Happiness — I want it, you want it, we all want it. Just the fact that you’re reading The Change Blog means that you and I are on a similar path—seeking for those nuggets of wisdom that will bring us more peace, joy, and personal fulfillment.

After having owned a businesses for about 10 years in the swimming pool industry, a little over a year ago I commenced a new quest in life to satiate my need to teach and help as many possible to achieve their full potential. This is also why I asked Peter if I could contribute a guest post to The Change Blog. So if you’re looking for ‘change’, if you want more joy and fulfillment out of life, here are 7 qualities that, for me, have made all the difference:

1. See the World in the Form of a Question

Whether you are looking to make new friends, achieve success with a client, or even raise your general awareness—the skill of asking questions has in many ways been lost in our society. We’re so busy to tell, tell, tell that we forget to ask, ask, ask. And as we all know, the only way to become a great ‘learner’ is to ask questions. Questions resolve concerns. Questions elevate personal relationships. They also at times force us to take a different perspective and possibly stretch ourselves to unchartered waters. So learn to have an ‘ask first tell second’ personality and I can promise you the results will be profound.

2. Give Specific Feedback/Compliments

We’ve all heard that learning to give compliments to others has a powerful impact on personal relationships. But for those that truly want to take compliments to another level the key is to learn specificity. For example, which statement would you rather hear from someone else?

I really enjoyed your blog article today.

Or

I was blown away with the story you shared in your blog article about the time you……That story very much resonated with me and I’ve decided to take action because of it!

See the difference? Both statements expressed approval of a blog article, yet the first statement likely made the author smile a little while the second brought about a huge grin. This is the power of specificity and is a critical key to happiness, especially in dealing with friends and loved ones.

3. Don’t Just Let Go of Your Physical Health

I see it all the time. Guys and gals (including many bloggers) attain great monetary success in work but all of the sudden they’re out of shape, overweight, and struggling with self-image. Knowing my busy schedule as a business owner and father of 4, a year ago I bought an elliptical and put it in my basement so that I wouldn’t have to include ‘going to the gym’ into my extremely busy schedule. The results? I’ve worked out 1 hour a day since buying the machine, never missing a workout, and I weigh less now than I did in high school. (and feel great too!)

4. Give Value to Others at Every Turn

Wow has the internet been a blessing in this area. Now, more than ever, you and I can meet and help people on a large-scale basis because of the beauty of technology. Some of the greatest success I’ve been able to achieve in these last year has come because of stories, articles, and mentions I’ve made praising other people and companies. As Chris Brogan says, we should mention (talk about) other people 12 times to every 1 mention of ourselves if we really want to give value and build relationships.

5. Smile Unrelenting

I know, I know, we’ve heard it before: We should smile often. But as the old saying goes, ‘common sense is often quite uncommon.’ Seriously though, are you the person in your group of friends or workplace that is known as ‘Mr. or Ms. Positive’ or are you the person that everyone sees as having a cloud over your head 24/7? I used to have a problem of not smiling enough. For me, it wasn’t that I was unhappy, it was just that I have the tendency to look serious when I’m focused on a task. Since identifying this problem (people kept telling me to lighten up) I try to carry a smile with me in all situations, and wow has this made an incredible difference. So smile often. Lighten up every room you enter. Not only will you be happier, but many will file in line with you as well.

6. Stop Trying to Find Your Passion

Let me be the first to say that I’m all about ‘finding your passion’. But the problem with most people is that they get so wrapped up in ‘finding themselves’ or ‘finding their passion’ that they forget how this discovery is actually made: By Living Passionately. In other words, if you want to find out where your true passions lie, stop looking and simply start living everything you do throughout the day with passion and zeal. By so doing, self-discovery will come naturally and easily.

7. Surround Yourself with Greatness

I simply can’t stress this one enough. Everyone needs a mentor. And we certainly all need great friends. I would be a completely different person and be on a completely different path than I’m on today had I not had people and friends in my life that helped correct my course when I got off track. I’ve learned over the years that it’s important that we not only find these friends but we learn to depend and lean on them when necessary. As others lift us up, and as we reciprocate this action, the friendships we’ll form will truly be amazing.

So there are 7 keys to health and happiness that have completely changed my life over the past year. But what about you? What are your thoughts and what would you add to the list? C’mon, let’s talk about it……

Photo by Mr. Theklan

Marcus Sheridan

Liked this article? Take a little trip over to Marcus Sheridan’s blog, The Sales Lion, where he has been known to write some rocking articles on sales, marketing, small business, and how to be pretty freaking awesome.

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