We talk about happiness as if it were a thing to be discovered and acquired.

But happiness can never be found externally. It is not a possession to be acquired or a set of conditions, but a state of mind.

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything, but they have learned to make the best of whatever they have.

The happiest leaders aren't necessarily focused on success or failure but live by a different perspective--and that outlook makes all the difference.

Here's how they live.

1. Their life has purpose and meaning.

If there's a key element to happiness, it's finding a purpose and making it meaningful. When you live out your purpose, you bring meaning to all that you do and focus on what matters most to you.

2. They concentrate on positive thoughts.

Even with identical life circumstances, unhappy people spend time thinking about unpleasant events in their lives, while happy people tend to seek and rely upon information that brightens their personal outlook. Finding reasons to be happy builds happiness.

3. They judge their wins and failures the same.

Ultra competitive people who always need to win end up enjoying things less. If they lose they are disappointed, and if they win they want more. The happiest people don't judge themselves by their wins and failures; they take them as they come without attaching too much importance to them.

4. They prioritize what's important.

If your life and expectations reflect what matters the most to you, chances are you're fairly happy. When your goals conform to your personal priorities, they bring you a higher level of satisfaction.

5. They don't compare themselves with others.

Many of our feelings of satisfaction or dissatisfaction have their roots in how we compare ourselves with others. When we compare ourselves with those who have more, we feel bad. When we compare ourselves with those who have less, we feel grateful--and sometimes undeserving. Measure yourself only against your own values and goals.

6. They cultivate meaningful relationships.

Relationships are built on mutual appreciation, and the exchange of love and affection creates positive energy for both people. Rekindle dormant relationships and take every chance to expand your friendship base.

7. They invest in diversity.

Just as you wouldn't limit your organization to a single project, don't pin all your goals on a single event or element of your life--whether it's a promotion at work, a perfect relationship with one person, or a personal achievement. Build your dreams and goals around the things that are most important to you and allow yourself to benefit from the different ways they contribute to your life.

8. They're constantly growing.

The happiest and most successful people never stop learning and adapting. The world will always be changing, and the ability to learn new skills and respond well to change is central to happiness.

9. They do what they say they're going to do.

Nothing deadens your enthusiasm like a half-completed project or a neglected commitment. Even if you find yourself in a dead-end situation, keep your commitments and tie up any loose ends before you get out.

10. They believe in themselves.

You wouldn't write off a friend during a bad time, or tell family members they're worthless because something didn't work out for them. Treat yourself as well as you'd treat others.

Happiness starts with our thoughts and ripples down to our behavior. If you want happiness in your leadership and life, stop looking for it in achievements and circumstances and start developing the mindset of happy people.