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What Makes People Happy? Ten Key Trends

London, UK - 3rd September 2012, 11:20 GMT

Dear ATCA Open & Philanthropia Friends

[Please note that the views presented by individual contributors are not necessarily representative of the views of ATCA, which is neutral. ATCA conducts collective Socratic dialogue on global opportunities and threats.]

What's happiness? Does it really exist? Can happiness last? How does one become happy? How many people do you know that are really happy? What are the habits of happy people and the principles that might be at the root of their happiness? We asked ATCA 5000 distinguished members over the last several months and here are some of the results that we distilled from those one-to-one conversations around the world.



What makes people happy?

1. Happy people say YES more than they say NO

Happy people always seem to be doing something new and interesting. When invitations come their way, happy people have cultivated the habit of saying yes. The more they say yes, the more opportunities are presented to them.

2. Happy people LAUGH, JOKE and have a SENSE OF HUMOUR

Happiness can come in the form of a quiet smile yet it is bound to burst out into a laugh occasionally. Happy people appear to appreciate the lighter side of life. They donít take themselves or anything else too seriously. They laugh often and wholeheartedly. They joke, laugh about every little thing and make themselves the butt of their jokes more often than anybody else. Happy people are easily amused.

3. Happy people say THANK YOU! They Live with a Feeling of GRATITUDE

Happy people have the habit of saying thank you: a regular gratitude practice that helps them to make note of their blessings and what others have done for them. Other happy people are just constantly saying thank you for small gifts, favours, well wishes or compliments. They may give thanks before every meal or send you texts after every lunch or dinner engagement. When they focus on actually feeling true gratitude, they are already open and fluid in regard to receiving and welcoming absolutely new perspectives. Instead of slipping into negative thinking about what they donít have, happy people appear to stay positive in regard to what they do have. They constantly recognise the blessings and gifts in their lives. Another good reason for people to be grateful and focus on their blessings is that all it takes is three negative thoughts in a row before that triggers a "fight-or-flight" chemical response in most human beings.

4. Happy people SPEAK WELL of OTHERS more often than not

It is not a coincidence that happy people also tend to be remarkably polite, considerate, punctual and non-judgemental. Does being nice feel better than being nasty? Indulging in negative gossip with a friend or work colleague may be fun for a little while, but in the end the result can be a residue of resentment and guilt. All the remarkably happy people ATCA 5000 distinguished members have cited appear constantly to say positive things about other people behind their back. They also want to make their colleagues a part of their lives and want them to meet their friends and loved ones including their families.

5. Happy people LISTEN

The favourite people of ATCA 5000 distinguished members appear to be very good listeners. They donít rush to offer judgment or help and they might not even tell their colleagues that they know exactly how they feel Ė especially if they donít! They just listen, openly without any assumptions. This gift-of-listening that they give to their friends and work colleagues also seems to contribute to their own happiness. It would appear that the best thing we can all do to enrich our own life and our relationships is to listen more closely and to be attentive more often. Taking the time to listen helps us also to learn and to evolve our own understanding of this world and the people around us. It keeps our mind open to wisdom and to new perspectives at all times. When we focus on deep listening, we automatically take our own ego out of the equation and are less likely to be hurt or offended by what we hear.

6. Happy people BELIEVE IN SOMETHING and they LET GO OF CONTROL

ATCA 5000 distinguished members -- now from more than 150 countries around the world -- come from various religious denominations and belief systems, including some who are agnostics or atheists. It doesnít seem to matter exactly what happy people believe in as much as they believe in something, someone or a vision which is greater than themselves. That might be God, or a Universe, or Nature, or Quantum Physics, or Science or an invisible link between all of humanity. Maybe having faith in a higher power helps people to let go of their own illusions or delusions of control, or maybe it just makes them feel more connected to their fellow man and other beings. For many, faith in God and belief in a Universe that connects all of us gives them the courage of their convictions along with comfort and peace.

7. Happy people ACCEPT IMPERFECTIONS and are willing to FORGIVE and MOVE ON

The more that ATCA 5000 distinguished members thought about the happy people they know, the more they realised that no one was flawless in their day-to-day execution of life. They didnít all get up early or exercise every day. Some of the happy people they knew were organised and some of them embraced the art of living with total chaos! Even if they are constantly working on improving something, happy people acknowledge and accept that perfection is not the goal. They accept their own quirks and the weaknesses of others, and they are therefore willing to forgive and sometimes remember without bitterness.

8. Happy people are of SERVICE to OTHERS and have POSITIVE EXPECTATIONS

Many happy people realise that true happiness comes from making someone happy and that makes them happy too. It just feels good to make others feel good! Like the golden rule says, ďDo unto others as you would have them do unto you.Ē If we can truly express empathy and help give people what they desire, it opens up the door to receiving as well. If people donít have very high expectations they canít be disappointed, and negative expectations can end up becoming self-fulfilling prophecies. Happy people are full of hope.

