15 Powerful Things Happy People Do Differently

15 Powerful Things Happy People Do DifferentlyWhat are the differences between happy people and unhappy people? Of course, it should be very obvious: happy people are happy while  unhappy people are unhappy, right? Well, that is correct. But, we want to know what happy people do differently, so I have put together a list of things that happy people do differently than unhappy people.

1. Love vs. Fear

Well, I can tell you for sure that those people who are really happy, fear less and love a lot more. They see each moment, each challenge, each person as an opportunity to discover more about themselves and the world around them.

2. Acceptance vs. Resistance 

Happy people understand that you can’t really change a situation by resisting it, but you can definitely change it by accepting that it is there and by understanding that there might be a reason for its existence.

When something unpleasant happens to them, they don’t try to fight it (they know that this will make the situation even worse), but they ask themselves questions like: What can I learn from this? How can I make this better? And then they focus on the positive, rather than on the negative. They always seem to see the glass half full, no matter what happens to them.

3. Forgiveness vs. Unforgiveness

Really happy people know that it’s not healthy to hold on to anger. They choose to forgive and forget, understanding that forgiveness is  a gift they give to themselves first and foremost.

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.”Buddha

4. Trust vs. Doubt

They trust themselves and they trust the people around them. Whether they are talking to the cleaning lady or the C.E.O. of a billion-dollar company, somehow they always seem make the person they are interacting with feel that there is something unique and special about them. They understand that beliefs are self-fulfilling prophecies.  

Because of that, they make sure to treat everyone with love, dignity and respect, and make no distinction between age, sex, social status, color, religion or race. These are the great men that Mark Twain was talking about: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

5. Meaning vs. Ambition

They do the things they do because of the meaning it brings into their lives and because it gives their lives a sense of purpose.  They understand that “Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life” as Wayne Dyer says.  

And they care more about living a life full of meaning than what, in our modern society we would call, living a successful life. The irony here is that most of the time they get both success and meaning because they choose to focus on doing the things they love the most and they always pursue their heart‘s desires. They are not motivated by money; they want to make a difference in the lives of those around them and in the world.

“Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” ~ Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

6. Praising vs. Criticizing

Happy people would probably agree with Carl’s Jung theory on resistance: “What you resist not only persists, but will grow in size.”  They don’t criticize the absence of the behavior they want to reinforce, ratherthey know by praising the person and the behavior they wish to reinforce (even if it’s not often), they will actually encourage the positive behavior.

When a parent wants to make sure their 7 year old boy will learn to always put the toys back in the box after he’s done playing with them, they make sure not to focus on the many times the child didn’t do it, criticizing him and his behavior, but every time the little boy does put the toys back, the parent praises him and his behavior and that is exactly how they reinforce the positive behavior, and in the end get the wanted results.

7. Challenges vs. Problems

Happy people will see problems as challenges, as opportunities to explore new ways of doing things, expressing their gratitude for them, understanding that underneath them all lay many opportunities that will allow them to expand and to grow.

8. Selflessness vs. Selfishness

They do what they do not for themselves, but for the good of others, making sure that they bring meaning, empowerment and happiness to the lives of many. They look for ways to give and to share the best of themselves with the world and to make other people happy.

“Before giving, the mind of the giver is happy; while giving, the mind of the giver is made peaceful; and having given, the mind of the giver is uplifted.”Buddha

9. Abundance vs. Lack/ Poverty 

They have an abundant mindset, living a balanced life, achieving abundance in all areas of life.

10. Dreaming Big vs. Being Realistic 

These people don’t really care about being realistic. They love and dare to dream big, they always listen to their heart and intuition and the greatness of their accomplishments scares many of us.

“Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.”Goethe

11. Kindness vs. Cruelty

They are kind to themselves and others and they understand the power of self-love, self-forgiveness and self-acceptance.

12. Gratitude vs. Ingratitude

No matter where they look, no matter where they are or who they are with, they have the capacity to see beauty where most of us would only see ugliness, opportunities where most of us would only see struggles, abundance where most of us would only see lack and they express their gratitude for all of it.

13. Presence/ Engagement vs. Disengagement 

They know how to live in the present moment, appreciating what they have and where they are, while still dreaming big dreams about the future.

“When you are present, you can allow the mind to be as it is without getting entangled in it. The mind in itself is a wonderful tool. Dysfunction sets in when you seek yourself in it and mistake it for who you are.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

14. Positivity vs. Negativity

No matter what happens to them, they always keep a positive perspective on everything and by doing so, they tend irritate a lot of negative and “realistic” people.

15. Taking Responsibility vs. Blaming 

They take full ownership over their lives and they rarely use excuses. Happy people understand that the moment you choose to blame some outside force for whatever is happening to you, you are in fact giving all your power away. They choose to keep their power and take responsibility for everything that happens to them.

Why do you think happiness is so hard for us to achieve? Why do you think it’s easier for people to say “yes” to unhappiness but not to “happiness”? I would love to know what are your thoughts on this by joining the conversation below.

With all my love,

 

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Comments

Luminita D. Saviuc

Luminita, the Founder of PurposeFairy, is an enthusiastic student of the arts, psychology, and spirituality. Her acclaimed blog post,15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy , was shared by over 1.3 million people on Facebook. Later on, it became the heart of her book, 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy., book that was published by Penguin Random House.For more details check out the 15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy Book Page.

241 Comments
  1. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”
    best comment ive read all day .

  2. first “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” you wouldnt do that unless the person is where u can reach that way both of em gets burnt !

  3. I agree with the article and I agree with many of the people. I don’t believe we have a happy or sad gene. That would mean we are predestined to emotions. I do believe that an early age a child shows signs of being a giver or a taker. A good parent will see this and guide that child in the direction of how to use those gifts. Natural ability is a gift.

    Some people that have the ability to look at life and learn from it as they go. They can take the high and the low but have the spirit of love and hope that guide them. Or they can claim their situation as negative and live in it. It is a choice as we journey.

