We know you have a great attitude and are generally a happy person. You’re grateful for what you have and always have a friendly smile for those around you. Ever notice that sometimes people are scowling back at you? Those people have learned how to prevent themselves from being happy and you can learn a lot from them, if you want to:

  • Don’t ever make a mistake. And if you do, don’t learn from it or take responsibility for it. You wouldn’t want to be unable to repeat it if someone asked you to. Blame your boss or your co-worker and cause as much discomfort on your team as possible.
  • Brag. All the time. Brag about your stuff and your spouse, your accomplishments, and your salary. This will keep people at a distance from you, preventing any close or genuine relationships from forming—a sure way to be unhappy at work and in life.
  • Don’t let anyone finish a sentence. You know what they’re going to say, why waste time listening? Move on and be more productive telling them what to do.

Are you unhappy yet?

Let’s see if we can’t reverse that. Here are some tips for increasing your happiness:

  • Take responsibility and give credit. If something goes wrong, acknowledge your part in it and praise the person who solved the problem. And learn from it. If you don’t know what you did wrong, you will probably do it again.
  • Talk about how great your team is. Let other people talk about how great you are. Do your best every day on every project and they will!
  • Listen actively. Listen to the words, the tone, the body language, everything. Don’t decide what you’re going to say while the other person is still talking, not even in a job interview. Every conversation is a chance to genuinely with another person. Let the connection happen.
  • If you hear yourself complaining, stop. Just stop. Go do something about that thing that you don’t like. Go!
  • Embrace your weirdness. You’re not weird? I bet you are. I bet you are a uniquely creative person with unique insights to offer any project. Trying to hide your weirdness is trying to hide yourself. 
  • Move on. What can you do today to approach that issue in a new way? Stop hashing out what happened yesterday and be in the present.
  • Change. Can’t go under it, can’t go over it, can’t go around it—gotta go through it. Learn. Grow. 

We all make choices every day that make us more or less happy. The more positive choices you make, the better you will feel, and the better work you will do.

Wendy Stackhouse, for Artisan Creative