The pandemic made us reevaluate and scrutinize our work and lives. Traditionally, the end of the year and looking toward the beginning of a New Year has us engage in introspection. We start thinking about if we’re happy, hold a job that offers purpose, meaning and fulfillment and the chance to move forward in our lives and careers. We take stock of whether or not our boss treats us fairly and pays a competitive compensation. With this double shot of reflection, it’s natural that people around the world will think deeply about what they want to achieve in the New Year. Since we’ve been beaten up so hard, having to cope with unrelenting sickness and death, it’s hard to think positively. With Covid-19, followed by the Delta variant and now Omicron, it makes it hard to remain upbeat about the future. Now, more than ever before, it’s time for a different type of New Year’s resolution. You should consider simplifying what you want and focus on trying to be happy.
START WITH WORK
As it consumes the largest part of your day’s activities. Happiness can be dependent upon your compensation, recognition or lack thereof, job satisfaction, a collegial environment, working remotely, a life-work balance and other factors. The effects of the virus outbreak have many unintended consequences. It felt that millions of jobs won’t ever come back. Much to our surprise, once the economy reopened and vaccinations were widely distributed, business roared back to life. It has now become so robust that companies have a hard time finding people to fill their empty seats. With about 11 million jobs available, it was easy to quit in the Great Resignation trend and seek out better opportunities. The ensuing war for talent is exceedingly difficult for companies to attract, recruit and retain employees. Pre-pandemic tech companies offered ping pong tables, free lunches, and an array of amenities to make work “fun” and feel like you’re at home. Now, these benefits seem frivolous. Workers are demanding more from their employers. Some enlightened leaders recognized that workers were overlooked, underpaid and unappreciated.
They took action to empathetically do right by their people. Sign-on bonuses, free college tuition, higher pay, mental health days off and other benefits were offered. Management looked after the mental health and well-being of their workforce. They especially wanted to ensure that they were helping their staff avoid burnout and feelings of isolation and depression. There has even been the start of appointing chief happiness officers at companies. Their job is to help spread positivity. Smart managers recognize the bounty of benefits by creating a happy staff. Employees who feel good about their jobs, inspire others. It’s also a self-fulfilling system. People intuitively gravitate toward positive and happy folks. Their upbeat attitude leads to doing well at the office, fast-track assignments and getting solicited for new opportunities. These actions reaffirm that the person who is happy is doing all of the right things and the attention reinforces them to keep doing what they’ve been doing.
When people feel happier,
they tend to be more productive, resilient and an inspiration to those around them.
Being happy leads to becoming successful.
To some, it comes naturally. For others, it’s a skill—like anything—that can be learned and built upon. An easy way to start is by being mindful, meditate, sleep well, help others, smile more, laugh, eat healthily, exercise regularly, socialize, do yoga and take some breaks throughout the day.
CAREFUL IN PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS
You need to be careful in pursuit of happiness. If you set unrealistic expectations, it might lead to frustration. By putting too much on immediately becoming happier, it could have an adverse impact and make you feel bad that you can’t strong-arm yourself into being happy. Only the Scandinavian languages have a word for happiness at work. In Danish, it’s called “arbejdsglaede.” Your happiness at work is up to you. No one can say “be happy” and it’s done.
However, your firm’s leadership can help create and foster a culture of happiness. Happiness at work doesn’t just happen. It takes effort and a supportive network.
EVERYONE’s VERSION OF HAPPINESS IS DIFFERENT
In our society, we equate happiness with accumulating wealth and all the accouterments, including expensive cars, fashionable clothes and exotic trips. Partying, eating often seen as being happy—in the moment. This ephemeral mindset makes you chase thrills that don’t last. Everyone’s version of happiness is different. It’s not a one size fits all. A smart approach is to view happiness as something organic that comes with doing what you love, being with people you care about, pursuing a meaningful passion, being treated with respect and dignity and avoiding comparing yourself to others. This doesn’t mean that you’re immune to the vicissitudes of life.
FOCUS ON POSITIVE LET THE NEGATIVE FADE AWAY
We’ve become so comfortable with advanced technology that enables us to use apps to get others to shop for our groceries, deliver food to our doorsteps, have people drive us around, buy things online and have them sent the same day and other apps that tend to almost all our needs. If you’re not mentally strong, any little glitch could cause you to feel angry.
It’s natural to feel sad and upset from time to time. When this happens, talk yourself through the challenging times. Recognize that the world is still a dangerous place and bad things happen to good people. Accept reality as you can’t change the world. Choose to be positive in the face of adversity and troubles. When negativity creeps into your head, you don’t have to listen or act on them.
Let them fade away. Process the thoughts, and move on.
HAPPINESS MAKES YOU STRONG
Happiness will help you stay strong in the worst of times, as it offers a mindset of finding meaning, even during the darkest hours. Those who had the best chance of survival were those whose lives had a bigger purpose. It could have been surviving to once again see a loved one. Frankl, quoting Nietzsche, said.
“He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”