Today, more and more people are relegated to jobs that they find less-than-satisfying, feeling as though they ought to be grateful in a time when unemployment is high. More than ever, people feel stuck and feel as though being miserable at work is a fact of life.
Although it may sound impossible to be happy at any job, no matter how ordinary it is, here are some tips into how anyone can cultivate happiness for themselves in the workplace from Srikumar S. Rao, the author of "Happiness at Work and Are You Ready to Succeed? Unconventional Strategies to Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life." Rao, who also blogs for The Huffington Post, has been challenging for years the notion that work and misery go hand in hand. His Creative and Personal Mastery Course has become wildly popular among MBAs, teaching them how to be happy both in business and in life.
1. Start focusing on the process, rather than the outcome.
"By all means, work toward a goal, but stop fretting about outcomes. They're beyond your control anyway. Invest in the process, not the outcome. Accept the outcome, whatever it is, as joyfully as you can. This becomes a new starting point for you."
2. Realize that passion comes from you, not from your job.
"Here is an immutable truth for you to ponder: Passion does not exist in the job. It exists in you -- and if you cannot ignite it within yourself right where you are now, you will never find it outside yourself."
3. Stop labeling events as 'good' or 'bad.'
Trying to "think positive" when a "bad thing" happens can be exhausting; "This takes energy and causes tension. It creates a tiny bit of stress, even as it dissipates the much larger stress caused by the 'bad thing.'" Rao asks, "But what if no 'bad thing' happens to you because you refuse to use that label? You no longer have to put a positive spin on whatever life gives you."
4. Realize that you are playing a role.
No matter what your title is at work, think of it as a role you play, whether that role is CEO or intern, "as long as you clearly recognize that you're playing that role, you're just fine." When you feel as though you are stuck, "you can set yourself free by recognizing that you're merely playing a role that you have identified with and shift your focus to who you really are."
5. Know how to let things go.
As babies, you did not carry burdensome events and emotions with you. "Babies know how to let things go. When they are angry, they are angry. When they are sad, they are sad. When they are finished playing with a toy, they are done with it. They don't carry anything around. Each thing that happens to them is something new to be experienced in the moment."
At work, we often carry past experiences with an unpleasant client or colleague with us, allowing the past to taint the present. Instead of going into an interaction expecting it to be unpleasant, "Expect that it will be delightful, and if it isn't, then let it go. Don't carry it over to the next time you meet."
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