While it’s true that the work we do gives us job satisfaction, it’s also one of the sources of unhappiness and stress in our life because things may not always go well. Workplace issues like heavy workload, monotonous duties, work conflict and interpersonal problems could make us upset. Over time, you may lose your passion you once had for your job.
Srikumar Rao, a Columbia University academic and best-selling author of Happiness at Work, trains Google employees on happiness. He believes that the biggest obstacle to happiness is simply the belief that we are prisoners of circumstance and that we are not in control of what happens to us. By changing the way we look at things, we’ll be able to find happiness at work.
- Things are neither good nor bad
Many things can happen in the office but they are neither good nor bad. When something does not go according to plan or when your day feels less than perfect, don’t beat yourself up, says Rao. He adds that when you make an error, be aware of it without passing judgment. Do what you have to do to rectify the situation but never let things get in the way of your sense of calm and peace.
Rao explains that putting labels of “good” or “bad” affects the way you look at things. When you start saying things at work are bad, your mind associates it with negative feelings that can greatly affect your work performance for the next task you do. Rao recommends looking at things in the neutral so that you do not create unnecessary vicious cycles during the day.
- Practice “extreme resilience”
Extreme resilience is the ability to recover fast from adversity, writes Rao in his book. He explains that many people spend so much time in “needless, fruitless self-recrimination and blaming others,”. He further adds that practicing extreme resilience enables us to recover and rise from the occasion so we can get back to doing great things instead of going on a guilt-trip and making excuses. Rao also points out that there is no need to practice resilience if we follow his advice about avoiding labels tagging things as “bad”.
- Let go of resentment and jealousy
Rao credits “dropping the past” and letting go of resentment as a primary component of finding happiness at work. He acknowledges that doing so isn’t easy but encourages people to do it just the same saying that “with practice you will get the hang of it.”
Jealousy is a negative emotion that has no place at work. “When you’re jealous you’re saying that the universe is limited and there’s not enough success in it for me,” says Rao. He adds that you should “Instead, be happy, because whatever happened to him will happen to you in your current job or at another company.”
- Find YOUR inner passion
Many of us make the mistake of finding passion at work when we should be finding it within us. It is easy to think about what we feel should be an ideal job for us and we often lose ourselves in thinking of a perfect workplace scenario. Rao writes that we should be spending time changing the way we look at our present job instead of searching for that something perfect or even believing it exists.
- Think of “then and now” but forget about “if and then”
Rao provides some unusual insights into the importance of then and now. He writes that “most problems that kept you awake ten years ago have disappeared,” so “much of what troubles you today will also vanish.” This is a simple yet powerful way of looking at things in a different perspective.
Rao also discourages the flawed thinking of “if and then”. Many of us are guilty of equating our happiness with things of monetary value. We think that IF we have this and that, THEN we’ll be happy. Rao writes about this with simplicity: “there is nothing that you have to get, do or be in order to be happy.”
Hope the tips above help change our perspective and ultimately lead us into discovering more things to keep us happy at work!
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