We don’t need to convince you that being happy has more benefits than you can poke a stick at. Countless studies have shown that happiness is directly correlated with better health and a longer life, better relationships, success, productivity, and creativity. For businesses, it means higher staff engagement and loyalty, and better results in profitability. Ultimately, the pursuit of happiness is what drives most people. Though most people don’t realise that happiness is an input of success, not an output.
Studies and data, however, can’t account for the vast number of different ways in which we measure and define happiness. Consider the things that make you happiest. What does your list look like? Is it comprised mostly of external or environmental factors that you rely on, or intrinsic values? Is it things that bring short term happiness, or contribute to sustainable, long term contentment? Which avenues do you choose to follow, and what exactly does that happiness look like?
There are many sources of happiness that could be defined as hedonistic: trying to have as much pleasure as possible whilst minimising pain. Unfortunately it’s not sustainable, and it’s all too easy to fall into the trap of needing more and more hits of dopamine to keep that short term happy feeling coming. In the workplace especially, this is virtually impossible to manage and maintain. While it’s important to have some of these happiness sources in your life and workplace, ultimately long term happiness comes from a slow-burning, sustainable greater purpose. It comes from having meaning.
Seeking fulfilment, or striving for a purpose doesn’t have the immediate gratification of short-term happiness and in many cases, requires some of the struggle and pain that we’re so inclined to avoid, making it much more difficult to be motivated for. Often, it involves sacrificing some of life’s pleasures altogether – however, the sense of achievement that it brings is what drives fulfilment and, most importantly, meaning. This can be likened to achievements such as climbing a mountain or learning a new skill, where obstacles and struggles eventually lead to joy and meaning that’s difficult to rival. In an environment where you spend 40+ hours a week, the type of happiness you aspire to can make a critical difference to your life.
Author: Rise Team