    What happens in adulthood is those that are givers will give, accept, be accountable, stand-up for others but often forget to give to themselves. So that is their journey. They need to find friends or any relationship with other givers. They do not understand a taker and fall victim. However, if happy they understood they were not victims just volunteered to the wrong person and move forward with forgiveness. They never forget as they were in that moment for a reason. They evolve into loving awareness and become stronger. Pron to be caretakers and co-dependents.

    Givers are usually Democrats as they will not let others suffer for their greed. They know that following the moment with right in their hearts is rewarded momentarily and by the universe they revolve. They innately are happy spirits and they feel pain deeply. They question their part in a disagreement and then accept what will be will be. They know time heals with a forgiving heart otherwise they move forward. These are the old souls that have learned what others will learn. So acceptance is natural.

    The taker should be with takers as their values are in-line. They will enjoy great success even to the point of Narcissism. But they love monetary gains and wear their success… They would be Republicans. They hate criticisms as they take from their egos so often they are bullies. They will defend their untruths as accepting them is exposure…. Takers are new souls that are not hear to teach but to learn. Their souls are suffice and it shows in their very existence.

    Happy is the forgiving, accountable person that hides nothing because they know they have nothing to hide.

    1. This is not political–it’s about having a happy attitude in your life.
      You are projecting your opinions of Democrats and Republicans onto this article and making a blanket statement.

    2. Truth truth truth!!! Thanks MP this is absolute wisdom in your commentary. As for any rebuttals to your spot on analogy of democrats and republicans? They are simply denying and defending their untruths! The party platform and the fundamental stance of the republican is selfish in nature. It says “I worked hard for mine.” Me me me. It denies that one would have nothing were it not for the abundant gifts received from others.

      1. I worked very hard for what I have earned and because of that, I want to be able to choose who I give my money to, not the government. I am not a republican, nor a democrat. I am a conservative independent. Happiness is not political. I know plenty of miserable democrats, republicans, and everything in between.

  4. I agree with the article. As to the comments about being in a poverty situation and other hardships life can bring, i grew up in very meager surroundings. My mother raised 4 children on very little money and sometimes even getting enough to eat was impossible. Somehow, i didn’t let those circumstances define me. I don’t quit or give up. I may have taken a few moments and sank into hopelessness for a moment but my spirit does not allow me to stay in that mind set. I wish I knew a way to help everyone see that life is a series of challenges and how we navigate through them makes all the difference in our happiness within.

  5. Hey there. I like this.

    But I see some problems with it. You are looking at habits of happy people without looking at their origins. For instance, someone who grows up in or finds themselves in an environment of abundance and love and not fear, poverty or criticism, is likely to be happier and less fearful, have more trust and less doubt, and understand how to be more realistic, rather than living in an unbalanced fantasy land, etc.

    So it feels like you are putting the cart before the horse by saying that these are, alone, causes of happiness and not partly symptoms of luck and abundance in a person’s life.

    I agree that people who use the above skills tend to overcome difficulties better, but I also feel like these types of skill lists can be used to judge people who, for instance, are experiencing poverty and not abundance, or who are feeling fearful or unhappy or miserable.

    Everyone has reasons for being the way they are. Balance is found by understanding your own journey, and being positive, but also honest, and allowing yourself to have the shitty days.

    Nobody is tough and beautiful all the times. Sometimes we’re all weak and ugly and we need to accept and love that in ourselves and others too!!!

  6. such sage advice. Great wisdom shared here. I also believe that there is a “happy gene”, just like I believe there is a “fat gene” or a “math gene”. We all have a propensity for some things and we all are more gifted in some areas than others. I spent alot of my infancy and toddler hood in foster care and then an orphanage and not knowing the origins of my birth until I was 33 yrs. old. Yet, I never held resentment, anger, was a lover of people and of life. Foster parent reports to the state (which I was able to later see) all pointed out that I was such a happy person, did not fear new people or unfamiliar situations. I still and have always loved people, finding the bright side of any situations and have learned that loving life, embracing it, having confidence and faith in oneself and one’s higher power, goes along way to nurture happiness in self and in others! Thank you for this article which informs and reminds us of very important concepts by which we can direct our lives!

  7. Thank you for this inspiring and eye-opening article. I will do my best to be happy. Now I got the trick, no more sadness!
    Med

  8. I love the post. When I worked as a hairdresser in a prominent salon, we always viewed a problem as a challenge. It was a very positive atmosphere, I learned so much and still carried everything I have learned with me to this very day. It changed me as a person.

  9. I see you quoted Buddha and Eckhart Tolle. I feel true happiness comes from knowing Christ. The bible has many words of wisdom about how to be truly happy and find love and forgiveness.
    1Corinthians13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude it is not self seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices in the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves.
    13 And now theses three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.
    I know true happiness, love and a meaningful life is through Christianity; accepting Jesus Christ as your savior.

    1. I agree, Joy. My life is totally turned around for the better since I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. As for the people who are “experiencing poverty and not abundance, or who are feeling fearful or unhappy or miserable”, as seline said, I believe it is our duty, those with the abundance, and the love, to share it so that those we come in contact with can know the love and peace that comes from loving and serving the Lord.

    2. Thank you, Joy. When you truly know Christ it’s the gift that keeps on giving. So many lead a mediocre existence never knowing how amazing a relationship with Christ can be. I asked for this gift and He gave it to me. Sincerely ask and you will receive.

      1. I didn’t read the word Christ once in this whole article, why do people insist on taking the ability to analyse our own behaviour + making correction and turning it into some divine intervention. Seriously be happy for happiness sake!

  10. I enjoyed this well written post. Your list pretty much covers the differences I see around me in happy and unhappy people. I think adding “personal responsibility” would be beneficial. Those that take full responsibility for the good and not so good things that happen in their lives … Tend to be happier. Blame has no place in a happy life.

