How to Be Genuinely Happy for Other People


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9. Make Social Investments

This chapter made me the most excited. This is the principle that stumped me for the longest time and when I finally figured it out, it completely changed my life:

Our happiness is directly connected to the strength of our social connections and support network.

Achor says that investing in social relationships is the most important of all the happiness principles.

We typically think about investing in our stock portfolio or our savings account, I want you to think about investing in your social capital or your friend account. Strong relationships help our immune function, our happiness, and our work success.

I thought that the chapter was a little skimpy on how to do this because social intelligence is not an easy thing to grasp. My favorite tip on building your social IQ is to embrace the idea of:

  • Abandon boring social scripts. Chatter, meaningless conversations and small talk breed shallow, unfulfilling relationships. If you really want to connect with someone try asking them real questions and giving them unscripted, uncanned answers.
  • More tips on not being boring here.

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2. Name How You’re Feeling

While it might feel easier to pretend it doesn’t bother you that, say, your best friend just got engaged, acknowledging how you feel is key.

When your underlying feeling is addressed, such as “I feel jealous when___,” you can move with the emotion and begin the healing process.

Naming the emotion itself can help defuse it—it allows you to decide how you want to respond to your emotions.

Some key emotions that might be at play:

Is it Jealousy? Perhaps you’re jealous. Jealousy is one of the most difficult emotions to admit feeling because we think of it as a bad feeling.

Jealousy sounds like: “Why aren’t you always doing something great?” “I wish that was happening for me.”

Is it Self-Pity? If you’re engaging in self-pity, you might find yourself showing up with lower energy than usual.

Self-Pity sounds like: “Good for you. Those sort of things never happens to me.” “I wish I could do things like that, but I can’t.”

Is it depression? One of the main symptoms of depression is no longer having the energy to do things you once enjoyed.

Depression sounds like: “I would love to be able to do that, too, but I don’t have the energy.” “I used to have the energy to do that. Now, I can barely stay on top of my daily tasks.”

Are you anxious? When you’re anxious, the idea of having goals and not achieving them is scary.

Anxiety sounds like: “I would like to try that, but I fear…” “I don’t think I’d be able to do that."

6. Change the Way You Talk To Yourself

The way you talk to yourself might be your biggest hurdle. Speak to yourself kindly. The voice in your head should reflect motivation and inspiration, not doubt and fear.

Try writing down “I am” statements, following it up with something positive. For example: “I am successful in my career.” “I am capable of making progress.”

Also, define your terms. For example: If you want to be successful in your career, consider what your idea of success is. Your idea of success may look different than someone else’s.

If You Want to Be Happy, You Should Always Complete Whatever You Do

Very often when we start something new, we are so over-excited that we are actually confident of our future success. However, after some time, our fervour fades away and we stop halfway to the end.

And we do this again and again, never finishing what we have started.

As a result, our life becomes a series of incomplete tasks, and this cannot make us happy, for sure.

About Science of People

Our mission is to help you achieve your social and professional goals faster using science-backed, practical advice. Our team curates the best communication, relationship, and social skills research; turning into actionable and relatable life skills. Science of People was founded by Vanessa Van Edwards, bestselling author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. As a recovering awkward person, Vanessa helps millions find their inner charisma.