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How to be happy at a job
Many of us spend a significant part of our lives working. Our well-being and even longevity depend on feeling fulfilled and satisfied with the work we do. But is there really an ideal job that will make us happy and fulfilled? Or is happiness something that we create for ourselves, no matter what the circumstances are? In this post, I will share some ideas based on my personal experience of finding joy and contentment in your current job.
Like true love, an ideal job is a myth
Every job has its ups and downs. No job can continuously bring happiness. But here's the good news: Your happiness at work is determined by your perspective, not the job itself.
To be happy at work, three things are important: engagement, finding meaning, and experiencing positive emotions. Engagement means being fully involved in your work, using your skills, and feeling motivated. Finding meaning involves having a sense of purpose, contributing to something important, and aligning your work with your goals and values. Experiencing positive emotions entails enjoying your work, feeling grateful, and maintaining good relationships with your colleagues and customers.
All these factors rely on your mindset. You can increase your happiness at work by changing your mindset. Instead of dwelling on negatives, such as stress or boredom, focus on the positives, such as opportunities or learning experiences. Instead of complaining, appreciate the aspects of your job that you enjoy. Rather than comparing your job to others, be grateful for what you have.
With a positive mindset, most jobs can bring you happiness.
You own your career
You are not a passive victim of your circumstances but an active actor of your destiny.
You own your career, which means you have the power and responsibility to shape it according to your vision and goals. You can decide what work you want to do, where you want to do it, how you want to do it, and with whom.
Of course, there are constraints to consider. You still have to deal with market reality, employer expectations, customer demands, and competition. You have to work hard, deliver results, and prove yourself.
But you have more control and freedom than you think. You are always empowered to explore new opportunities, learn new skills, network, and pursue new projects. Seek feedback, guidance, and support. Express your opinions, share ideas, voice concerns, and propose solutions.
Taking ownership of your career creates value and increases confidence, autonomy, and satisfaction.
Cultivate positive internal conversations about your coworkers.
Your coworkers affect how you feel and perform at work. They can be supportive, inspiring, and fun, or they can cause stress, conflict, and unhappiness. It all depends on how you interact with them and how you think about them.
One way to improve your interactions with coworkers is to have positive thoughts about them. This means thinking positively and respectfully about them even when they're not around.
Having positive thoughts can help you build trust, get along well, and work together with your coworkers. It can also help you avoid or resolve conflicts, misunderstandings, and complaints.
Positive thoughts can also help you see your coworkers in a positive and realistic way. You can recognize their strengths, talents, and contributions, as well as their weaknesses, challenges, and limitations.
Having positive thoughts can also help you understand your coworkers, see things from their perspective, and appreciate their differences.
When you have positive thoughts about your coworkers, you can create a happier and more productive work environment.
Leverage the law of incrementality
The more attention you give to something, the more it will influence your life. This applies to both positive and negative aspects of your job. If you focus on the positive side, like learning opportunities and impact, then they will grow and become more rewarding. On the other hand, if you concentrate on the negative aspects, like stress and frustration, then they will become more dominant and harmful.
To be happy at work, focus on the positive aspects of your job without ignoring the negative ones. Practicing gratitude is a great way to do this. It means appreciating what you have and recognizing the good things that happen at work instead of complaining about what you don't have. Celebrating your achievements is another way to stay positive at work. It helps you boost your self-esteem, motivation, and happiness and inspire others to do the same.
By focusing on the positive aspects of your job, you can make your job more fulfilling and enjoyable while learning from every experience.
It's not about you
Sometimes, we may get too caught up in our own egos and forget the bigger picture of why we are doing what we are doing. We may think that our work is all about us: our performance, reputation, and compensation. We may lose sight of the purpose and meaning of our work: how it serves and helps others.
But remember that it’s not about you; it’s about them: the people you work with, the customers you serve, the business you support. Your work is not just a way to make money or advance your career; it is a way to make a difference and create value. When you focus on being a servant leader, you will find more joy and satisfaction in your work.
In conclusion, finding joy in your current job is not about finding an ideal job that continuously brings happiness. It's about changing your mindset, taking ownership of your career, cultivating positive internal conversations with your coworkers, leveraging the law of incrementality, and remembering the purpose and meaning of your work. These strategies can help you increase your engagement, find meaning, and experience positive emotions at work. With a positive mindset, any job can bring you happiness, and you can create a happier and more productive work environment for yourself and your coworkers.