  11. just wondering.What if all lies were sincere?(because they’re done in ignorance)(because your not born knowing how to lie)
    that would free me up to be alot happier.(⌒▽⌒)¡¡

  12. Thank you for another wonderful article. Its great to wakeup to something like this. All these amazing concepts are straight out of books like The Secret and The Power. It never gets old reading positive affirmations. I only wish everyonw knew about this amazing page so they too could boost their spirits if they needed to. Thank you so much Purpose Fairy and have a great weekend!

  13. http://www.purposefairy.com is a one of the more impressive blogs I’ve seen. Thanks so much for keeping the internet classy for a change. Youve got style, class, bravado. I mean it. Please keep it up because without the internet is definitely lacking in intelligence.

  14. Thank you, I actually noted down the points on my book. Because I experienced so many things you mentioned and I was happy. But somewhere along the line I had lost the goal swayed away from these basic things to live happy. Writing these down on my book and reading and reminding myself everyday would do some good.

    Thanks again.

  15. I just read a great book, The Spiritual Prescription, that really gets into many of these tips. It changed my life…everyone should read this.

  16. I love this! I’ve been experimenting with happiness and have claimed it every morning for the past two months – just about 3 minutes a day. I’ve felt much happier and one of the people I collaborate with noticed a marked difference….. I like your list.

  17. Thank you for these amazing tips. I always thought being a realist was a good thing–never realizing how damaging it could be. I’m looking forward to putting these concepts into practice.

  18. What a beautiful read…and such a nice reminder that we sometimes forget as we travel our individual paths in life…Thank you for the gentle reminder!! We all need this to keep us on track…Thank you SO much for this lovely reminder that we all may need from time to time!! Thanks for putting it out here, so we can keep orselves on track…

  19. Happiness is not a destination. It is a mood, it is not permanent. It comes and goes and if people thought that way then maybe people would find happiness more often.

  20. I think a lot of these things are good practices like kindness or dreaming big. I think a happy person might be a little more thoughtful when choosing their trust or acceptance.

  21. These are great reminders. Of course there is no prescription for happiness, as it is often found just beside the darkest places. It is nice to read the discussion here. It reminds me that we are connected in spirit. Change your thoughts is one of those universal truths that inspires fear in itself. When Marianne Williamson turned our greatest fear on its head, it exemplified an innate perfection we seem to hamper. I am grateful for this morning, that great breakfast I had delivered, my work day ahead, albeit short, and my well-being. I trust that doors are opening-possibilites beyond my wildest dreams.

  22. I am glad the I am a proven happy soul. Happy for the efforts and time I have put in to achieve it. Thanks Nitin for making me understand life and helping me live happily and peacefully:)
    Love u.

  23. I agree that great people are same as everyone of us but they think and do things differently. Even then, I hardly think such great one’s can achieve success if he is surrounded by people who are completely stranger to his greatness and are all out to block every small door of his success steps! That’s to say that there is no exception for the law of interdependence to apply to anyone and in any situation!

  24. Well written and oh so true! I am one who suffers from severe clinical depression, panic disorder and filed bankruptcy just last year; guess what? I am happy. Life is too short and just has too much to offer to miss any moment wallowing in self- anything. I made up my mind years ago that I would only be as happy as I wanted to be. There is always someone else who needs a smile or a kind word and they aren’t always who you would expect them to be. I believe we are all one – the human race. One species who seems to want to focus on our differences rather than how we are all alike. We are stardust and have the capacity of greatness, great love, great hope, great compassion and profound dignity and kindness. Never let an opportunity to be kind pass you by…not to say you should be blind to those who would harm you, but as your article says, forgive and forget and cultivate some wisdom and you will take care of yourself along the way. Thank you for this wonderful article.

  25. Wow! great post. It takes effort to be happy. There is no substitute for hard work. I learned and reviewed the 15 at landmarkeducation.com, for most of us, in this life suffering is optional.

  26. I tried to post a comment, but it was apparently deemed inappropriate. I will try again.

    It is a fine thing to cultivate these attitudes. I do not disagree with them at all. But it is naive to suggest that things such as clinical depression and real poverty can be wished away by positive thinking. It is unkind to a person who is suffering to suggest that if they only had more upbeat, cheerful thoughts, their problems would go away. That is victim blaming.

    1. Fenriss, this site is not intended to provide, and does not constitute, medical, health, legal, investment, financial or other professional advice but rather it is here to help those who want to live a happier life by changing their thoughts, the way they see reality and the way they see themselves 🙂

      1. danaadmin: high five.. change your thoughts and change your life.. it is not naive to think that you are a creator of your reality.. therefore poverty and depression can be wished away if the mind is strong enough.. poverty is a state of mind, not a state of wallet.. how are some of the poorest countries inhabited by some of the happiest people in the world? whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.. henry ford said that.

    2. Victim blaming would be one way to look at it. Another way would be encouraging the person to will himself out of his miseries by being and staying positive.

    3. You are absolutely correct that thinking happy thoughts will not solve problems. This list is about where a person focuses their mind. If you want to change your life you have to focus on what you want and TAKE ACTION. Clinical depression and poverty can be replaced with happiness and abundance.

    1. These aren’t facts, they are interpretations. Not disagreeing with them, but ask 100 people to define happiness, gratitude, kindness, resistance, fearless, selfish, etc, and you will get 100 different answers for each of them. The list presents traits that will work for many people, yet how you interpret these things also has a lot to do with the outcome one gets

  27. Billy, Remember logic 101. Just because happy people have these traits in common does not necessarily mean that imitating these traits brings happiness. [even though happiness is always right there for us the instant we allow it to be.] For example: As a happy person I don’t hold a grudge; not because I’m trying to practice forgiveness, but because as a happy person I’m occupied with what interests me, Anger consumes itself quickly and the grudge is quickly forgotten on an emotional level even if the story and lesson of being wronged are recorded in a more conceptual memory.