9. Happy people are detached from the APPROVAL of OTHERS

Living life seeking popularity and favour can sometimes lead to suffering. Happy people know how to follow their own hearts without worrying too much about what other people might think of them. They recognise that they canít please everyone, and trying to do so makes most happy people doubt their abilities and compromises their self-confidence, likeability and authenticity.

10. Happy people actively focus on HEALTH, EXERCISE and WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Eating healthily provides our bodies with the proper amino acids and nutrients to be happy, and exercise releases endorphins which give us a happy feeling. Most happy people eat healthy food and build meditation or contemplation as well as exercise regimes into their daily or weekly schedule.

[STOPS]

What are your thoughts, observations and views? We are hosting an Expert roundtable on this issue at ATCA 24/7 on Yammer.

[ENDS]

Expert Roundtables

Expert roundtables are the newly launched ATCA 24/7 Q&A private exclusive club service. They seek to become the killer application in strategic intelligence by delivering an unprecedented competitive advantage to our distinguished members. They can only be accessed online at https://www.yammer.com/atca

Q1: How to become a privileged member of ATCA 24/7 to participate in the expert roundtables?

A1: i. If you are a distinguished member of ATCA 5000, ATCA Open, The Philanthropia or HQR affiliated groups you may be allowed to become a privileged member of this new and exclusive private club.

ii. If you are pre-invited, visit the private intelligence network -- PIN -- by going to https://www.yammer.com/atca [Note: In https:// 's' is for security and encryption]

iii. If you don't have membership of the PIN yet, email the mi2g Intelligence Unit at intelligence.unit at mi2g dot com for an exclusive invitation.

Q2: How to participate in the expert roundtables and get domain-specific strategic intelligence questions answered?

A2: Access the ATCA 24/7 Private Intelligence Network -- PIN -- online and ask or answer a strategic intelligence question, no matter how complex. Receive expert answers within 24 hours or get pointers from:

i. ATCA 5000 experts who are online;
ii. ATCA Research and Analysis Wing; and
iii. mi2g Intelligence Unit.

Q3: Why is the ATCA 24/7 Q&A Exclusive Club special?

A3: ATCA 24/7 has now created an exclusive private intelligence watering hole and expert roundtable at the highest level where interesting and sophisticated questions are being asked from around the world, and intelligent answers are being provided, almost always by experts who have deep domain-specific knowledge. Come and check out the exclusive club, take it for a strategic test drive, which sign-of-intelligent life are you waiting for?

To learn more about "The Expert Roundtable: ATCA 24/7 Q&A Club" email: intelligence.unit at mi2g.com and if you are already a member visit https://www.yammer.com/atca

We welcome your thoughts, observations and views. To reflect further on this subject and others, please respond within Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn's ATCA Open and related discussion platform of HQR. Should you wish to connect directly with real time Twitter feeds, please click as appropriate:

. ATCA Open

. @G140

. mi2g Intelligence Unit

. Open HQR

. DK Matai

Best wishes


ATCA: The Asymmetric Threats Contingency Alliance is a philanthropic expert initiative founded in 2001 to resolve complex global challenges through collective Socratic dialogue and joint executive action to build a wisdom based global economy. Adhering to the doctrine of non-violence, ATCA addresses asymmetric threats and social opportunities arising from climate chaos and the environment; radical poverty and microfinance; geo-politics and energy; organised crime & extremism; advanced technologies -- bio, info, nano, robo & AI; demographic skews and resource shortages; pandemics; financial systems and systemic risk; as well as transhumanism and ethics. Present membership of ATCA is by invitation only and has over 5,000 distinguished members from over 120 countries: including 1,000 Parliamentarians; 1,500 Chairmen and CEOs of corporations; 1,000 Heads of NGOs; 750 Directors at Academic Centres of Excellence; 500 Inventors and Original thinkers; as well as 250 Editors-in-Chief of major media.

The Philanthropia, founded in 2005, brings together over 1,000 leading individual and private philanthropists, family offices, foundations, private banks, non-governmental organisations and specialist advisors to address complex global challenges such as countering climate chaos, reducing radical poverty and developing global leadership for the younger generation through the appliance of science and technology, leveraging acumen and finance, as well as encouraging collaboration with a strong commitment to ethics. Philanthropia emphasises multi-faith spiritual values: introspection, healthy living and ecology. Philanthropia Targets: Countering climate chaos and carbon neutrality; Eliminating radical poverty -- through micro-credit schemes, empowerment of women and more responsible capitalism; Leadership for the Younger Generation; and Corporate and social responsibility.



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