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6 Ways to Predict Your Future Happiness

Everyone is working toward something. But will your future bring happiness? Find out here.
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So many people focus solely on the here and now. In fact, they get so caught up in the moment, they forget that the future lies ahead. They may think a little about the future, hoping that the right deal, promotion, or opportunity might come along. But often it's a fleeting thought or daydream.

There are telltale signs of heading down a path to happiness. And sure-fire signs when you are on the wrong track. With a little self-assessment and planning, you can get a sense of how to get to that happy and successful state you crave. See how you fit with these signs below.

1. You wake up excited about your career each morning.

If you struggle to get out of bed every day, it may be because there is no positive future on the horizon. Sure, everyone has frustrations or small anxieties about specific projects or issues, but if you have clarity and drive, you can work through any challenge. In fact, the bigger the challenges you happily tackle, the greater your future looks. You can see where you want to go, and have hopeful and confident expectation that you can get there.

2. You enjoy the company of the people around you.

Are the people around you boring, mean, and driving you crazy? Do they seem lost and frustrated with their own lives? Your colleagues, friends, and loved ones should stimulate, support, and engage you. If the people in your life are inspiring and dynamic, you will be more likely to push for a brighter future. Find mentors and heroes who inspire and motivate you. You might have one or two irritating encounters each week, but if the humans you encounter strike you, by and large, as good and desirous company, you are on a solid path. If they don't, start over and get some new friends.

3. You learn something new every day.

If you already know everything, you are bound for a life of cynicism and boredom. No one person has learned it all; plus, the act of learning itself creates a sense of joy and accomplishment. Go and learn something--maybe a small, interesting fact, or a piece of a major educational project--but do it every day. Research shows that people who keep learning also live longer, happier lives, with more mental acuity. You will also acquire knowledge, wisdom, and skills that will help you advance in your professional and personal life.

4. You know when to say yes and when to say no.

As Lewis Carroll suggested, if you don't know where you are going, then any road will take you there. In that case, saying yes or no is random and won't likely get you closer to success and happiness. A little planning for the future can give you enough sense to see a good opportunity and take it, even if you feel scared. You can also assess when you are unprepared, overcommitted, or heading down the wrong path. Then you can make the necessary corrections. Your yes and no decisions should be driven by self-awareness and a desire to be honest and fair, rather than a sense of obligation or guilt.

5. You keep an open mind.

You have most likely encountered stubborn and curmudgeonly people who live a baneful existence. People who can't change their opinions or ideas end up unhappy, frustrated, and defensive. They have just as much ability to open up and change their point of view to one that works, but they choose not to. Being open doesn't mean you have to agree with everything that anyone else says. But if you are willing to consider other possibilities, you can assess, learn, and adopt creative solutions that can shorten your path to happiness and success.

6. You practice adaptability.

Life is infinitely more complex than many people would have you believe. To successfully navigate business and society requires thousands of decisions, tons of energy, and an enormous amount of resilience. The greatest rewards generally stem from overcoming the biggest challenges. To reach that pinnacle of success, you need to intentionally find ways to roll with whatever life dishes up, whether it is a roadblock or an opportunity. Learn to say to yourself, "I can find a way to work with this" and then do it. Live up to Winston Churchill's advice to "Never, never, never give up."

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Last updated: Aug 8, 2014

KEVIN DAUM | Columnist

An Inc. 500 entrepreneur with a more than $1 billion sales and marketing track record, Kevin Daum is the best-selling author of Video Marketing for Dummies and the executive producer of Amilya! on 77WABC New York. Sign up here and never miss out on Kevin's thoughts and humor.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.



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