  28. Happiness is not a permanent state or goal that you attain and then stop doing or behaving in the way that helps you feel happy, Billy. It is a way of looking at the world and it is a choice as the list indicates. Happy people choose to feel “gratitude” rather than “ingratitude.”

    No one can practice these principles and behaviours all the time and an all circumstance. But if you practice the principles in this list regularly, you experience of happiness will increase. There is no upper level limit on that!

    Kim

  29. Okay, so if one does all these positive steps listed for “X” period of time, and still unhappy, then what does that person do?
    How long does “X” need to be in order to achieve happiness?

    1. Jump in on this folks if you disagree! If youre doing all of the above ill venture to say that youre happy right now 😀

    2. This is a lifestyle, Billy. If you own these principles, you cannot help but become a more fulfilled individual. To put a time limit on change indicates that you don’t believe in the process. The only “essential” component to these wonderful principles is that I believe you have to have a spirit that is open to what is “good, lovely, pure and right”. To leave the spiritual element out of your life makes the process much more difficult. The Holy Spirit gives you the power to succeed. I say “seek God first, and all these things will be added to you”.

    3. Hey Billy,

      this is not a list of things or tasks that you have to do for a certain period of time, it’s not a prescription of a “to do” medicine, that you have to take in order to get happy. This is a way of life, which comes from inside you and is a natural instinct for you. You could say it’s a mindset. The good news is, if you are one of the people who have a natural and instinctive negative mindset (which is most of the people), the fact that you are asking how to change this, means you are already in the process of changing your mindset. You need to train your mind to think positive at all times. Try it, it’s very much like an exercise and is really quite difficult, but in the process of training your mind to develop a positive outlook all other things will fall into place.

      1. I’ve often said my internal transformation created a tremendous external transformation–100-pound weight loss. But again, the internal changes–moving from ‘fear’ to ‘love’, ‘exploring’ my reactions as opposed to ‘explaining’ my actions, and taking responsibility for my own happiness . . . these are the changes I’m most proud of. The 100-pound weight loss got me a new wardrobe, and 8 sprint triathlon completions, but it’s the internal joy/happiness/curiosity that really floats my boat!

    4. I’ve struggled with these through the years, and to some degree still do, but in my opinion these 15 things are not something you “do” to be happy, they are something you become. They involve a complete overhaul of your attitude and focus, and by making a conscious effort to become these things, they gradually become your natural state without having to make much of an effort at all. Peace! ;^)

    5. How would it be like to look at unhappiness as a challenge instead of a problem? By forgiving yourself through acceptance and trust… You will see how meaningful life becomes! Wishing you ease, inspiration and courage!

    6. billy, another thing that may help you out is “attitude” by charles swindoll. it’s got a good grasp on this concept as well. i love readin it. always inspires me.

      “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude . . . I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you . . . we are in charge of our attitudes.”

  30. Thank you so much! Im happy to have read this at the right time… I’ll make sure to read this note everyday to keep me reminded of these powerful things.. Thank u again!

  31. I feel a tad bit stronger myself after reading this article… I see some of these traits in myself <Gotta Have an AWESOME DAY ALL :))

  32. 🙂 Thank you so much for this. Saved it in a notebook (named “Inspire”, because this piece is really inspiring).

    It fits so well with my current mindset and encourages me to reinforce it. Thank you so very much.

    I am actually keeping it because I loved it and to remind me of the importance of these things, some of which seem trivial to certain people but are key to sanity. Yes, I do believe they are.

  33. Life isn’t always good, life isn’t always fair but I do agree that having a positive attitude and good positive values means that we have a better chance of making a go of it!

    Many thanks for your thoughtful post Dana 🙂

    1. I wake up every morning with the goal to be a better person from the day before– it has a snow ball effect you might not always be happy but there is a sense contentment………

  34. Happiness also yields better wrinkles! Smile lines vs frown lines! I think happiness can be obtained thru valuing each blessing & Letting go of trying to control outcomes & others. The happiest I have ever been was when I had no money. It meant less worries, less pre-occupations, & less reason to cut back on sleep!

  35. These are all things I have learned and am learning to practice more regularly each day. These attitudes can be learned. At first an “unhappy” person may not believe in what they are being asked to do in following these choices of focus, but as they try it and realise their life is better, they will want to change and take these ideologies on board. (At least that has been my experience in my own journey).

  36. While I agree with all these points, I find it self-serving. Someone who is already happy find this list validating, but a depressed person seeking advice can’t benefit from these vague dualities. this list might as well contain one item: “happiness vs.unhappiness”

    1. Amen, Brother 🙂 “Well, depressed people just need to change the way they think” — kind of like a person with no legs just needs to grow new ones…

    2. Daniel and Rich – great comments.
      I think it is easy for a happy people to discuss the road to happiness (since it is acted as a “no-brainer”
      ..”its so easy a cave man can do it”) but not able to formally walk through the details of how to achieve happiness to an unhappy person.

  37. All these things mentioned are a description of how to truly practice Christianity, only they all lack the basic and most important ingredient…..Faith. Love is only mentioned in #1, but should also be included in all.

  38. I loved this. Really loved this. But here is my question. If I do 13/15 of these things already, why don’t I feel more happy? Is it because one of the main things I can’t do (be present, I stink at it) trumps everything? Any guidance would be appreciated here. Please readers, help me 🙂

  39. Once upon a time I lived a happy existence with good mindset, with all fifteen key ingredients. Then I married a very negative person. I have spent so much time trying to get him to see all the good. But I feel like I have been pushing against a brick wall for ten years.

  40. But what do you do when there is infidelity in your life? How can I forgive betrayal? I do not know how to move on.

    1. Set boundaries an keep them. Make them known in a clear , positive sense and mean it. Once they are crossed, cut your losses and move on. With something so serious an offence as infidelity, its best to just forgive at a distance.

