Have you ever noticed that some of your friends or family never seem quite as stressed or lacking in control of a given situation as others? Have you ever wondered why? What makes them so special? How come they never seem to sweat when something goes sideways? Here are a few reasons why they might be like that; things they might do that others don’t.

They move past the challenge without feeling sorry for themselves. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do about something and it’s best not to dwell on it. You can’t change what happened and often there’s nothing you can do to make it any better, so what do you do? You can burn time and energy and build stress worrying about it but it will do you no good so there are only negative impacts in your life.  OR… you can move on; let it go; accept it, adjust to it and take the next step in your day. The less time you spend worrying about something you can’t do anything about, the less negative results you get and the lower your stress levels will be. This includes feeling sorry for yourself. Feeling sorry for yourself does not improve your day or how you feel. It’s another waste of time and energy that builds up stress with no positive result at all.

They embrace change and welcome challenges. Let’s face it: some people thrive on challenges and others fear or dread them. One of the truest statements I’ve ever heard is, “The only constant in life is change.”  What’s that mean? It means that the one thing you can count on, nearly each and every day, is that something will change. The change may be a blessing (good for you) or not (neutral or bad for you) but SOMETHING will change. It may create a challenge when it does. There are those folks who hate challenges. They’d rather just keep their head down and get through each day. I submit to you that those folks aren’t really living life but are merely moving through it doing their best not to rock the boat. Then there are those folks who embrace challenges because without challenges life would be boring (to them). They take those challenges; look at them; analyze them; find a way to meet them and then attack them. To them, the challenge isn’t stressful… it’s almost joyful.

They stay happy at least partially by not wasting time on things they can’t control. Long time readers know that I’m a huge believer in the Serenity Prayer (Whether you’re a religious person or not, the philosophy of it makes great sense).

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change;

Courage to change the things I can;

And wisdom to know the difference.

Knowing the difference matters and then, once recognizing that there’s nothing you can do about a given situation, accepting it and moving on.

They are kind, fair and unafraid to speak up. ALL THREE MATTER. Kind people tend not to harbor the negativity, angst and aggravation that seems to fuel unkind people. It’s difficult to be kind OR fair if you’ve got all that negativity built up inside you. But even if you ARE kind and fair, to really project and share that… to let that positive side impact the days of others, you have to be unafraid to speak up; to let it out; to share it with others.

They are willing to take calculated risks.  Yes, we all know those folks who avoid risk of any kind almost at all costs. Those perpetually happy stress free folks? They take risks. With risk comes challenge and we’ve already discussed how they like those challenges. By overcoming a challenge they promote a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. It’s all positive. If they DON’T overcome the challenge on their first attempt, they don’t quit. They tend to adjust their plan and reattack the challenge. They don’t fail; they learn and make it positive. To do any of that they first have to accept the risk of failure or other characteristic of a given challenge… so they do that.

They celebrate other people’s successes instead of resenting it. This is also a significant part of leadership. We all know that guy who is envious of anything we accomplish; any success we enjoy. All too often he puts down the value of the success or insults it in some way, seeking to diminish the positive outcome or the pleasure we derive from it. Don’t be that guy. When others around you enjoy a success, congratulate them for it; recognize it; tell others about it as appropriate. The cool part is that by recognizing and celebrating their success, you enjoy some of the positive feeling… and all you had to do was be happy for them.

Go back and reread those six items that are in bold italics. They aren’t that difficult, cost nothing and can render you great results.  So… what’s stopping you?

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