I’ve been told that happiness is 10% actual experiences and 90% is how you perceive those experiences. I absolutely agree with that statement. I have millionaire friends who seem to have life altogether, but are quite unhappy because they view their life through pretty clouded lenses. I have friends that live paycheck to paycheck who are always bright, optimistic, and generally very fun to be around. Life is way too short to hang around and work around people who view life through very pessimistic lenses. These people interpret every conversation negatively, they assume the worst in people, generally are passive-aggressive, and infect those around them even happy ones to become more negative. It seems like in the past few weeks, I’ve hung out with more of them than usual and I’m tired of it. Literally. I get tired and worn down by these people. It does no good for my soul, it changes my outlook even briefly as I “perceive” more closed doors than open ones even though the opportunities are greater than ever. The old adage “you are the company you keep” rings really true for me.
Most of my entrepreneurial friends are very happy people and perceive the world full of opportunities and not dead ends. I get so much energy and drive from them. Our world could use more of those people, they are the ones that create opportunities, seek to solve big problems, and infect those around them with happiness as well. Can you imagine a super pessimistic person trying to innovate? Why would they even try? Can you imagine an unhappy person trying to solve extreme poverty? Just seeing the stories around the world would send them down a negative spiral. It takes vision, an optimistic person – a person who perceives negative circumstances as opportunities. We are drawn to happy people. We want to follow happy people. They engender confidence, seek change, find purpose, and succeed even in the midst of difficult circumstances. It’s the salesperson who gets a no and realizes that they are just 1 more person closer to yes. I’m in the middle of hiring a few positions and I place a higher premium on happiness than talent. A happy person doesn’t mean a “yes” person, but it means that they are able to see opportunities like you and can create new ideas, fresh perspectives that accomplish the same goal. They are solutions people. Now, I’m not entirely sure how to filter for it yet, but maybe you have some ideas for me. Let me know what you think and whether you have some good ideas on finding and attracting happy people to work for you.
I believe that one can choose happiness and that very little of it depends on circumstances. I choose to enjoy the entrepreneurial journey, if/when it ends isn’t as important as the opportunity to be in a startup venture every day. I’m absolutely blown away by how fortunate I am each day to be able to go into work and do what I get to do each day. It’s crazy. People working together to achieve something great and I get to be a part of it. Getting a “no” on a biz dev is just not that big of a deal, just pick up the pieces and go again. Here are some of my random thoughts on being happy and staying happy:
1) You can choose to be happy even when circumstances seem otherwise.
2) Happy Gilmore did it best by thinking positive, fun thoughts. Just reflecting on the positives changes my outlook pretty quickly.
3) Be around positive people. Be around entrepreneurs!
4) Stop hanging around those who are negative energy and are constantly down.
5) Give. Not just money, but time. Be a mentor, introduce people, host a party.
6) Exercise. I think there’s some chemical that’s released to your brain that makes you more positive.
7) Watch and read inspirational stories. Happiness Advantage is a good one.
8 ) Plan something new then do it. I haven’t snowboarded. It’s time.
9) Set a goal each day and achieve it.
10) Reflect on what you learned that day. Part of what I think is uniquely human is our ability to reflect and learn. Not sure why many of us just want to forget the day, it’s an opportunity for us to savor life and what was memorable. (credit Andy & Inspired StartUp)