  41. This seems to put happy/unhappy people in the typical binary bind. It’s not like that. I am a happy person who falters often on many of the 15. It’s the perspective that matters. It’s also resilience. If I can bounce back and (eventually) see how I’ve been ungenerous, unkind and recognize it, then I can continue to shift my POV. It’s never either/or. It’s a learning journey for life.

  42. All of this sounds great, but much of it is simply not true at all.

    First off, being personally happy is not my ultimate goal. If you wanna talk about selflessness versus selfishness, you can start with people who strive to be happy about their own lives first and foremost. This is where hedonism comes into play. Many people today do only what is pleasurable and desirable for themselves. Is that selfish? Absolutely.

    Secondly, I live in Literalville, where real things happen to real people. I am very happy in my life even though things around me can be very difficult and very trying. I do not live in the American Idol neighborhood of life, where it’s some fantasy world that I can escape to when things get tough. That’s what people do when they cannot cope.

    Thirdly, the whole “acceptance vs resistance” thing is a total joke. If the Founding Fathers had not resisted and had not be determined to change their circumstances, the USA would never have been founded. How’s that for the truth? MLK preached peaceful resistance until his untimely death in 1968. What is wrong with resisting things that are wrong? The German Lutherans in the 30s and 40s did NOT resist the killing of over 6 million Jews. They stood there and were basically complicit in those killings. Sure, they would have had to risk life and limb in resistance, but aren’t some things worth that sacrifice? Going along to get along is a trait of weakness that I don’t wanna have.

    Meaning vs ambition—-what if it gives my life meaning to cheat on my wife and family? According to you I should do that because I get something wonderful out of it. What a destructive concept you’re promoting. Have you ever heard of doing things out of duty and honor and self respect? Some things in life must be done regardless whether it benefits us personally or not. This is something that the writer seems not to understand. Living for yourself and your personal pleasure and enrichment is totally selfish.

    Praising vs criticizing—It is great to hear comments that uplift us. I agree. But it is also beneficial to hear that we’re in need of some change in the way we do things. Criticism about me as a person is one thing. Constructively criticizing my work helps me to be better in the long run. The only way we know what we need to work on is to have it pointed out to us occasionally. That’s called life.

    Dreaming big vs being realistic—I think you can do both. There is nothing at all wrong with dreaming big, but all dreams MUST have a dose of reality mixed in with them. If your dream is to go to North Korea and turn that country into a democratic republic where individual freedom and liberty are abundant, then you need a reality check. Have you ever heard of being “grounded” in life? That, to me, says that you always know in the back of your mind that reality will ultimately rule. Again, this is not positive or negative….it’s the truth. People need to learn to live with and to accept truth rather than some polyanna view of life.

    Positivity vs negativity—this has been largely misunderstood and has gotten a bad rap. People who go around all day who only say things that people want to hear are not living in the real world. Sorry, but that is just right. I knew a man years ago who just could not accept that his son was going to die of cancer. If you asked him how Peter was doing with the latest failed treatment, he would say every single time that “things were fine” and that he was going to “beat the cancer”. Ultimately, he didn’t beat it. But the father just could not accept the reality of truth that none of the treatments worked, ever. He persistently got worse. Sooner or later people have to own up to the facts and deal with the truth even if it is hard to hear. That’s called being an adult.

    I don’t want to be a positive person or a negative person. Life is not fair, and you have to deal with the reality of each situation. A positive outlook on every situation may make you feel better about it, but that won’t change the situation at all. There are many things in life that must be changed. Change starts in the mind and then moves on to a plan of action. Once that plan begins to take hold, the positive vibes can start bubbling up. I want to live in Literalville where words mean things and where I see things and people for what and whom they are.

    1. Hi Scott,

      I think some of your problems with this article can be attributed to a misreading of the “acceptance vs. resistance” point, one which you contradict yourself as you seek to refute later points. I believe the author means that it is necessary to accept the reality of the situation before any meaningful change can be enacted. Without a doubt, this country’s founding fathers needed to accept that they were living in a colonized state, lacking the freedom they desired. By accepting the status quo as their reality they were then able to understand it, assess it, and decide how to best effect change (through resistance and then revolution). So too Martin Luther King Jr. Had he refused to accept the fact that there was horrific inequality in this country, had he lived in denial about it, or ignored it in any way, he would not have been able to lead the heroic resistance movement that made the world a much better place. And I personally believe that had the Germans, as a whole, truly accepted that their government was in the process of murdering 6 million people, then they would have risen up and not allowed the nazi party to fulfill its gruesome goals.

      I believe you make this point yourself when you speak of the father you knew who could not accept his son’s illness. Had he been able to accept how sick his son really was perhaps he could have sought alternative treatments or once the illness was truly terminal he could have helped his son face his death and properly said goodbye. Through accepting the reality one is able to respond more effectively. Sometimes the best response is resistance, but first must come acceptance of what it is you are resisting.

      All the best

    2. “Melancholy is a fearful gift; what is it but the telescope of truth.” -lord Byron
      If seeing the reality in things means not being happy all the time then sign me up.

  43. I agree with most of it, but platitudes like #5 and #10 are always written by people who have the freedom to choose how they will earn. That financial security is a cushion on which to fall if they drop security to chase after an idea. A single parent with a high school education might be forgiven for not being so idealistic.

  44. Abundance – do you have what you need right now? Tomorrow will take care of itself, just as today and yesterday did.
    Thanks Dana for the awesome reminders!

  45. I forgive always…Have a hard time with the forget part. I let it not control me yet I do use the memory to remind me when certain circumstances arise once again.

    1. I totally agree Jeff, I have no problem with forgiveness, no problem about not forgetting either, in fact I believe I remember conversations of the hurtful type, betrayal type etc, very vividly, but use them as future lessons.

