The Secrets Of Happiness

“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”

Benjamin Franklin

Success Secrets

When I survey people and ask them what they want, most people tell me they “just want to be happy” or they “want to be successful.” Somehow they think they have to choose between one or the other. But that’s not true. Harvard professor Shawn Achor has spent years researching the questions, sharing his conclusions in his “Harvard Business Review” article entitled “Happiness Leads To Profits.”

Achor goes on to say that a decade of research in the business world proves that happiness raises nearly every business and educational outcome: raising sales by 37%, productivity by 31%, and accuracy on tasks by 19%, as well as a myriad of health and quality-of-life improvements. In other words you can be happy AND successful. Indeed you should be. As Achor emphatically concludes his research, our single greatest advantage in the modern economy is a happy and engaged workforce.

Last week I gave 57 “secrets of success,” partly inspired by Speaker Hall of Famer Michael Aun. Dipping into his wisdom once again, along with some of my own, let me share …


  • Character isn’t something you were born with and stuck with … like your finger prints. It’s something you must take responsibility for forming … and the same goes for happiness.
  • Destiny isn’t a matter of chance; it’s a matter of choice.
  • Life is full of good sound reasons and reasons that sound good. Choose wisely.
  • Nobody cares if you can’t dance well. Just get up and dance. 
  • Happiness is found in doing. Not merely in possessing.
  • Never look for bargains in parachutes or brain surgeons. Life’s costs are like air conditioning in your car. They aren’t tax-deductible but it’s nice to ride in comfort.
  • Learn to save money. People who spare now won’t despair later.
  • Being broke is a temporary condition. Being poor is a state of mind. When you live right, things tend to go right.
  • Being sad and wealthy beats being sad and poor all day long.
  • Organize or agonize.
  • Problems are just unresolved opportunities.
  • Live within your budget. Better yet, live beneath your means.
  • Happy people are focused more on you-you-you than me-me-me.
  • Don’t sell out your integrity because it’s almost impossible to buy back. 
  • Trust is a must or the relationship will bust. 
  • Be willing to ask others for help. It will divide your problem and double your joy. 
  • Forgive. Forgiveness is not saying what the other person did was right. It’s not about letting them off the hook but letting yourself off the hook.
  • Make promises sparingly and keep them faithfully.
  • Be who you are and stand by your beliefs. Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
  • Make the other person feel important. Compliment often. Don’t make someone feel smaller than he is; he will make up for it by behaving like a “big shot.” 
  • Don’t preach. Most people already know what’s right and wrong. Besides that, preaching typically requires years of theological training that most likely you do not have.
  • Movement toward any goal is better than analysis paralysis. Remember, done is better than perfect. 
  • It’s not about perfection but direction.
  • The key to happiness is having dreams. The key to success is making your dreams come true.
  • How you handle yourself on the bad days will determine your success on the good days. Remember the baseball hitter who leads the majors with a .400 average; he’s still failing six out of ten times that he goes to the plate.
  • Happiness is your responsibility, not others. Don’t waste your life in search of ultimate satisfaction. Find pleasure each moment you live and satisfaction with each breath you take. Decide to be happy. One day it will be your last breath.
  • Fall in love with what you’re doing in life or stop doing it. Remember, if the horse is dead, get off it!
  • Tough problems never last; tough people do. 
  • To have a sense of control, know where you ’re going and why you ’re going there. 
  • Out of every negative comes at least one positive. 
  • If you don’t prepare for change you’ll never be prepared for the future.
  • Many of life’s events are beyond your control, but how you react to them is within your control.
  • When things go wrong, look in the mirror and you’ll generally find the responsible party.
  • Worrying is stewing, not doing. Worry is the price you pay for something that has less than one chance in ten of happening.
  • Wear a smile. It increases your face value and one size fits all.
  • FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.
  • Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.
  • The world is not fair. Accept it.
  • Things will not always go your way. Deal with it.
  • Everyone will not agree with you, get along with you, or treat you the way you would like. So what?
  • Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.
  • Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath.
  • Your attitude accounts for about 80% of your happiness and success. And that’s one thing you control totally. 
  • Upon close examination, many things that might annoy you are truly petty. So keep on asking yourself, In the big picture, does this thing really matter that much? 
  • Sweating the small stuff makes you a small person. Be quick to let things go.
  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour. 
  • The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.
  • Get outside and look around every day. Miracles are happening everywhere.
  • Always choose life.
  • Over prepare, then go with the flow.
  • Believe in miracles.
  • Remind yourself the best is yet to come.
  • Write down four things you ’re thankful for every day. It will make you a happier person. 
  • Pray big, think big, act big, dream big, work big, give big, forgive big, love big, live big and laugh big.
  • However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
  • Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don’t worry; God never blinks.
  • Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger … and most times happier.

Scientifically, happiness is a choice. It is a choice about where your brain will devote its finite resources as you process the world. If you and your brain scan for the negative first, your brain literally has no resources left over to see the positive things for which you could and should be . Your brain has no energy left over to see the meaning embedded in your work. But if you scan the world for the positive, you start to reap an amazing happiness advantage.

Given the unprecedented level of unhappiness at companies and the direct link between happiness and business outcomes, Researcher Shawn Achorthe says the question is NOT whether happiness should matter to companies. Given the research, it clearly should. The first question is: What can I do in my own life to reap the advantage of happiness?” Re-read the list above … on a daily basis. And come join me for my “Journey to the Extraordinary” experience coming to Chicago on November 14-15, 2013. It will put you on the right path at work and at home for years to come.

ACTION:  Decide on how you’re going to get the list … “The Secrets of Happiness” … into your consciousness on a daily basis.