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What are the common traits of highly successful and happy people?

Stashed in: General Wisdom, #happiness, Best PandaWhale Posts, Gratitude, #success, Attitude, Empathy, @bakadesuyo, Awesome, Forgive, Psychology!, Introverts!, @chrisyeh, @kuldaeva

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I'm talking about success with its diverse nature, including: personal, professional, creative, etc.

Here is the list of few traits I could think of:

- Intelligence (cognitive as well as emotional) + compassion and empathy;

- High energy, courage and optimistic outlook on life;

- Curiosity;

- Laser sharp ability to focus on the things he/she is passionate about;

- Generosity;

- Love and selfless care for Nature and Humanity!

What are your thoughts, dear PandaWhale surfers? Please share your ideas :)

Elnura, I've been thinking about happiness and success for a long time.

I believe that Bakadesuyo has been thinking about happiness and success, too.

The number one trait I've noticed among happy, successful people is gratitude.

I'm not sure if they're grateful because they're happy and successful.

I'd like to believe it's the other way around:

People become happy and successful because they're grateful.

Dude, I love this. Going to remember it, thank you.

I agree, the trait of being grateful is miles ahead of many other essential traits.

I also think gratitude goes hand in hand with a forgiving attitude.

However, if you have to forgive someone too much, that person probably does not belong in your life.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade, but I have to say that the older I get the more nebulous the concepts of "successful" and "happy" become to me. Anyone who hangs around Silicon Valley for awhile gets to know a LOT of people who have more money than god... but is that the measure of success? You also get to meet a lot of people who seem really happy... because they are totally deluded and maybe not responsive to subtle social cues. But I get the sense that "successful and happy people are all totally deluded" is not the answer you're looking for :)

Joyce, thank you for your insights! I believe, that no amount of money could bring as much happiness as a mere warm conversation with a good friend. Constant awareness of social cues in a way could be constricting to some, therefore being deluded may be a perfectly sensible answer to my question :)

Let's tackle these one by one. This isn't exhaustive by any means but I can address most of what was presented relatively quickly:

- Intelligence (cognitive as well as emotional) + compassion and empathy;

Intelligence doesn't make us any happier.

Education has a stabilizing effect, preventing extremes of happiness or unhappiness.

Compassion does increase happiness.

- High energy, courage and optimistic outlook on life;

Happiness makes us successful.

Optimism is key. As I said in my post about the 10 things you should do every day:

Optimism can make you healthier, happier, and extend your life. The Army teaches it in order to increase mental toughness in soldiers. Being overconfident improves performance.

But optimism can also blind you.

- Curiosity;

Does increase happiness.

- Laser sharp ability to focus on the things he/she is passionate about;

Doing what we're good at ("our signature strengths") makes us happier.

- Generosity;

Money brings us happiness when we spend it on others.

- Love and selfless care for Nature and Humanity!

Selflessness can be the best way to be selfish. Volunteering makes us happy.

And Joyce's contribution:

- Delusion

She's right.

People who make the most realistic predictions are clinically depressed.

It's key to being in love and having a happy marriage.

And that said, I can't let this be a Hallmark card. If happiness and success was all do to puppies and rainbows, why would anyone do anything bad? They do bad because sometimes bad works. Anyone who denies this is trying to make themselves feel better via delusion (see above.)

More on who becomes successful here.

More on living a long happy life here.

I learned a lot from surfing :-)

1) persistence - keep paddling in over and over again

2) enjoy the ride - no matter how it goes

3) truth is fleeting - this week's hot board shape is next week's antique, question those assumptions

4) be aware of your limitations (but push them) - I've been to a few breaks where I just couldn't make the take-off. It hurts the ego to admit but that's reality.

5) people are the most important thing - amazing waves alone are never as much fun as mediocre with friends. As an ex-introvert I can see where my fear of other people kept me from seeing this clearly for decades.


I wouldn't recommend sex, drugs, and rock n roll for everyone, but they've always worked for me.

One more that hasn't been mentioned: Self-awareness

To be truly successful (e.g. not just professionally, but personally, and as part of the community), a person must know themself.

Happiness comes when your self-perception and the outside world line up.

When a person who has a high self-opinion is seen by the outside world as a failure, the result is anger and resentment.

When a person who has a low self-opinion is seen by the outside world as a success, the result is uneasiness and a fear of being unmasked.

As long as you fail to know yourself, your secret insecurities will sabotage your happiness, no matter how "successful" the world thinks you to be.

Add the ability to forgive.

Both others and oneself (which is often much much harder.)

Yes forgiveness takes away a ton of load. Learned it so many times, be it the rude stranger or the most important people who hurt you.

Then there's empathy and giving. Just giving an ounce of encouragement and even time or resources increases one's happiness a thousandfold. Money is good, but fulfillment is paramount.

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