      I do not ‘hang on to them” out of remorse, anger or revenge – they are just facts, incidents which happened, which are a learning tool, they helped me arrive at the wonderful life I now lead, helped form the wonderful person that I am.

  46. Do you think an unhappy person can become a happy person or do you think it is something deep down that will never change?

    1. It would be veery sad to think an unhappy person couldn’t become happy. Perhaps age might come into this here a bit because I spent way too much time being miserable when I was younger for a variety of reasons but now in my early 60’s I certainly have the wisdom to see errors within myself. Such a waste of time and I could never find he strength within myself to ‘be’ myself. I was so shy, quiet, unsure and naive. Was criticized a lot by parents who smothered my dreams saying that I always a dreamer and unrealistic etc etc. You have to believe in yourself, like yourself and if you don’t like yourself then change what it is that you don’t like. No point if you don’t. Be kind always, to yourself and to others and don’t harbour feelings of anger as they will feed upon you like a cancer and you will never be happy. Wear a smile and be the first to say hello to people when you are out. Mostly you will get a positive response and you will feel good. If you don’t, then maybe that person is going through a bad time, you just don’t know, but don’t worry about it. These are small things but they help to make you happy and I would also say that ‘love’ is the one thing you get more of by giving it away. 🙂

    2. Speaking as a formally unhappy person on the path to conscious happiness, I have to say yes, it’s possible, but you have to be aware of yourself and your actions at all times until being your good-natured self becomes the norm. Its all about perspective; you have to be willing to surrender and change all aspects of your energy down to the very essence of your language. Consciously change the wording you use toward yourself and toward others, then change your habits entirely, and slowly move toward working on your outlook. Don’t ever under estimate the power of your mind; it is reprogrammable at all times, and is very [chemically] responsive to positive energy. At first its difficult, but start by generating positive thoughts within yourself, then incorporate positive activities, and before you know it you will draw in positive, accepting people– all of which will shift your mind in immeasurable ways. So yes, long story short I def believe it is possible to change 🙂 You’ve just gotta be willing to put in the effort.

    3. Nothing never changes. I chose to be happy and inadvertantly, though my own ways, started living each of these. Being unhappy is unnatural.. It’s pretty easy to see that given the evidence of what people [at least think they] are unhappy about. A sidenote about that, given how consciousness works and how our brains work, we really are never unhappy for the reasons we think. Anyway, I’m rambling at this point… In sum, a person can always change. In this case, it’s a pure example of #15. I would tell this unhappy person to take responsibility for your life and don’t blame anything for “making” you unhappy.

      1. #15 is actually the one that bothers me the most. It only works for some of us. How can an abused child or political prisoner possibly be required to accept responsibility for the injustices thrust upon them? Right??

        1. In cases of extreme injustice or abuse, perhaps the way to implement #15 is to take responsibility for your healing – not what was done to you. Identify the actions that are deserving of blame, accept that those things happened to you and you can’t change them, and then move forward from there. Otherwise, the abuse never really stops, it just changes form to be an internal torment.

    4. anyone can become happy! it’s a choice. you may have to work it, but it’s a choice. ask for guidance and it will come.

    5. Absolutely, an unhappy person can become a happy person. It is a choice to be happy. Anyone can chose to let go of negativity and become happy. There is hope. 🙂

      I recommend a very good book to those who are trying to learn about how to be happy. It is titled “Telling Yourself the Truth”. It is a short, but very powerful book. I really recommend running out to get yourself a copy.

  47. One through fifteen, all true, all worthwhile, and all, except for number twelve, a daily struggle. Because number twelve comes easily*, there is gratitude for the struggle itself.

    *I recently fell down a flight of stairs and wound up smashing my forehead on marble which arrested my momentum abruptly. After checking to make sure there were no severe injuries, the feeling I was overcome by was gratitude; not only for the lack of real damage but also for the fall, which was clearly a message that I was proceeding with an overabundance of pride.

  48. # 9 Could you elaborate on what an abundance mindset really is, how a person with it approaches financial decisions and how this happy person utilizes that mindset to achieve “abundance in all areas”.

    1. Neva, there is so much to say on the subject and I will make sure to write a post on this subject in the near future as I am sure many people will benefit from it 🙂

  49. I like and agree with most of whats written. Happy people are also great filters that may hear negative, but choose to not understand it so that it has no meaning, unless they are focused to help change it.

  50. I love this…had to share it with my business partners. We host videos on our site about living the law of attraction and this is great food for thought. Bright, brief, real and relavant. Thanks!!

  51. Some of this is true but some of it is not. I don’t agree with everything and that’s why I’m happy. Freedom of choice makes me happy and being able to adapt to any situation makes me happy. Happy people make the right decisions for them selves and thats why I believe they are happy. They forgive but don’t forget so they don’t make the same mistakes. They learn from the past and teach others.

    1. J. “Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” Buddha

  52. I agree with this article completely, except that I think a lot of happy people are more realistic than the article lets the reader believe, from number 10. I think happy people are realistic, and I don’t really think that the other side of being realistic is having big dreams. That’s a little ironic, isn’t it? I kinda feel like the article is saying that it isn’t realistic to think that your big dreams could come true. I have big dreams, and I have realistic motives and realistic small goals to reach that big dream. Whenever I meet someone or see something that I think may lead me to that, I pounce on it and see what I can learn or accomplish that day to work towards it! I think that’s being pretty realistic, isn’t it? I’m not expecting it to just happen out of the blue with no work towards it, but I know I won’t get anywhere if I don’t do anything towards it!

