key to happinessLast time I talked about how science has found that happiness = success.  Be happy first and success will follow.  So, how does one do that?  Well, Shawn Anchor (the author of The Happiness Advantage) said that in the Harvard study, they looked at the patterns and characteristics of people who are happy and successful and some common themes emerged. 

1. Happy and successful people are optimistic.  That means that they believe that the things that they think, say and do really matter.  They believe this even when circumstances may be suggesting otherwise.  This is why athletes and musicians spend hours and hours practicing and building their skills by failing and making many mistakes – they know that all of their efforts matter and their failed attempts will pay off in the end. 

How does this translate to your business?  Well, it means that you continue to focus on your end desire and believe that everything you do is an important step toward reaching your goal even when:  you go to networking meetings and don’t get any referrals or bring in any new clients  . . .  you pour your heart and soul into a blog and receive very little feedback on your posts . . . you are doing great work with clients and having amazing results and still your business isn’t building as fast as you want it to . . .  you schedule a workshop and no one signs up.  No matter what you current circumstances suggest, you know that what you do and who you are makes a difference.

2. Happy and successful people build a social support network filled with positive people who believe in their potential.  In a separate study on happiness, researchers found that if you have one happy friend, then your overall happiness improves by 15%.  If your happy friend has a happy friend, then your happiness improves another 10% and if the happy friend of your happy friend has a happy friend, then your happiness increases by another 10%, even if you don’t know that person.  Since we are all connected by the wireless network of our mirror neurons (as discussed last time), then who we associate with and how we interact with them makes a difference in our happiness.  When we associate with positive, happy people who associate with other happy people, we are much happier.

3. Happy and successful people know how to manage their stress in positive and productive ways.  They have a toolbox of stress management skills and they use them.  One positive pattern is that when they are stressed, instead of withdrawing and isolating, happy and successful people reach out to their social network.  They call people, schedule times to meet with them in person so that they can shift to a more positive perspective.

4. Happy and successful people are grateful.  They train their brain to scan their environment looking for things that are going well and things to be grateful for.  Even in times of crises, they are searching for opportunities and ways to make positive changes in their situation.  The truth is that what you focus your attention on expands and amplifies.  When you are grateful and focusing on the positive, the positive will expand and there will be more to be grateful for.

So, you can decide to be happy now by doing the following things:

  1. Believe that what you think, what you say and what you do matters – YOU matter!
  2. Develop your social network and make friends with positive people who believe in your potential and who have happy friends who have happy friends.
  3. Learn and use positive and productive stress management techniques and regularly reach out to your social network, especially when you are stressed.
  4. Train your brain to look for what is going well and the opportunities that are always available
  5. Be grateful.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article.  Please share them below.

melanie2-smMelanie Yost LCSW is an Author, Speaker, and Business Mentor for motivated business owners ready to break through to the next level. She teaches them how to integrate their unique skills, natural abilities and lifestyle priorities into their business planning and marketing strategies so that they can make more money than they ever thought possible and have fun doing it.

A psychotherapist for 20 years, Melanie combines a wealth of effective and creative tools that empower her clients to transform their lives, their situations, and most importantly, their outcomes. When people are looking for an opportunity to create a 180 degree turn in their finances, beliefs, business and lives, they seek Melanie’s acute wisdom and trusted advice. Melanie’s coaching is a mix of practicality, mindset, strategy and marketing. If you have ever wanted to get out from under the limitations of your business and start living your passion and loving what you do, her coaching is a must!