Philosophers, commentators and religious leaders have been arguing for millennia about what happiness actually is.
Is it an end in itself or a by-product of what you do?
Does it disappear if you focus on it?
Is it part of the journey and the goal , as Aristotle says, or the high points on the way, as Epicureans argue?
Or perhaps it’s using reasoning to overcome negative conditions like the Stoics believed?
Maybe it’s the more Buddhist way of detaching and getting over it?
There’s one thing that happiness at work absolutely isn’t-as pop psychology has it. It isn’t about always smiling thinking positively , or about being in a permanently sunny mood: that’s patently absurd . Nor does it work.
Based on our research as well as years of consulting and coaching inside large and small organisations , we’ve found that happiness at work can’t be tied to any one single approach . It incorporates everything I’ve just mentioned. And it’s not something you do on your own, you need others to help you achieve it.
It involves a mix of high moments accompanied by some low ones, a journey in which you grow and flourish , and at the same time overcome your negative emotions. And you can do that best when you use insight and reason to help you. Sometimes the tasks , resources , outcomes , and time-frames are clear and comfortable , sometimes they’re not. But the tough stuff results in learning . Because that’s when you have to struggle to perform at your best , or make a breakthrough in what you are doing . So you extend yourself and fulfil your potential . It’s hard and takes time. But moving from struggle to success- and repeating that cycle -is how you grow , develop and achieve more.
It’s how you become happy at work .
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