WorkLife and Happiness

Happiness Is Linked to Motivation and People Are Often Happy When They’re Trying to Achieve Goals That Are Difficult but Not Out of Reach

Photo by Denny Muller on Unsplash

When Jack was five, one day, he asked me, “what’s the meaning of life and the purpose of meaning.” I was flabbergasted and hadn’t a clue how I was going to answer this. So I said, “what do you think it is?” Jack responded, “happiness.” He’s a genius, I thought (which, of course, he is). I asked what made him think that. “I saw it on the Simpsons”, he replied. Proving the old adage that wisdom can sometimes be found in the unlikeliest of places.

But what does happiness mean in the world of WorkLife? Well, of course, there’s no one definition, but there is a general consensus that the little things count and can make a difference.

Happiness is linked to motivation and in work-lives, people are often happy when they’re trying to achieve goals that are difficult but not out of reach.

Achieving happiness requires the same approach as training for a marathon. It’s’ not instant. It’s a gradual build-up of training that needs to be done consistently. Marathon runners will set targets to allow them to reach their ultimate goal of running the marathon. Happiness is like that.

Take, for example, Joan, whose workload was causing her to feel completely unhappy in her work, she couldn’t seem to stay on top of things, and as a result, she was working long hours, having little quality time with her husband and was constantly exhausted. Something had to shift, but it didn’t happen overnight.

She began by taking a lunch break, not a full hour but enough time to get out of the office, walk around the block to a nearby park and enjoy her lunch al fresco.

This small shift energised her for the afternoon, and once a week, her husband joined her, which reminded them of when they were dating and would often meet like this.

These small changes had a big impact on Joan’s happiness, and the solace she enjoyed helped her workload seem less daunting and more manageable.

I have a lot more to say on the subject of happiness and in the words of Arnie ‘I’ll be back’.

I first shared this story some years ago on my original, now-defunct blog: Evolving Careers Players. I’m sharing it again because I believe it’s as relevant today, and it was all those years ago.

Published by Carmel O' Reilly

Carmel O’ Reilly: WorkLife Learning Practitioner & Writer Author of WorkLife Book Club, Your WorkLife Your Way and The School of WorkLife book series. Created to help you manage your WorkLife Learning. Blogger & Podcaster: Telling people’s powerful stories about WorkLife challenges & successes Founder of My guiding statement is to help people pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, passion, purpose and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes that are accessible to everyone.