How to be happier at work

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the mystery keys on how to be happier at work? Well actually, it’s not that big of a mystery but it does require effort and sometimes even change to get there. It’s great to see companies like Google taking the lead on moving happiness in the workplace into the agenda. After all, on average, we spend around 50% of our awake time at work – so wouldn’t it be nice if this time was spent being happy?

Google’s chief happiness officer, Chade-Meng Tan, recently shared his ideas on how to be happier at work. In fact, he created a course, “Search Inside Yourself”, which he’s been teaching at Google for 5 years now. So what are his top tips from his course?

Tan’s top 3 tips on how to be happier at work

  1. Learn inner calm. Keeping a calm and clear mind on demand in today’s stressful workplaces is crucial. The deeper you can dig within yourself, the easier it will be to find this. He talks about learning mindfulness that really trains our attention to stabilize. Try short snippets of daily meditation by focusing on 3 slow breaths every now and then  (or even 1).
  2. Increase emotional resilience. In order to move forward we need to challenge things, take risks, innovate. This will sometimes lead to failures which we need to be able to bounce back from. Recognise failure is a physical experience (whatever your physical symptoms are, like tightness in chest, lack of energy) and learn to let it go through mindful breathing. Calming the mind will calm the body – let go of the negative physical sensations as they are simply an experience. If you let them come in and go out, gently and calmly, you’ll also learn to deal with stress better.
  3. Develop the habit of wishing success for others. Find your success through helping others succeed. This will make them much more likely to want to work with you. Create a mental habit so that every time you see someone, your first thought is “I want this person to be happy”.

If you want to explore this in more detail, you can read his book on the course – I definitely will! He also mentioned the importance of this in leaders and entrepreneurs so they can inspire those around them into greatness.

It is the ambitious and humble entrepreneurs and leaders that can propel their companies into greatness. Their ambition is for the greater good, not for themselves. This type of leader is very effective in a start-up, where you want to inspire everybody. That’s why the best skill a start-up leader can learn is compassion.


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