Today I want to give you some ideas about how to transform work into a meaningful activity that makes you happy. And I want to thank Hört auf zu arbeiten!And I want to thank Anja Förster and Peter Kreuz for writing the very inspiring book “Hört auf zu arbeiten! Eine Anstiftung, das zu tun, was wirklich zählt” (in English it would be like “Stop to work! A call to do the things that really count/are really meaningful”).
At first, I want to show you an image I drawed to illustrate the central idea of a meaningful activity:
As you can see in the image, bad work is working from nine to five for a handful of bucks. It is important to know that bad work is different for everybody: If you hate doing something, see no sense in doing something or nobody recognizes your work you hate to do, then it is probably bad work for you.
Good work means that you work from nine to five for a good amount of bucks and other people recognize what you are doing. But you do not follow your personal aims and so you never get happy while you are working. You only do what others expect you to do and do not add any individual input to your work which makes you replacable, sorry to say so!
If you do your own thing, e.g. have had a great idea (at least you thought so) and now you try to sell never-stinking sport socks, there is a big risk that you will not succeed and this lack of social recognition will make you sad even if you are exactly doing what you always wanted to do.
So you can transform your work into a meaningful activity, if you do follow your personal aims but also do what others expect you to do. I think it is quite often the case that you can decide between 1) exactly giving a “customer” (a person that wants you to get some work done) what he or she wants and 2) using your personal knowledge and experience to give the customer the best that meets his/her expectation and maybe even amazes him/her. 1) is good work but 2) can become a meaningful activity that makes you happy while doing it. So poor news, you will not get happy working that fast, it is hard mental work to get there!
But don’t worry, you’re not alone! I will ask you some key questions now and if you find the answers for yourself, you can already start the mental work. And if you don’t make it or wonder how to do something, just ask me in the comment section and I will give my best to help you.
Key questions to answer for yourself are:
- What are my personal aims?
- What are things that I like to do?
- What are things that I don’t like to do?
- What am I good at?
- What am I bad at and do I want to change something about it?
- When do I feel happy?
- What is it then that makes me feel happy?
- Is there any chance to trigger the reason for that happiness more often (e.g. by changing your workplace, join your working place community (or found it) or invest more time in a particular spare time activity)?
- When do I wish to change something and why do I think this change is impossible instead of trying to go for the change?
- When do I blame others and could I not do something about solving the problem myself if it is that important to me?
Ten questions, maybe ten that are hard to answer. Maybe you just give yourself twenty minutes and take some notes to answer the questions? Don’t think too much about a special answer, just write what comes into your mind and repeat the exercise some times until you think that you really answered all questions for now. And a great thing would be if you posted some of your answers and what you with them. You know, social recognition is a key to a meaningful activity…
So much for now, let me know what you think and have a great day!
May the force be with you,