Are You Happy, Could Be Happier or Unhappy At Work?
Many of the greatest mind and celebrities tackled the question of happiness in life and at work. From Aristotle, Plato, Richard Carlson (author of Don't Sweat The Small Stuff, And It's All Small Stuff) to Richard Templer (author of The Rules of Work, Management, Life and many more).
Are you happy, could be more happier or unhappy at work?
In this article, I seek to share useful tips that HR Professionals can learn and self-coach + also coach our teams and colleagues.
a. It's okay to Ask for Help
No one knows everything in life. It's okay to ask for help. When you ask for help, you are striving to have a better solution by the combined power of the collective minds put together. Don't see it as a weakness or selfish way to protect power. Let people know when you need them.
b. You can choose what you CAN do, you can't choose what you LIKE to do
Let me explain: you like to do nothing and laze around or you want to be a superstar like Ellen Degeneres. But the likelihood of that coming true is virtually impossible. You can't do nothing in this world and depend on social security support only (at least not in Singapore). You can't be a Ellen Degeneres in small developing countries without a consumerism demand in the US.
But you can choose what you CAN do. Choose to do nothing - and you will remain in the status quo dreaming about the impossible. Choose to do something - and you take a baby step towards making life count. Every day when posed with challenges or questions from the business or your love ones, choose what you CAN do, not what you LIKE to do.
c. Don't seek external validation, expect praise or appreciation
One alarming fact jumps out from the research about happiness at work: if you are like many people, you care very much about what other people think about you. Self worth become measured by what you think others think of you. Now, Stop!
This is a very common trap that I see young fresh graduates or new young colleagues commit.
In a desire to impress, they get into the downward spiraling circle of seeking external validation in everything they do. You’re always devaluing you by default if you consciously and consistently seeks external validation.
d. Fight right and fight cool
Don't disagree just to fill an airtime or make a point in a meeting. Fight right and have the courage to act only when and because you have a valid point. Some disagreements at work are inevitable and even valuable. You have to Form (get together as a team), Storm (you will disagree, office is not a bed of roses), Norm (with sincerity, you can Norm with almost anyone in this world), before you Perform (some people never get to this stage and stays at the Norm stage).
Nothing gives one person so great an advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.
e. Start a new hobby
Launch a blog, sign up for fitness classes or even, go for dancing. We stop picking up new hobbies when we get old because of all sort of excuses. But hobby is a critical factor for work and life.
Happy people tend to outperform the less happy. Happy people work more hours each week - and they work more in their free time too. Your boss is not going to frown upon on you just because you need some time off from the usual 9am - 6pm for a commitment to a fitness class. People with sense of purpose are more likely to be more productive at work.
f. Challenge Negative Self-Talk
Sometimes, people are critical of themselves. Research has shown that the more hostile and critical you are to yourself, the more likely you will treat others in the same way. Challenge those negative self talks with positive ones and learn to look at negative events as learning experiences instead.
Be mindful (which is one of the biggest buzzword in recent years) - Focus on the present. Here, I quote from Spencer Johnson, author of best seller book The Present,
- When you want to be happy, it is time to be in the Present moment.
- When you want the Present to be better than the Past, it is time to learn from the Past.
- When you want the Future to be better than the Present, it is time to help create the Future.
Humans have a bad tendency to focus on the negative aspects of life and ignore all the beauty and positivity around us. Take the time to acknowledge the small moment of beauty in your everyday life. Recognise that setbacks are a natural part of life.
g. Disregard Gossips, Bias and Judgmental Attitudes
People may make a judgement on you - from first impressions, gossips from the grapevine to bias based on stereotypes. You can't stop them - and in fact, you may be involved in it too!
Gossiping only shows the gossiper's mean spiritedness. Don't let what others say of you affect you. Learn to accept yourself, don't seek external validation to measure your self-worth. Try!
h. Enjoy the process
Prepare for adversity but also be mindful - develop the self discipline and the mental habits to deal with a bad thing when it happened. The time to start exercising, stop nagging and have more fun in work and life! You can’t live your life to the fullest if you’re constantly absorbed by what happened in the past or what might happen in the future.
Learn to be mindful - be aware of what is going on right now will help you worry less about what has already happened or what may happen. Enjoy the process.
I hope you discover a little bit of what it takes to continue to be happy, be happier or get out from feeling unhappy in life and at work. Happiness depends upon ourselves.