4 Powerful Habits of Successful and Happy People

Generosity is a secret joy creator, a kind of free dopamine.

There are many things I suggest to my clients to create a more meaningful and satisfying life. Some are the result of a new perspective or way of thinking that leads to better life outcomes, such as: redefining success beyond money, choosing experiences over accumulating “stuff,” or calculating their “financial enoughness” to curb the seductive desire for the next rung higher on the wealth ladder.

Habits are different because they represent actions you can practice daily. I find the following habits helpful to me in experiencing greater meaning and purpose in my life:

1. Being Thankful

Each morning as I get out of bed, I take a few minutes to feel the ground under my bare feet, while taking several deep breaths of gratitude for the ability to experience a new day, for my health, my relationships, and the opportunities and challenges to come. It’s a simple act to be grateful, and starting my day this way reminds me of the beauty of life. This simple practice lifts my spirits.

2. Being Generous

Generosity is a secret joy creator, a kind of free dopamine. Studies consistently show that generous people are healthier and happier. There is a saying that goes, “you have never met an unhappy generous person.” I don’t fully understand why it works, but the simple act of sharing money, time, and expertise in service to others profoundly impacts the life of the giver in positive ways.

I have experienced incredible joy and fulfillment serving the homeless, facilitating recovery groups, and providing charitable support for families in Africa and China, to name a few. I believe we were designed to give and that’s why it feels so good.

3. Keep Evolving

I’ve built my wealth management firm, Highland, with a belief that the business could only grow and develop as fast as the leader (me). I viewed my leadership role like a painter’s canvas, where all of my personal challenges, quirks, and shortcomings were on display. I had a choice: I could do the hard work necessary to grow and improve, or I could deny any problems existed and create coping behaviors to cover them up. Evolving has become a daily task.

I challenge you to try something new and becoming a beginner in some area of your life. You will discover new things about yourself, and you’ll broaden your perspective and knowledge base. Become a student of your own life and find out what you want to improve, develop, or grow. Seek the help of coaches and counselors when necessary: it’s something the most successful people in the world do on a regular basis. The simple truth is that if you are aren’t changing and evolving, you’re stagnating.

4. Meaningful Conversations

I set a goal to have at least one interaction every day with another person where my sole intention is to listen carefully to their story and to be curious about their life. I believe we all have a desire to be known and understood, to be seen for who we are, and we rarely have the opportunity to talk about things that truly matter in life. Opening a space for meaningful conversations is an easy thing to build into your daily routine, but it requires a dose of courage and vulnerability on your part, making it safe for other people to share openly and candidly.

I believe people come into my life as divine appointments, not randomly, and I want to contribute whatever they need in the moment, whether that’s empathy, compassion, advice, or friendship. Be open and ready to ask questions and listen when the opportunity to extend yourself arises.

For more thoughts on creating a happy, successful life, read my new book, The Wealth Creator’s Playbook: A Guide to Maximizing Your Return on Life and Money.

Originally published on Quora.

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