Statistics about unhappy employees vary significantly from 19% to 60% plus, as do the perceived reasons why. But even at 25%, independent of the reason, this is a significant number of people who spend most of their day engaged in stuff they do not enjoy.
As an example, according to Gallup Q12 survey, “26 percent of U.S. workers 18 or older are extremely satisfied with their work, 55 percent moderately satisfied, and 19 percent are dissatisfied by their work. That 19 percent represent 24.7 million U.S. workers who are not committed to their jobs, are working below their potential and don’t plan to be with the company in a year. They also miss more days of work and report having high negative stress.” [Dissatisfied workers: a multi-billion dollar industry. By John Burke, Bankrate.com]. That is, 74% not completely satisfied.
“It comes as no surprise to learn from a study published this week that, although Britons are twice as rich as they were in 1987, they are no happier,” according to The Telegraph!
Happiness is a simple equation!
It is my observation that apparently, we spend a large portion of our day involved in activities that do not give us pleasure and at worst give us great displeasure, and in an effort to justify this we do even more of what we do not enjoy to earn more money. Examples include overtime and taking on even more responsible roles in environments that make us very unhappy.
Of course we need that extra money to buy more of those things that “promise” to make us happy. Bigger car, bigger house, more houses, more cars, travel, more gadgets we do not need, branded fashion items that tell the world that we have made it, etc. These are just a few examples.
So the equation is simple. We spend our life in a viscous cycle, doing those things we do not enjoy to generate enough money to then do those things that have that allure of happiness, as marketed in movies, songs and those pesky product ads.
The equation is simple mathematics that patently points-out a better way. It goes like this:
Place all the excesses in your life on one side of the equation. Come-on you know what they are, I mentioned some of them above. Be absolutely merciless about this and no, you cannot hide that extra iPad mini when you already have the 2 previous generation iPads sitting in that drawer, include them! Once you have ruthlessly included everything that is not absolutely necessary in your life, (including travel), then sum the yearly costs of these and deduct them from your collective salaries of your household. Take a lower paying role that makes you happy. (See “Your passion and purpose” section below).
Yes, you might think this a naive concept, but stay with me, read on…
Statistics track perceived realities, which are not necessarily real!
There is much new understanding about family-of-origin and related psychology. Leaders like Pia Mellody and Shirley Smith have done a lot of good work in this area, that I believe are branches of Carl Jung’s work that also led to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a popular psychometric instrument. Jung considered individuation, the psychological process of integrating the opposites, including the conscious with the unconscious while still maintaining their relative autonomy, to be the central process of human development.
It is my view that statistics deal with the conscious. In statistics, people are asked for their views and on the basis of the results, conclusions are drawn. So, for example, if you ask an unhappy employee why they are unhappy, there is a high likelihood that the responses would include; not enough money, bad manager, company culture, etc… It is highly unlikely that they would respond, I am unhappy in this job and effectively most jobs in my career because I made a bad career choice, or because I am compromising myself for money. Probably you are thinking right now, what a whole lot of victim talk. Well maybe, but I beg to disagree.
Such is the brainwashing that goes-on from the early days of our lives, (effectively rail-roading a naturally perfect human being into an unhappy corporate creature), that in most cases, we unconsciously follow the beaten path and subconsciously hate most of our existence. Because it is subconscious, we are not aware of it and merely see the symptoms such as, depression, suicide, alcoholism, addiction, crime, etc. But even then, we make the person wrong, give them drugs or lock-them up and pretend all is OK. Again, this is all happening at a subconscious level and we are not aware of this pretense and our Ego (conscious self) feels OK about itself.
Your passion and purpose
But don’t despair, there is a better way. Back to our simplistic and even naive equation above. For it is easy to postulate that there is a better way without recommending options/visions. Play along with me for a while, even humor me.
In my introduction, I suggested that in your equation, you should eliminate any non-essential expenses including travel, luxury cars, etc… Now here is the clincher.