    1. Of course they are realistic Kristin, but not as realistic as the majority and of course, being realistic can mean different things for different people. Nothing will happen out of the blue, we need to work on making things happen, but if we go with the flow of life, chances are that life will be a lot easier for us 🙂

  53. Great article!! The book “Happiness Works! Get Yours Here” by Stephen Whiteley is a great book for teaching techniques to achieve this. Was named “Most Inspirational Book of the Year” by Ashford Publishing. 🙂

    1. Thank you Lori 🙂 I will look into that. Have you read the Happiness Advantage? Such a great book. Love it! And also, The How of Happiness…

  54. I like this and I do try to be like this in my life. Except I would say that I also think there is a place for difficult emotions too, fear, sadness, grief, especially if there has been a huge loss in ones life, and these emotions need to be expressed. So there are some experiences in life that being positive does not help. Also some people live in poverty because of the structures in society.

    1. Of course they need to be expressed Liz, and I do apologize if I gave the impression that we should not do that 🙂

      We experience happy and not so happy feelings and we shall respect them all, acknowledge that they are present in our lives and learn from everything that happens to us in order for us to grow and evolve to grow wiser instead of older 🙂

  55. It’s nice to know that I’m happy and not weird like everybody thinks. I agree with every single statement.

  56. All good, expet I hate the word “Chalange.”
    Usualy it is used in a relay patronzing way to mean something realy difficult, unpleasant, frustrationg and boring.
    Climbing a mountain is a chalange, Doing a mountain of paperwork is just a drag. Call things what they are.

  57. All are true except #8. When you act in your personal interest, you are able to bring to others the positivity you offer society. This is how innovation occurs.

      1. I’d like to back up John and “No Fan” on behalf of libertarianism…

        It’s obviously important to look out for #1 and to take care of yourself; that’s sort of the point of this article.

        However, doing what’s “good” for you at the expense of society as a whole is BAD ECONOMICS, not to mention kind of a dick move.

        The libertarian school of thought existed long before Ayn Rand wrote her book. She had some good ideas, but c’mon. Being a sociopath = bad.

    1. Ron, you are right, and I see it like a journey, first you discover who you are and what you love, and then you work on giving the best of yourself to those around you knowing that doing what you love will always make you happy. Balance is the key 🙂

  58. I LOVE this article!!!
    But I must say that #4 makes no sense to me. I would like to hear a more thorough explanation of this.

    1. From my own life experience, it means to trust that all is well and you do NOT have to figure out all the How’s it gonna happen.
      You trust that what you want to see happen will happen and trust that it will be ALWAYS in your best interest even if at first light, it does not.
      Does that help at all? Hugs, Anita

    2. In other words, #4 speaks about being able to be secure with who they are and do not overtly seek out another persons differences. They are able to see the other person as another happy being weather its a cleaning lady or Donald Trump.

    3. I know people who assume the worst of everyone — no matter who the other person is. This is the meaning I take from #4. If you assume the worst — the contractor is going to screw you, the new neighbors are going to be unfriendly, the new boss is going to be a tyrant, whatever — you are likely to get those exact results, because you PROJECT that assumption whether you realize it or not. Body language, voice tone, even subtle word choices can have dramatic effect on how others treat you and respond to you.

    4. Trusting your inner self, trusting your intuition and trusting everybody around you, Lola and I love how everybody jumped in to help 🙂 I love it!

      You can write me a private message if you want and I will make sure to explain more 🙂

  59. I see, as I read these comments, many conflicting perspectives. I would challenge those who felt anything other than love and inspiration in this list to ask themselves why and then re-read it and sit with each part in a quiet place and allow the message and the love in.
    Absolutely Wonderful!
    “The greatest thing about truth is it just IS. It doesn’t require beliefs to BE so.” Mark Smith.
    I found this information to ring true to my soul. Thank you so much for sharing!

  60. This article has given me an inspiration to improve my attitude. I feel that I am a happy person and express this to those around me however; I get wrapped up in the day to day mess of stress and forget to smile, hug wave or give an orange to a hungry person (I did that today and it made me feel great, the guy looked at me like I was crazy! His sign said HUNGRY!). I look at this article/research as an inturpretation not gospel; it made me feel good and by the comments a lot of people are feeling good about the happiness in their lives.

  61. Great article… and as far as Robby is concerned, your comments, although not entirely off base, come across as the most unhappy amongst the entire post. Why do you think that is? I consider myself a realist. I admit that I am an intelligent and professional person who sees the good in most things, but using my powers of observance as well as reflecting upon lived moments, I know that ignorance can be bliss. Why is this so wrong?
    Sometimes I wish I could be more ignorant as to not see the horrible atrocities in this world… but the flip-side is knowing and actually participating in the remedying of the problems that you witness. Once you can put yourself second and others first leads to happiness in my eyes.

  62. I know I have been failing on a lot of these. When you are bipolar, sometimes it is hard to focus on anything but the bad, what is lacking, and how you don’t measure up. Being nice to myself has always been one of my biggest struggles.

    I will do my best to carry the ideas in this post with me. Also, well-timed post. I needed this today.

  63. I have been living by these “things” in my head my entire life! Most people look at me in disbelief, they always say I “win” and nothing ever happens to me… what they don’t know is…it does…but it doesn’t CONTROL me. I LOVE THIS LIFE! It’s all temporary… Thanks for sharing the TRUTH!

  64. This is a very uplifting article, and should be read by everyone occasionally. I don’t agree that happy people are unrealistic. That is another dimension that is related. Being happy and being realistic are NOT mutually exclusive.

  65. Actually, this article is quite horrible. What isn’t commonsense or practical regardless of being “happy” is deluded. There was a great study that in a nutshell proved pessimistic people are actually the most realistic people because seeing things truthfully is often quite depressing. Dreaming big and being a realist are mutually exclusive ideas, but the way they’re described here is that you are either pratical and unhappy for being able to recognize what actually is happening or happy for being in a false state. Which actually is the fault of the article: it privileges happiness as this state that actually sounds idealistic, unprofessional, and unsuccessful. And studies show those characteristics lead to unhappiness. Try reading some research on the idea instead of arbitrarily spouting ideas.

