Those around us may constantly send us signals that we are not doing enough. We often translate this into, “I am not enough.” Listen to the questions we ask each other:
What do you do for a living?
What field do you work in?
How’s it going?
What are you doing?
We have in our mindset a constant focus on activity. And we think our value is often in that activity. We’re told to “work hard”, get a good education, and hustle. There is not a lot of focus on being happy with who you are. The focus is on what you do.
Now, you may wonder what a career counselor, someone who helps people determine what they want to DO for a living would have to say about being. We hear messages like, “Elon Musk used to work 100 hours each week, but cut back to 80-90 hours a week.” What is it that ties our sense of success to how many hours we work???
But our happiness is not determined by what we do, but rather what we decide about being happy. How we define our success is still often linked to what we do. We think that, if we land the right job, we’ll finally be happy. But Dr. Lyubomirsky’s research suggests that the opposite may actually be true.
The research shows that when we decide to be happy, we have more career success.
So how do we become happy? How do we focus on being instead of the business of doing? We hear saying like:
You can’t take it with you.
No one who is dying wishes they spent more time at work.
But we don’t actually believes these things. We often get trapped in the mindless cycles of doing the “daily grind” instead of a purposeful look at building a life you can enjoy. Now, I’m not talking about “chucking it all” and quitting your job (although, for a few, that may be appropriate). I’m suggesting that a purposeful approach to your life can change the uptick on opportunities that increase your overall success. Something as simple as engaging in positive activities can change your mindset toward greater happiness.
One important step is to become more aware of how you think and feel. Becoming mindful creates a space for you to consider what is important to you. When you become aware, you are able to choose something different by responding instead of reacting. You actually change your neurology.
Some activities can actually help you become more aware of what is going on around you and inside (emotional states). Check out the following:
- Contemplative prayer
- Walking in nature
Let’s recognize that focusing on happiness alone is almost counter-productive. What may be more sustainable is being mindful of what is going on inside emotionally, getting guidance when we need it during tough times, nurturing positive relationships in and out of work, reducing stress (and changing jobs if necessary), finding a meaningful balance, and pacing life appropriately.
If you would like to talk to someone about how to “be” in a way that works for you, give us a call.