Happiness in Your Work Life

Impact
Motivation
Personal growth

27 August, 2019

David Murray describes a framework for finding and maintaining happiness in your work life and career.

Problem

Everybody looks at the world in a different light and happiness means many things to many different people. For me, my whole world has revolved around the intersection of business, technology, and the human experience. And after years of therapy and tons of personal struggle, I have landed on a repeatable, successful framework for how to live a happy life which can be directly applied to anyone's work life.

Actions taken

I call the model the "Happiness Triangle." The triangle consists of three components:

  • Pleasure: Hedonistic things like chocolate, sex, adrenaline, etc.
  • Meaning: You are making a difference in the world, making other people's lives better, and have some greater purpose in life.
  • Good Mood: This is about the concept of "flow" as taken from positive psychology. The idea that the level of difficulty equates to your level of mastery so that you are neither frustrated nor bored. At work, you must take pleasure in what you are doing. it is important to enjoy your work. Additionally, your work must serve a purpose that you feel passionate about. There are two paths to finding meaning and purpose for yourself at work. A) Delve heavy into the product side and get into the heart of what you are actually trying to solve for the user. B) Become a great people manager who nurtures and grows team members. Help them progress by shining light on their own happiness triangle. I also recommend engaging in mentorships so that you are a part of someone's journey and can observe their upward progression, Lastly, you want to be fully immersed, focused, and absorbed in the work that you are doing by getting into a state of flow. It's a mental state where you enjoy the activity that you are working on and feel excited about the work that you are doing to the point that time and space slip away. For me, my whole life is one big optimization problem around maximizing, as much as I can, the three areas of the triangle. Spend time reflecting on each area and acknowledge places where you are lacking so that your triangle is balanced and thriving.

Lessons learned

  • Finding your pleasure at work is a personal path. What interests you may not interest others and vice-versa. This is what makes us unique and usually why we were hired for a particular job.
  • In a work environment, where you get meaning and purpose is going to be vary from day to day. This is because you are working with clients, patients, customers, etc and their needs are going to change.
  • Be careful not to create a false sense of flow by focusing your energy in the wrong direction. Orient yourself in the right direction so that you are doing the right work, then allow yourself to flow.

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