Happiness comes from the inside-out. This does not mean that there is nothing on our part that we can do to make ourselves happy, but that we have to be engaged in the things that really bring across the kind of happiness that brings life to us. In recent months, there has been a media surge of happiness agendas that have reached governmental levels. The happiness index for e.g., measures how happy the citizens of nations are.
There are 3 truths and implications about happiness that executives need to know in their pursuit of living life to the fullest.
Truth #1. Meaning and purpose. Research has shown that it can be achieved when people invest in meaning or find meaning in work. That sense of fulfillment is what theologians and social scientists alike agree, the derivation of purpose (which could be of a higher-order or divine nature) that grants satisfaction and happiness.
Implication: reflect and ask yourself where you will be in 5 years from now if you were to continue taking the same trajectory path. Is this something that you are looking to do. Where do you see yourself? Is there a meaning in what you currently do?
Truth #2 – Relationships. When we develop meaningful relationships too, this helps to spur the happiness factor within us. The way we can develop such relationships comes when we start thinking of quality instead of quantity. As we age, research has shown that women tend to be slightly happier as a result of having more social support from family and friends because they have invested time in building those relationships whereas men were more solitary, having fewer close friends than their female counterparts. It is important for men to break out of solitude “me-and-my-shell” mindset and invest in meaningful relationships as much as possible.
Implication: While the drive to succeed at work can come at an expense as people tend to trade-off valuable time on relationships with work in order to climb the corporate ladder, we have to rethink our priorities in terms of sustainability over the longer term.
Truth #3 – Giving. What has been commonly known as the “blessedness to give rather than to receive” finds truth in how people are happier when they give as compared to when they spend on themselves. Put in economic sense, there is a greater diminishing marginal utility of a purchase for oneself as compared to than getting something to bless someone else with.
Implication: find a cause that you can commit and support. Commitment and support comes in different levels. If you have yet to start, you could start by giving away something to someone who needs it more. Have a personal “donation drive” to charity, and while you are at it, don’t just give away the things you are not using, but buy new things for others. If you are already giving to a cause financially, you may want to try taking a trip along with an organisation that supports the building of orphanages, schools in developing countries.
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