Rediscovering sanity in the workplace
Employees in a depressed economy and labour environment often feel today that their life has become meaningless. Considering the fact that we spend 40 hours plus per week at our workplace, it is no surprise that what happens at work has a vast influence on our experience of the meaning of life. There is however a simple remedy to rediscover sanity in the workplace and experience our life again as meaningful and enjoyable.
When my father taught me to drive a car he would sit next to me and whenever my eyes would wander from the road he would slap me hard on my thigh. His sound reasoning for this was the thesis that where ever your eyes go, your hands follow. This is also applicable to our experience of life at work. Under difficult office conditions we tend to gripe about all that is wrong and problematic. If however we could shift the focus from what is wrong and toxic to what remains meaningful and enjoyable our whole experience will change. Your focus determines your wellbeing. It would also change the experience of co-workers and the work environment in general because we work in a system where a single small change effects the whole system. You can make the difference! How can we accomplish this?
Luc Isebaert of the Korzybski Institute in Brussels suggests “we can build happiness if we do things we can agree with and if we can find satisfaction in what we have. Why not take a few minutes every day to reflect on how you have been working to build happiness for yourself and for those around you? You might even like to write some of it down. Take a few minutes every so often whenever you feel like it to reflect on the following:
- What did I do today that I feel good about?
- What has someone else done that I am happy with? Did I react in such a way that this person will perhaps do something like that again?
- What do I see, hear, feel, smell, and taste that I like?”
We are often too hard on ourselves and too dependent on the positive feedback of our superiors. Focusing on our successes and competencies will amplify and reinforce what makes our work life and life in general worthwhile.
Noticing what others do that make you happy and reacting positively on it amplify to them what is meaningful and will reinforce more of the same in the future. One example of positive reinforcement is the writing of short, three sentence, notes of appreciation. It is told that part of the success of former chairman Donald Peterson who turned Ford Motors around in the 1980’s was the positive messages he jotted down to associates every day. “I’d just scribble them on a memo pad or the corner of a letter and pass them along.” I’m sure that you are creative enough to find many other ways of doing this. Remember to focus on what others did and how it positively affected you. Making others happy makes us happy too.
To focus on our reality through our senses helps us to be better grounded. There is more to life than the work we do and the cognitive activities that are required of us every day. A friend of mine often pastes on her Facebook things that happened to her on her way to work. She might share a photo of a beautiful sunrise that morning or a story of a smile of a fellow passenger on the Gautrain that affected her positively. What gives meaning to your life as experienced through your senses?