It is simple but not easy!
The trick is to separate your passion from your Ego stroking. What I mean is in those things that you found so difficult to remove from that equation to bring your costs down, which are the ones that are truly your passion. How do you know? Those things that are truly your passion, give you that beautiful childlike warmth, you smile when you think of them. Your whole being lightens-up when you think about them. They are not about how others see you (Ego), they are about how you feel inside, independent whether others know about it. Once you have found that gem(s), engage yourself in them, whole-heartedly. It gets even more challenging,; you might get a sense of guilt (as if you do not deserve these little luxuries) and often, this sabotages our life and keeps us slave to our corporate-centric existence. But stick to it. Talk about it with those people who you know will support this part of you. Engage with people and associations that are aligned with your passion. Do it for more than 30 days in a row, independent of what “noise” comes-up to distract you. When you start doubting yourself, make a few calls to those that support you. Fake it till you make it.
For example, if Travel is your thing, do research as if you are going travelling. Start a Blog. Give free advise to friends. Join online travel sites that require feedback and write your thoughts.
Eventually, it will become your new normality. Before you know it, it might even become your new line of work. It might even mean you have to give-up your day job… Who knows. Have faith.
Is that what you really want for your kids, or is that your fear that you are imposing on your kids?
Reading this, parents will certainly feel a level of dismay, even anger that somebody would consider suggesting, in an article aimed at Leaders, that we should eliminate basic luxuries and consider earning less! “And how do I pay for my children’s education” I hear you say in exasperation. “I have to give my kids the best education money can buy if they stand a chance in this cut-throat life we live in!” you might add. Well you might not say these exact words, but if you do or even if you feel this type of sentiment, consider the last statement in quotes. Is that what we are training our kids for? Is this really the best future we can hope for, for our kids, the next generation. Or is this extreme focus on “education” coming from our fears. Again, unfortunately this happens at a subconscious level. At a conscious level we are thinking that this is the best future we can plot for our kids, logically! We love our kids and want the best for them. Get in touch with that childlike voice inside you; the one that knows where your passion lies and ask that voice, what the real future you wish for your kids looks like. I am sure the answer will be something like, “I want my kids to have a happy, fulfilled life, full of everything they desire”.
But then, immediately, fear comes-up, Ego takes over with statements like, “Grow-up, this is not real, this is just a romantic childish notion”.
Childish is not the same as childlike. Childlike is our passion and purpose. Childish is the fear that requires to build that Ego that protects us in this big bad world. I just remind you that most of the Leaders we have come to admire are high-school drop-outs; Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, etc… They just followed their childlike passion! Isn’t that what you want for your kids, abundant happiness and financial abundance… And that might well be a corporate career or not! Either way, as long as thet innate passion and purpose is respected and encouraged, the objective is achieved.
Now let’s get honest
OK, we all want to be seen to be successful, right? Wrong! This is the crux and the answer.
The need for external promotion of “I have a Mercedes (and I am not knocking car-lovers, it is my passion too), so I am successful,” is actually a camouflage for insecurity and fear. Fear is at the base of Ego. The opposite of Ego is purpose and passion. When one is in their purpose and passion and as Sir Ken Robinson calls it, our Element, one does not need to externally promote how successful one is. One just is! In our Element, we are happy, content, complete and those around us see it, feel it and benefit from it. The alternative is what society seems to have chosen; to be a slave of the tax system and those banks that continue to rob your money away.
As a Leader, whether that is a Leader of an organisation or a mum, it is your responsibility to act now to bring real lasting happiness to yourself, your organisation or your family.
In our definition, Leaders are those that create Leaders and Leadership starts with one owning the responsibility of taking a Lead in their own life! Whether you know it or not, you are a Leader! Leaders exist in all walks of life. They are mothers, CEOs, volunteers, spiritualists, care-givers, receptionists, and the list goes on. However not all these role players are Leaders.
Last modified: April 12, 2018