    1. Robby, I don’t quite understand your comments but of course I believe we should always keep an open mind and test things, see what works for us and what not because you never know what pleasant surprises you might get by doing so 🙂

      And as far asa the research… I have been doing research for years and years and everything that is shared here on the blog is a result of that and even more 🙂

    1. Why make things complicated? I could do that, i could use all these fancy and academic words but why would I do that? I love simplicity and just like Da Vinci said it: “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

  66. alva,
    Acceptance vs. resistance doesn’t mean accepting that a negative or intolerable situation (abuse of authority for example) is how it “should be” and continue in that pattern. It means accepting that is currently how it *is* so that you can clearly understand and figure out how to change it.

    It is the difference between reacting “This shouldn’t be happening! I can’t believe they would do that! This is just so wrong!” with the anger and accompanying waste of energy and reacting “This is what is happening, I have to accept that this is the way it is even if I don’t like it. Now what can I do to change that?”

    At least that is the way I see it. This type of acceptance allowed me to overcome debilitating chronic illness, so I feel it is important and powerful. YMMV

  67. GREAT ARTICLE!

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I have indeed read the two before mine. Yes, Mabel, I see your point and I think you’re right, however–one could say that seeing one’s boss who treats everyone like poo and going out and getting another job could be considered acceptance and not resistance. In other words, I say, “yes, he treats everyone poorly, I accept that and I know that there’s a reason he does this, but my reality is that this isn’t good for me. Thus, instead of resisting him/her and acting poorly, I’ll bide my time, act well on the job until I get a new job.” If that results in getting a new job, then acceptance–not resistance–is what helped you forge a positive change. 🙂

    And Alva, I see your point, too. I think if you think about it, you might conclude that acceptance–not resistance–of an existing situation might well propel a person to do good as he/she puts up with that situation, OR changes the way he/she handles it, possibly taking action to help self or others. And yes! Of course, one can have big dreams and still be realistic, taking small, practical steps. That is, of course, how big things get done. However, the dreamer should never lose sight of his or her big dreams. 🙂

  68. Good outline but I call bs on # 2. Unless you want to be taken for a pushover or be a sheep, you need to recognize when you SHOULD accept the status quo or authority. How else can you improve things for yourself and others? You can be respectful about your method of resistance, but often, you will be settling for less than is ideal if you meekly accept an answer, outcome or situation, when some resistance will factor a change or observance of a better solution. If you merely ask yourself, “what can I learn from this?” you become complacent to just be looking at the bright side/finding the silver lining, when resistance and hesitance to accept might actually push the situation into providing improvement for you AND others.
    Likewise Dreaming big vs being Realistic. These are not necessarily mutually exclusive. You can dream big and work with realistic goals to achieve the dream. It might just take small REALISTIC steps.
    Also, you can give people the benefit of the doubt, and practice the golden rule, but I trust people that prove themselves trustworthy.
    I prefer my happiness to be practical and based on reality.

  69. Re: #14: I have a really hard time seeing every single bloody thing as positive. It’s not realistic. In REAL life, sometimes things happen that suck, that are awful, or that need to be fixed. For example, if I work somewhere with a boss who is an ass and treats everyone like poo, I’m not going to be accepting. I’m going to find another job. I can’t say that is anything to “accept.” I may have to put up with it for a while until I can leave, but wouldn’t taking myself out of a bad situation be a good thing? If I’m running around throwing flowers like Pollyanna and chirping “Ohhh he’s just craaaabby todaaaay,” that’s just fake. It doesn’t help anyone. It won’t pay my medical bills for the stress-related illness he causes.

    I actually got laid off from a very stressful job recently. You know what? Physically I feel a lot better. It still sucks and I have no idea what I’m going to do, but I think I got out of there in the nick of time. I’m trying to be realistic in that I know I have to work, but I know I can’t handle another situation like that or I’ll end up in the hospital.

    Read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright Sided: How Positive Thinking is Undermining America” for a really good look at how this is messing things up.

    1. Mabel, not sure if you are familiar with the work and life story of Viktor E. Frankl, but I think this will help you understand that you always have a choice to chose whether to react or respond to a specific situation

      “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

      We all have a choice…

  70. Number 15 is very wrong….people with an external locus of control are happier because they don’t hate themselves for things that have gone wrong.

    1. Baby steps, careful planning, mindset…It’s quite a process to reach one’s dreams, but those who give up will not reach them. Many millionaires and billionaires have also been bankrupt ‘3 times ‘- so maybe your friends are close!

  71. My boyfriend posted this article for me, saying I’m the happiest person he knows. After reading this article, I am beyond flattered. Although I do not identify myself all the time with ALL, I will definitely strive to do so. Thank you for writing such wonderful words, I’m sure this has changed and inspired many.

  72. I know you’ll disagree with me, but I believe it’s possible to be rational and happy simultaneously. In fact, I believe it’s important to be rational (you use the word realistic) because the ramifications of making ill informed decisions could create a world of unhappiness for you. Maybe you think I’m unhappy because I’m realistic, but ultimately, who are you to say that I’m unhappy?

    1. Brent, I don’t disagree 🙂 I respect other people’s opinions and points of view and I am always open and willing to see things from a different perspective. I also believe in balance and I know for sure that we can have both 🙂

  73. Brilliant! I reflect on happiness a lot as part of my work as well as my own journey. While I have many of these on my list, I had missed others. Thank you for filling in the gaps. What a great vision to share. I will be sure to pass it on.

    1. Who me? Oh no. I don’t smoke but I do meditate a lot and I have been told that I sometimes I act like a person who is on crack 🙂

      I am organic 🙂

    1. Just like you are doing? blaming Liberals for blaming others? I’m Liberal and I find that most of us do just the opposite.

  74. really enjoyed this article, I completely agree with everything said, I think every child should be taught and encouraged to practice these principles from a young age