Way too many people are unhappy with their work. On average, people spend about one-third of their lives working, and can even spend as much as one-half. Life is too short and time is too precious to spend so much of it doing something that actively makes you miserable. However, with the right outlook and mindset, you could learn how to experience the work that you already do as more fulfilling. In her new book How to Be Happy at Work, Dr. Annie McKee reveals all the little tips and tricks you can use to live your most fulfilling career life today.
Get out of your own way
Studies show that roughly 60 percent of American employees report feelings of boredom, jadedness, burnout, or detachment toward their work. Many different factors contribute to this. Americans are reporting more stress than ever in 2017 from a combination of the changing times, our modern political climate, and the high prevalence of uncertainty in the world, on both a personal and a macro level. We can’t always help the outside forces that cause our stress, but we can optimize our personal outlook to stop getting in the way of our own happiness.
Some of the virtues extolled in the modern work environment, such as following expected courses of action, ruthless ambition and working long hours, deliver short-term gains but long-term losses when it comes to both success and happiness. The drive to succeed at any cost can alienate you from your peers and can get in the way of the relationships and things that make you happy, which in turn leads to feelings of being burned out, less productive and less fulfilled in interactions both inside and outside your workplace.
Make friends at work
One thing that everyone can try to do to improve happiness in their work life is to try to make a few friends at work. People who care for one another work harder and cooperate better. Close work relationships increase an employee’s job satisfaction by 50 percent. Additionally, people who report having a best friend at work are seven times more likely than others to feel engaged at work.
“When we’re happy, we’re more successful,” McKee said. “Happiness doesn’t follow success. Success follows happiness.”
Amicable relationships foster cooperation and mutual compromise for conflict resolution, as opposed to the harsh cutthroat politics espoused by some toxic workplaces. People who feel accepted and included in their workplace and believe that their role is valued and important, personal satisfaction and productivity increase together.
Takeaway: Follow your dreams, Increase your happiness
Like a lot of things, happiness doesn’t always come by itself. It’s not necessarily a choice, but you can make active, conscious choices to increase your happiness in your work, which then contributes to your overall success. Happiness doesn’t happen by itself or overnight, you have to choose to pursue happiness in a career motivated by your own passions and aligned with your beliefs.
You can’t simply flip a switch in your outlook and choose to be happy, but you can choose to make the bold choices necessary to craft a career that will fulfill you.
“Follow your passion, Follow your passion,” McKee said. “It’s the most important thing you can do in life, and the money will follow, success will follow, and happiness will be your partner.”
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