I’m a sucker for lists, so I loved one that I came upon recently called “Nine Habits Happy People Ditched a Long Time Ago,” which are as follows:
- They don’t compare themselves to other people.
- They don’t need to succeed on their own.
- They don’t ignore an obvious source of fun.
- They don’t wish for luck.
- They aren’t afraid of being afraid.
- They aren’t afraid to be “immature”.
- They don’t forget to be happy for other people.
- They don’t act against their values.
- They aren’t afraid to be themselves.
(Maybe I would be happier if I didn’t see a big red flag at number 6, but then again, rolling my car windows down and blasting loud rock music at the first sign of spring each year as if I was still 16 might mean that I’ve actually mastered that one!)
There is a chicken versus egg argument to be made about whether these are actions that make people happy or whether the habits result from having happiness in one’s life. Furthermore, since we don’t know what research went into formulating such a list (or most anything else on the web), maybe we should take it with a grain of salt, but having said that, I think that the habits are mostly common sense and I doubt that anyone can really take much exception to any of them.
Reading the list, I wondered most about what personal qualities one needs to have to put these habits into practice. That is, apart from the broad idea of being “happy”, what characteristics might people who keep these habits have in common?
Just running through the list I would include initiative, the opposite of depending on luck. Self-reliance also stands out. Confidence makes it easier to stick to one’s values and be free to take a risk when needed, and to be a bit playful, but it also makes you less susceptible to the kind of ego neediness that makes cooperating with others hard. Such neediness also leads to the envy that won’t let you be happy for others and which also makes it nearly impossible to value one’s self as unique and individually worthy.
Scientific or not, such lists are probably most useful for personal reflection. After all, every one of us has areas where we could improve; a list such as this is a great starter for a personal review and worthy of a few minutes of pondering. Is there an idea here that you should make into a habit? Is there one personal quality that you could work on to improve your own life and make yourself a little happier?
If you are interested in the original article, here it is: https://discovery.insidify.com/9-habits-happy-people-ditched-a-long-time-ago.