Habits of Happy and Successful People
Lessons for my children
Welcome to “Off the Clock,” the Saturday edition of Timeless & Timely that’s a fun look at language, words, and behavior.
When each of my children was born, I did two things:
I reserved their domain name.
I purchased a leather journal.
The domain name is self-explanatory; I want them to be able to control their own platform, to be able to do whatever they do with it.
In the journals, I write them notes on a somewhat regular basis. Observations about them and about myself. And things I think are important for them to know about the world.
Here’s an entry I wrote on the habits of happy people.
Habits of Happy and Successful People
1. They develop a positive mental attitude and display it to others.
It's often easier to give into cynicism (especially these days), but when we choose positivity, we set ourselves up for success.
2. They always speak in a carefully disciplined, friendly tone.
The best communicators speak deliberately and confidently, in a way that is inviting to others.
3. They pay close attention to someone speaking to them, making them feel like the most important person in the world.
Putting down your phone, making eye contact, and giving someone your undivided attention is a gift.
4. They are able to maintain their composure in all circumstances.
An overreaction to something either positive or negative can give people a poor impression. Silence may be much more effective than an emotional response.
5. They are patient.
You don’t need to speak first or go first. If you wait to speak or act, that may give you an advantage over impatient people. Especially if you can respond with something more thoughtful, intelligent, or impactful.
We talked more about patience in the newsletter and podcast:
6. They keep an open mind.
When you close yourself off from certain ideas and associate only with like-minded people, you may miss out on not only personal growth but also opportunities for advancing your career.
7. They know that not all their thoughts need to be expressed.
Just because you have a social media account or the attention of others doesn’t mean you need to blurt out every little thing you’re thinking. The most likable people know it's not worth offending people by expressing all their thoughts, even if they happen to be true.
8. They don't procrastinate.
Procrastination says you're afraid of taking action. Any action is better than none at all. And when others see procrastination, they may perceive indecisiveness or indifference.
9. They engage in at least one good deed a day.
Ask yourself “What did I do today that was helpful?” How did you contribute to making the world a better place? It doesn’t have to be a grand overture. In fact, smaller gestures are more immediate, more effective, and deeply felt.
10. They find a lesson in failure rather than brood over it.
People admire those who grow from failure rather than wallow in it. Think of it as a gift. This is at the heart of resilience. Think of FAIL as an acronym, as Kat Cole does: First Attempt In Learning.
11. They give others room to fail gracefully.
Others will make mistakes around you; it’s not always up to you to point out their errors. In fact, showing them the dignity they deserve may endear you to them.
12. They praise others in a genuine way without being excessive.
People like to hear when they’re doing well or when they have a trait that is admirable. But you don’t need to be effusive, because it can sound disingenuous.
13. They have someone they trust point out their flaws.
Successful people don’t pretend to be likable; they are likable because they care about their conduct and reputation. Having a confidant who can point out your flaws allows you to continue growing.
Have you observed other behavior in happy, successful, and likable people? Leave a comment.
Scott, I truly do love EVERY post I read of yours. Hence, my subscribing a few weeks ago. But this one, coming as it does at graduation time, is especially meaningful to me. Would you mind if I shared with the teachers and kids with whom I'm working over the next month or so? Kind regards, Steve Peha
Sincere question: What do you teach your children about the underlying stress and work of being an oppressed person? Because from your position as a white male with good finances I think it's very precious to talk about being positive, patient and unemotional. I hear that and that is meaningful. But what I am not reading here is teaching your children how to understand what it means to come from privilege, what it means to be white and how things like "emotional" can be interpreted differently by different sexes, races and cultural experiences. I'd love to see more of that in your teaching of your children. Lots of love to you