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POSITIVELY SURROUNDED: THE PEOPLE YOU SPEND TIME WITH MAKE THE MOST DIFFERENCE.

There's a famous axiom that I bet you've heard: "A happy wife is a happy life." If you're someone's wife, I'll bet you agree with the sentiment. And if you're the husband to a wife, I know you agree.

But the positive contributors to a happy life far outnumber just your happy spouse. They can include happy children, a happy best friend, a happy office mate, a happy boss and plenty of other happy people who will influence and bring out the best in you. They just don't all rhyme so neatly.

That doesn't mean it's your job to make all those people happy. Rather, research shows the contagiousness of both positivity and negativity. Being around negative, unmotivated people drains our energy and potential. Surrounding ourselves with positive, engaged, creative people causes our own positivity, motivation and productivity to multiply.

This isn't about networking with successful people to get ahead, nor is it about surrounding yourself with people who always seem cheerful and happy. It's about surrounding yourself with people who own positive traits who amplify your own. You want to choose people who serve a variety of purposes in your life.

I suggest a mix of three types of positive influencers. I call them pillars, bridges, and extenders.

PILLARS. These are the people who are your rocks in tough times. They have your back regardless: The best friend who will drop everything to come over late at night bearing ice cream, the mentor at work who will champion you for the promotion or big account, the teammate who will pick up your slack when you are overextended. You should have plenty of other people in your life who push you and call you on things, but you also need sources of unconditional support and acceptance.

BRIDGES. Additionally, you need these connectors to new people or resources outside your existing ecosystem. A bridge might be the person to invite you into a club or committee, or they might introduce you to investors who could be interested in funding your project. You'll know someone is a bridge if their connections and resources do not overlap entirely with your own. A bridge doesn't necessarily have to be of higher status to connect you with other high-potential people or big opportunities.

EXTENDERS. We all need these positive influencers who will push us outside our comfort zones. This could be a mentor or a friend with a different skill set or different personality from your own. For example, I'm on the shy and introverted side, so I need my extraverted friends to help set up social engagements and try new experiences. I'm a multitasker, and need focused, detailed oriented-colleagues to slow me down when I'm racing roughshod toward a goal.

We often find ourselves attracted to people just like us. But research shows that capitalizing on diversity requires embracing people's differences. Keep this in mind as you analyze your social circle. Look for people who complement your tendencies and traits, and who will encourage you to cultivate positive new ones.

ACHOR IS A HARVARD-TRAINED HAPPINESS RESEARCHER AND THE AUTHOR OF BIG POTENTIAL. GET A DAILY DOSE OF HAPPY AT HIS FACEBOOK PAGE.

FRIENDLY FINDINGS

A RESEARCHER DETERMINED HOW LONG IT TAKES TO MAKE A NEW PAL.

In a study published recently in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, University of Kansas researcher Jeffrey A. Hall attempted to nail down the process through which adults create new friend relationships.

Per the survey of 112 college students and 355 adults, he found that:

* Students created casual friendships by spending approximately 43 hours together with a new acquaintance. Adults required 94 hours.

* Students needed 57 hours to make the transition from "casual friends" to a more full definition of friendships. Adults needed an average of 164 hours.

* Best friends required a good bit more time spent together. Students approximated an average of 119 hours spent together. Adults required at least 100 hours more than that.

"Making friends takes time," Hall writes. "Everyone wants to have friends, but you can't have friends without making them."--J.E.

HEADSPACE: MEDITATION

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The benefits of mindfulness meditation have been well-established--research shows that taking a chill pill is good for fighting back anxiety, reducing general stress and promoting personal emotional health. But we hear you: It's hard to force yourself to carve out the time. Or to remember to carve out the time, more likely. With its non-naggy prompts, Headspace will encourage you to start and build that mindfulness habit you've been meaning to create. Pretty soon, it'll be your favorite part of the day.

TOP OF MIND

WHAT CHARACTER TRAIT IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON?

CHARISMA--A TRAIT I GOT FROM MY LATE FATHER. I have the ability to pull people in with my charisma and passion for something and share my energy in a way that transfers to them. I love this quality because it mobilizes people to take action in an area of their life they may not have thought was possible.

--NEHA GUPTA, founder of College Shortcuts

PERSISTENCE HAS BEEN KEY. This has helped me remain steadfast through a variety of challenges that may have deterred me if I had less tenacity. Creating a successful business is a long game and it's easy to forget that when things get tough.

--JAKKI UBERMAN, founder of Bumkins

MY ABILITY TO REMEMBER THE TINIEST OF DETAILS allows me to come up with solutions to problems that are being overlooked. Many people forget small details about what is possible.

--LAURA LAND, co-founder, COO and CFO of Marketplace Valet
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Title Annotation:YOUR PLAN: HAPPINESS
Author:Achor, Shawn
Publication:Success
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 17, 2019
Words:929
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