- What’s important to me? (Think about what you care about and what has meaning to you.)
- What is pleasurable to me? (Think about what you could enjoy doing on daily basis.)
- What am I good at?
He then suggests you make a list for each set of answers and look at the areas of overlap. It’s these areas of overlap that will most likely lead you to find work that you can truly feel good about.
Dr. Ben-Shahar teaches Positive Psychology at Harvard and has one the most popular classes there. His book Happier just came out and you can hear him discuss all this in an interview on WNYC that aired today.
While this isn’t going to solve every workplace problem, it’s a good way of checking where you are and what you really want. And, of course, Dr. Ben-Shahar also talks about what you bring to the mix. Your own attitude and way of looking at things can make all the difference. Even if you find the perfect career, if you come into it with a rotten attitude, you’ll never be happy.
With that in mind, he suggests finding ways to focus more often on the positive than the negative. This is not some new-agey gimmick. There’s a lot of unhappy people out there. And if a lot of our time is spent thinking about all that’s wrong in our lives, not only are we depressing ourselves more, but we aren’t spending that same time focusing on stuff that could make us happy – or at least happier.
The good news is, once we finally catch on and see how much we’re adding to our own unhappiness, we can choose to do something about it. First we can just notice our habit of mulling over hurts and failings ad nauseum. Then choose to replace those wasted moments – slowly at first, it takes time to break a habit – with more things we actually enjoy.
Not that we shouldn’t think about our problems and look for solutions. Not that we shouldn’t give ourselves permission to feel sadness and hurt. That’s just being human. But it can’t be our whole day! We also deserve to be happy. And with just a few small changes that we ourselves can decide to make, we can aim ourselves toward a happier life. And that includes a job we love. We deserve it!
New Work Coach Cafe Policy:
Although I had to stop answering individual questions (to preserve my sanity), as always your thoughts and stories are VERY welcome here.