Work your way to happiness
Curt Rosengren on Passionate Work
What's the secret to happiness? Believe it or not, it's hard work. At least according to a group of Swedish researchers who studied published data on what makes hundreds of people happy.
Although being part of a good relationship through family, church, friends or work is definitely a key factor for happiness, they found that engaging in work that takes advantage of an individual's strengths and allows one to work toward a goal is what makes us feel most fulfilled.
Of course it has to be the right hard work. Breaking your back in the salt mines might be, well, back breaking work, but it's not likely to be a source of happiness. As the article points out:
There is one catch: It can't be any old job. If the work isn't challenging and a good match for a person's skills and intelligence, then work is demoralizing and has the opposite effect. 'From our research the people who were most active got the most joy,' lead researcher Dr. Bengt Bruelde explained to the BBC. 'It may sound tempting to relax on a beach, but if you do it for too long it stops being satisfying.'
I know that's definitely the case for me. I'm happiest when I have a nicely balanced work-buzz going. When I slow down too much, for too long, my energy starts to sag. That in turn leads me to be less inspired to do anything, which adds to further sagging energy. A bit of a downward spiral there.
But busy for the sake of busy doesn't do anything for me. It has to be busy working on something that inspires me and is moving toward a goal that is important to me.
How about you? When are you happiest?