The Five Habits of Happiness


Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, theorizes that 60% of happiness is determined by our genetics and environment, the remaining 40% is up to us. He further suggests that happy people have habits one can introduce into their everyday life. Joyful folk has certain inclinations that add to their pursuit of meaning—and motivate them along the way.

Here are a few habits that lead to happiness.

Put others before self.

The acrostic JOY is Jesus first, Others second, Yourself last. Happy people place Jesus and others first. Putting others before one’s self does not come naturally. We need to be intentional and learn to put others first.

Place character before conformity.

Happy people are men and women of character. They are trustworthy, consistent, and dependable. Their actions match their words. They keep their promises. Happy people have nothing to hide and nothing to fear.

Put we before me.

Happy people are the ultimate team players. They know their role. They work well with others. They learn to cooperate and to contribute. And they are considerate.

Place cause before comfort.

Happy people know the best us of their time is to invest in that which is bigger than themselves. That which will last for eternity. They are willing to take on dangerous assignments, expose themselves to dangerous jobs because the mission is worth it.

Place risk before reward.

We have a saying: “Go big or go home.” Happy people go big. They take the risk; they make the gamble.  They step out of their comfort zones.

There you have it, the habits of happiness. How would you rate yourself on each of these habits?

Seligman spoke of three kinds of happy lives: pleasant (only seeking pleasures), engaged (investing in work or children), and meaningful (living for something bigger than yourself). Ultimate happiness comes in giving ourselves to something larger than  ourselves.


Recently I wrote a book on Psalm 23, Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23, that speaks to the heart, quiets your spirit, and eases loneliness. This psalm is a picture of contentment; it represents that mental state and physical place for which everyone longs. I share how Psalm 23 can comfort and empower your life. Click here to claim your copy.


About Rick Ezell

I am a husband, father, pastor, and writer. This blog is about shaping character, transforming church, and impacting culture. I believe that if one defines their moments then their moments will determine their character and their character will influence their world. I write on personal development, church leadership, and our changing culture. I also write about the resources I am developing and the books I am writing. My goal is to create challenging, relevant, and inspiring content that will help you be a better person, the church be a better parish, and the world a better place. If you are interested in those things, this blog is for you. I have served the church my entire career as a student minister and senior pastor. I studied at Samford University, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary (eventually I will get it). I have written eight books. My most recent ones are Chapter 13: The Excellence of Love and Soul Therapy: The Healing Words of Psalm 23. Both are available as eBooks. I have written over 1000 articles for various local, regional, and national publications. I have been married to Cindy for thirty-three years. We have one wonderful daughter. We live in Greenville, SC. In my free time, I enjoy writing, reading, running, tennis, and golf. You can contact me via email or follow me on Twitter or Facebook. This is my personal blog. The opinions I express here do not necessarily represent those of my employer. The information I provide is on an as-is basis. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, correctness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its use.
This entry was posted in character, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply