5 Happiness Habits of Successful People

UPDATED: May 27, 2024
PUBLISHED: October 4, 2016

One minute it’s there and the next it’s gone.

That was my description of happiness for years. I collected materialistic items and achieved various goals to gain happiness, but consistent happiness eluded me.

If we’re not mindful, we can find ourselves overworked, overstressed and, most important, unhappy—all for the pursuit of our dreams and goals.

We all want to live happier lives, but it’s easier said than done.

Related: Secrets for a Happy Brain

Arriving at a crossroads in my life and realizing that accolades, titles and things didn’t lead to lasting happiness, I started reading personal development books at a rapid pace while studying successful people who were consistently happy with their lives.

I realized that happiness doesn’t magically arrive at one moment, nor is it something given to us.

Happiness is something we have to manufacture. These habits aren’t grandiose in scale. Instead, these habits to happiness are simple actions we overlook during our busy days.

Below are five happiness habits that I’ve found all successful people to have.

1. Successful people love and accept themselves.

How you treat yourself serves as a barometer for the level of treatment you expect the world to treat you with. The first step to loving yourself is to place a premium on your health.

Successful people recognize that great health encompasses more than just their physical appearance. They understand their mental and emotional well-being plays an integral factor in their happiness.

Success people accept themselves for who they are by monitoring the language of their internal world. They trust themselves and move forward despite the accompanying self-doubt that is often with us when we’re chasing our dreams.

2. Successful people don’t time travel.

Successful people realize living in the past only leads to regret and guilt for situations they can’t change. They also recognize that living for the future leads to them placing their present life on pause and living in a state of worry.

Successful people recognize the only way to achieve the life, happiness and goals they desire is to focus on the present moment—the only moment in their control.

Each moment you spend time traveling to the past or future is eating away at the potential memories that could be created in this current moment. Don’t cheat your happiness by having your thoughts and emotions elsewhere.

Related: What Successful People Know About the Mind That You Don’t

3. Successful people value experiences over things.

Living in today’s world, it’s tempting to fall into the trap of wanting more and more. Everywhere we turn, there are messages telling us we need more or that the things we have aren’t enough.

But happiness isn’t something that is going to come from materialistic items, such as cars, gadgets or the size of your house.

Successful people realize that happiness isn’t manifested from job titles and validation from others. Those are all fleeting feelings that will fade away and leave a void.

Happiness forms through the experiences of our lives. The various experiences that we do have in life help us form an identity and create lasting memories that aren’t replicable or easily bought.

Happiness is doing something that we love and not placing our worth on the outcome nor on the opinions of others.

4. Successful people are highly selective of the company they keep.

You become whatever your environment is.

Jim Rohn’s quote, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with” is a principle that all successful people take seriously.

The company you keep is infectious and influences your attitude, mindset and behaviors toward life.

If your environment is positive, ambitious and views life in abundance, that’s what you’re going to be. If it’s the opposite, then expect yourself to be unhappy and not as successful.

Successful people give their time to people who inspire them, and leave them better and happier than before.

But successful people realize they’re unlikely to avoid all the negative people in their life. However, they can minimize their interactions with them.

5. Successful people always keep the big picture in mind.

Successful people don’t let the small and trivial matters of life drain their happiness. They understand that they can’t control everything, and thus won’t allow those situations to occupy precious mental space for more important issues.

They understand that setbacks are a normal part of the cycle of life and perspective is the key to maintaining happiness during those times.

A powerful question that successful people will ask themselves is, Does this matter in the grand scheme of things?

If not, then they acknowledge the situation for what it is but don’t let it drain them of their happiness.

When you’re trying to become happier, it’s tempting to seek validation from other people or to consume things. But consistent happiness in your life isn’t formed in the external world. Consistent happiness forms from your internal world.

Create a successful life by implementing these five habits; but most important, implement these habits to live a happier life.

Related: What Happy, Successful, Optimistic People Know About Life

Julian Hayes

Julian Hayes II is the founder of The Art of Fitness & Life. He is an author, health and wellness consultant, and speaker operating at the nexus of creativity, health and business. His mission is to help you integrate health and wellness into a life you love while increasing your energy, productivity and performance at work. His book, Body Architect, is a real-world guide designed to help you create a life you love while creating a body you love.