I was reading an article in USA Today titled, ‘Labor Day by the numbers: Americans can’t stop, won’t stop working‘. It goes on to mention some specifics of how we can’t stop working. Two things they mentioned were:
1. We don’t take our vacation days
2. We can’t unplug when we aren’t at the office.
I’d also like to add something I’ve noticed, some of us don’t take weekends off either.
Why is this? Why are we so tied to our work we can’t pull away?
Happiness is healthy. It directly impacts our physical health.
So I want pose the question of happiness today. Do we love our jobs and work so much, we are truly happy doing the work?
But what about the ones who are working as a way to look for happiness?
Yes. Work can give us a sense of accomplishment, connection, contribution, and other aspects that add to our happiness but we can’t ‘work’ our way to happiness.
Are we working hard to achieve, make money or to buy something else we don’t necessarily need? Is all of this extra hard work making us happy or depleting our happiness?
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You are actually more motivated if you are happy and happiness helps your mind to think of ways to reach your goals faster.
[divider style=”11″] Let’s take a look at three types of, let’s call them, ‘achievers’.
1. There is the achiever who passionately loves their work.
If you have found your passion and it is fulfilling, AMAZING! The caution here might be, to maintain a balance. This could mean a work-life balance or it could mean a ‘need-fulfillment’ balance.
Action step: Check to make sure you have an overall happiness, not just in one or two aspects. (You might check against the 6 human needs here)
2. There is the achiever who is working to be happy.
This is the goal chaser. They make a goal and decide they will be happy once they reach that goal, but the entire way to the goal they are miserable. The caution here is: If you reach your goal, don’t you just expand that goal? Don’t you just increase the number of sales you need to make or start looking for the next level or promotion? Do you ever really get to ‘happy’?
Action step: Stop chasing happy and start finding happy today. We are privileged to have the life and the ‘problems’ we have. There is always someone out there in a worse situation than whatever we are going through. Having gratitude for today and the people who love us, is a great first step to ‘finding happy’ today. Check out this free book, or this paid one, or this TEDx talk.
3. There is the achiever who is avoiding happiness.
This is where I find many of my clients. They have learned what it is like to be hurt, left and let down, so they work. They work as a way to fill the void and as a way to keep from being rejected. This is no way to live.
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There is a story I heard long ago about the elephant in the zoo being bound by that small metal ring around his foot. Is it possible he could break out of that?
Yes, but he doesn’t.
He tried to when he was a baby, but couldn’t. He learned he couldn’t get free and so he never tried again.
All of us have a story (a chain) but at any time… we can walk away.
Action step: Stop hiding in your work. Find ways to connect with others through meetup.com, volunteering, or just inviting someone out to karaoke. There are also other things you can do to promote happiness such as go for a nature walk, help someone out, or write down three things you are grateful for each morning. All of these are way over-simplified, but the point is to start.
Write down three things you are grateful for today and spend 5 minutes thinking of why you are grateful. If you can’t think of any, think of someone you love or someone who loves you.
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