip says

    Happy people just live a longer and fruitful life based on the choices they make every day. And Marc And Angel, with people like you in our lives giving us the great direction to find this happiness, along with God’s help, means more of us will find happiness in life.

  7. says

    I’ve also read a number of “happiness” books over the years in search of some magical nugget of wisdom that would propel me into a heightened state of consciousness. It wasn’t until I stopped searching and started living that I began to recognize that I was already there. Well, almost.

    It was interesting to see how many of these principles I align myself with, and how the few that I neglect really do seem to affect my wellbeing. Although I agree that everyone must start somewhere, it’s become even more apparent how critical each and every one of these principles are to living a truly peaceful life.

    Thanks for posting this.

  8. Ortiz642 says

    Everybody needs a website like this bookmarked…

    One of my favorite lines “Smile in the face of adversity”

    Well done friends!


  9. Renee says

    I love the journey and I love the 30 things list… inspiring and keeps me wanting to stay happy.

  10. Bunchie says

    These are so very true! I have found reading your posts wonderful use of my time off. They have enriched my life and helped me in this journey I can life! Thanks!

  11. says

    I sometimes wonder if we focus on happiness too much though. There is a book called Bright-Sided, you may have heard of. It came out a couple years ago and it focused on the problems that stem from our marketing of happiness as a constant goal.

  12. monica casillas says

    This advice is logical and precise. It is a good read and an excellent motivational tool. I will try to follow the steps… awesome…

  13. says

    I like all of these. I like them a lot and it’s so valuable to be able to consider how many of these are within my own ‘circle of influence'; not for anyone else but me to become…



  14. Joshep says

    I am from Argentina… I am very grateful for your blog, giving to the world inspirations thinking for a better world,if we learn this principles we must to share it with the others. thanks thanks.

  15. says

    Great list and me being happy person, happy people do like people. They laugh a lot, smile at others, they know how to live a simply life and don’t worry about stuff. (they know that stuff just gathers dust and they don’t have time to always be dusting things off.) LOL

    Thanks for the smile, it always feels so good!
    Blessing to you,

  16. SB says

    Great list. I will pass this list on to people and hope they do as you say, take a point, work on it and then move on to the next!

  17. says

    This is an excellent list. It’s great to see myself in even a few of these traits and find others in the list that remind me of what I can focus on developing further. Thanks!

  18. says

    This is excellent. I have passed it on and hopefully it will strike some cords with those that are having a difficult time. Thank you for sharing.

  19. Noor says

    It’s amazing how I can relate to most of the sentences of this post. I guess everyone who reads the posts in this site feels the same way.

    Thanks Marc. Sometimes in life, we have friends whom we don’t see or meet, but yet, love dearly from the core of the heart. YOU are one of them.

  20. says

    This was a wonderful read. Not only inspiring, yet gave me some ideas to fill in the gaps to bring my happiness from 85% to 99.9%.

  21. says

    I have quoted your emails in the past on my blog.

    And I have finally made the time to thank you for such uplifting and heart warming inspiration!

    Needless to say… I will be making sure to quote your gold more often!

    Thank you… from those of us that strive to change for life!! =)

  22. says

    What a great inspiring read. I really need to turn that off switch on. Thanks for sharing this wonderful list. It’s a must share.

  23. Paul H. says

    This is a great article, but I have to disagree with #28. I’m a firefighter and what I do is a calling, not a job. I’m blessed to have my position and get paid for what I love to do. It is who I am and relates directly to my values. Otherwise, great list and I found a lot of it reflective of my life.

  24. says

    Paul H: I think the point is that if something happened tomorrow and you could not be a Firefighter anymore, it would not strip away the identity of who you are as a human being. Who you are as a human being is a selfless person who is willing to risk your life to save others, not a Firefighter.

  25. Ghansham says

    I found it very helpful and interesting too. It truly gives the summery of all books on the happiness


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