How do you become happier (and stay happy) at work? According to this The Muse Article excerpt by Rebecca Beaton, it’s all about positive habits.
One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell us as children was the tale of the traveler and the three bricklayers.
In the story, the traveler meets the bricklayers, who are hard at work, and asks them what they’re doing.
The first man responds, “I’m laying bricks.”
The second man responds, “I’m building a church.”
The third man responds, enthusiastically, “I’m building a cathedral!”
Despite each of the bricklayers having the exact same job, their subjective experience varied significantly.
There’s a great takeaway from this parable. When we can see how what we’re doing fits into the whole—when we’re aware that each metaphorical “brick” we’re laying is contributing to something greater—we feel happiness and fulfillment.
And just like that enthusiastic bricklayer, we too can actively seek to find meaning in our work. The “why” behind what we’re doing isn’t always obvious or inherent, but it’s there, trust me.
A recent survey of over 2,000 American professionals across 26 industries found that employees experience more satisfaction at work when their jobs feel meaningful. The same survey found that raises and promotions are more common among employees who find their work meaningful; these workers also tend to be harder working and more productive.
These findings leave little room for doubt that actively finding purpose in our work every day is the single best thing we can do for our careers. But knowing this and actually applying it are two different things. That’s why we need to learn to exercise a little something I like to call the “meaningfulness habit.”
It works like this: Any time you’re starting a new task, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What meaning can I give to this task?”
Building on this habit, if we take a moment at each transition throughout the day to ask ourselves why we’re doing something before we do it, we can inject more meaning into the task at hand and make ourselves more motivated to complete it.
Not every task needs to be connected to world peace—it just needs to give you some positive feeling, identifiable with perhaps a slight smile, a sense of satisfaction, or a heightened ability to focus.
Read the full article here.
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