I’m not to watch Entertainment Tonight or any of these shows that talk about the ins and outs of Hollywood. Frankly, I find the hosts and their interviews fake and pretentious. Aside from the fact that they can stretch one story for two months, they try to make it look like they feel sincere remorse when a Hollywood star experiences a serious downfall. I did make an exception, however, when someone did a report on Oprah’s interview with Pharrell Willliams. His song Happy has become such an inspiration to fans all over the world that they created their own videos of themselves dancing in the streets. Oprah played them during the interview, bringing Pharrell to tears. It really hit him as to how much his song had impacted people. Check out the lyrics when you get a chance, it’s a touching and powerful song.

This all lead me to a question: What makes happy people different from everyone else? To answer the question, I dug into data from our Emotional Intelligence Test and compared people who are satisfied with their life to those who are not. Here’s what I discovered:

Top 10 traits and skills that improve life satisfaction:

1)     Self-esteem

  • Score for Satisfied people (on a scale from 0 to 100): 79
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 40

Satisfied people recognize their value. They believe in themselves and in their abilities, and know that they have much to offer to the world. They also respect themselves and will not allow others to treat them poorly. They know that they deserve to be loved.

2)     Resilience

  • Score for Satisfied people: 76
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 44

Satisfied people refuse to allow challenges, setbacks, and failure to bring them down. After going through a difficult period in their life, they pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and get things back on track. They view hardships as life lessons, and use them to become stronger and wiser.

3)     Problem-Solving Skills

  • Score for Satisfied people: 81
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 51

Don’t make the mistake of believing that happy people don’t have problems. They do – they just choose to approach them proactively, and with the intent of not giving up until they find a solution. Even when faced with a long-term or irreversible issue (an illness, for example), they will still try to find ways to at least make the circumstances more bearable.

4)     Rumination

  • Score for Satisfied people: 58
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 29

Take a moment to think about this one. Rumination is the tendency to over-think and over-analyze a problem. So those nights you spend awake in your bed thinking about your finances or love life? That’s rumination. Now, you would assume (like I did, I confess) that people who ruminate are less satisfied with their life, but this doesn’t play out in the data. The truth is, both extremes are unhealthy: People who ruminate too much tend to experience more stress and worry; people who don’t ruminate at all (basically, refuse to think about their problems), are trying to live in blissful ignorance…and clearly, it’s not working. The ideal, friends, is in the middle. Satisfied people think through a problem, look for a solution, and then LET IT GO.

5)     Positive Mindset

  • Score for Satisfied people: 75
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 49

Can we stop snorting in derision at all the new age books that talk about the benefits of a positive attitude? They are not pulling this stuff out of their derriere. Satisfied people keep their mind focused on success. They hope for and expect the best out of every situation. Don’t confuse this with denial. They know bad things can happen – they just don’t see it as being the end of the world, and trust that they’ll find a way to bounce back.

6)     Self-Motivation

  • Score for Satisfied people: 69
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 44

I like that commercial where a coach tells his discouraged players to recall that movie on Netflix where a coach gives his team a pep talk: “Well, that’s what I’m saying!!!” There are those who need a push from someone to get themselves going, and then there are those who are self-motivated and can find inspiration from within. Guess which group satisfied people fall into? The latter one, of course. Satisfied people are able to persevere in the face of obstacles because they can tap into their inner strength.

7)     Self-Control

  • Score for Satisfied people: 67
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 45

I can’t imagine people who snap at others, who start arguments, or who are always in a grouchy mood to be very satisfied with their life. Sure, there are people who get a kick out of picking fights, but as we learned in a previous blog post, they have more than anger issues. Satisfied people have the amazing ability to keep emotionally-charged situations in perspective. They use a healthy outlet to express their emotions.

8)     Coping Skills

  • Score for Satisfied people: 70
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 49

It goes without saying that satisfied people know how to deal with stress. They use healthy techniques to help them get through stressful situations: exercise, social support, thinking about the issue in a positive way, etc.

9)     Comfort with emotions

  • Score for Satisfied people: 63
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 42

Along the lines of not running away from or ignoring problems, satisfied people are at ease in emotional situations. Not only are they in touch with their emotions, they are also willing to share them with others. Whether they’re feeling anger, sadness, joy, or excitement, satisfied people do not shy away from their feelings. Feelings are not bad!

10)  Goal-setting

  • Score for Satisfied people: 60
  • Score for Unsatisfied people: 39

There’s nothing more depressing than drifting through life without a purpose. Our brains and bodies hate idleness! They need something to do. Satisfied people are proactive and practiced goal-setters. They are ambitious and always have a purpose that they are working toward.

Insightfully yours,

Queen D