Here’s what we think it is.
Happiness at work is a mind-set which allows you to maximize performance and achieve your potential. You do this by being mindful of the highs and lows when working alone or with others.
There are three important points to this definition of happiness at work.
The first key to happiness at work is your approach and being aware of it. And that awareness needs to extend not just to the lows, which are obvious, but to the highs as well. Being mindful allows you to have perspective on a situation , which means you’ll manage it better.
Secondly , broadly speaking the ” Western ” cultural approach holds that life and work are all about the individual not the group, while the ” Eastern” approach is exactly the opposite.
Our definition of happiness focuses not only on the individual but also on their role within a group because that’s where most work takes place.
Thirdly, it’s important to recognize the ” yin and yang” effect. Growth of any sort involves accepting that discomfort and difficulty are part of the process. Happiness at work doesn’t mean that you have to feel good 100 percent of the time. Or that you shouldn’t feel the usual negative emotions you do at work. Like anger, frustration, disappointment, failure , jealousy or shock. Those are the emotions that will propel you to take different actions to get back on your happiness track. They’re not to be avoided but actively explored on your career journey . Just like the times when you feel so stretched that you aren’t sure how you ‘ll cope. These are the moments that help you achieve your potential . The times that you look back at with a sense of accomplishment and achievement because you know you can deliver.
For example, I took part as an expert in a BBC TV series called’ ‘Making Slough Happy.” Our aim was to see if we could improve the happiness levels of a small industrial town just outside London . The town’s only claim to fame was that a well – known comedy. The office, was filmed there.
It was awful project to deliver . The hours were immensely long and the pressure to perform was huge. Not to mention the tension both on and off camera. Yet on the last day, filming at the huge festival that everyone taking part had organised > I was really pleased I’d done it. I’d experienced the fact that happiness is about stretching yourself to achieve your potential and you only do that by doing difficult things.
So do the highs matter?
Of course they do. The moments when you make a breakthrough , have a brainwave , connect with someone , or simply experience a strong positive emotions are important . These are the internal signals that you are doing the right thing. You’re on track . And if you don’t have enough of them , it’s time to reconsider what you’re doing. Right now. If you continue to put up with what you’ve always had, that’s what you’ll always get . And if we all do that, nothing will change. And the world of work needs something different.
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