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Out of Our Minds
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 12:53 PM
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?


Janet Auty-Carlisle - 1/12/2006 9:02:23 AM
Hey Curt and Scott....The notion that we have to be happy at work all the time can create a lot of stress....There has to be a fine balance and Scott sounds like he has done a perfect job of it. Work hard at what you love and then you'll love relaxing hard too! It's impossible to be happy at work all the time but if you love what you do then it's easier to get over the speed bumps. I love my work as a coach. My favourite part is knowing that this profession can really help change perspectives which changes everything else. I also really love my contract work as a tribunal judge for the Employment Insurance Commission. Would I want to do that job full-time? No way, it's mired in red tape with no grey areas but I do love the work. So, when am I happiest? Like Scott, it's when I know that I have worked hard at a project and have taken the time to kick back....No salami, I'm vegetarian but Ben Harper sounds good to me! Living la vida fearless, Jan
HELLO, my name is Scott - 1/12/2006 8:14:53 AM
Wow, what a fantastic post. You gotta love a survey about what makes people happy. How interesting.

Most Happy Time For Me = Sitting at the beach on Saturday morning because I worked so damn hard all week and deserve to relax with a sandiwch and my ipod.

Preferrably salami and Ben Harper.


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