My nephew is nearly 8 months old. We live 1600 miles apart from my brother and his family, but as a way of feeling closer, we chat each week via computer . We look forward to every Friday night because we get to see baby Chandler. His innocence is absolutely amazing—he never tries to hide what he is feeling and he is so happy. He is always smiling, laughing, and exploring because everything interests him. He loves to climb and crawl everywhere with a huge smile on his face because everything is new and exciting.
But as we grow up, things change. We become aware of others and we develop insecurities. What if we could keep that excitement about everyday things and experiences? The truth is that each day is filled with new experiences. As repetitive as jobs become they are still different from day to day, but as we become jaded to the monotony we fail to see the excitement each day.
By looking for the positives in each of our daily jobs, we will find wonder, challenges, and fulfillment. We will return to being a toddler, finding this excitement in everyday monotony. If we are struggling to find happiness on a daily basis, and we have lost our wonderment for the ordinary, how do we find that simple happiness again?
Self Awareness is knowing your self. It’s knowing how you feel, are you happy, are you sad, and why you feel the way that you do. Knowing your feelings is the first step towards continued happiness. While assessing your feelings, if you find that you have a negative emotion like anger, frustration, or sadness, then you will need to address that.
But how do you address a negative emotion? You do this by assessing critically what is causing the negative emotion. This is not as simple as it sounds. You must do a root cause analysis. Start by asking what bothers you. You may find its your job. But then you will need to dig deeper, what is it about your job that causes the negative emotion. Sometimes it is helpful to have a conversation with a coach or a mentor. It may go something like this:
“I am perpetually sad, tired and generally unhappy.”
Performance coach: “I’m so sorry to hear that, tell me more. What do you feel is the greatest contributing factor to your unhappiness?”
“I know that it’s my job, I just don’t find it fulfilling or exciting anymore.”
“What has changed? Is it the work itself, or the people or the product?”
“I think its all of it, but in general I really can’t stand my boss. He’s not friendly and he only focuses on our metrics and he doesn’t even do our job, so he doesn’t realize how frustrating the computer system can be. It’s silly really, doing what I do day in a day out I can think of 10 ways to make this place better, but they couldn’t care less about what I think.”
“Well you have identified a number of really important aspects here. Let’s unpack each one. You started by saying that your boss is the primary point of your unhappiness, and then you followed that pretty quickly by saying why. It sounds like you lack appreciation in your current job. You don’t feel that your voice is being heard. You have a number of ideas of ways that your current employment could be improved on. So you have now identified a number of reasons why you feel the way that you do. What you’ll need to do next is how to manage these feelings, and try and create a positive situation so that you can return to happiness.”
By speaking with a coach, a friend, a mentor, or just journaling about our emotions we can identify why we feel the way that we feel, and we can start to address the actual issues. Prior to this conversation the employee might have been subconsciously aware that there are 10 different things that could be improved on at work. But by doing this exercise they are now consciously aware of the actual reason for their discontent. Using this information in a positive way the employee might consider drafting an email or scheduling a meeting with their employer to discuss these issues. By being mindful, of their emotions they have identified what is causing the discontent and how to make it better. So instead of complaining to the employer the employee will bring tangible solutions to the discussion.
We started this brief journey talking about a baby and how they are always in tune with how they are feeling. It is clear how they are feeling as they don’t try and cover up their emotions. As we grow into adults, we have learned to bury our emotions. We have lost touch with understanding how and why we feel the way we do and we move away from happiness and positivity. The more mindful we can be of our emotions the more we can adjust and manage those emotions in a positive way so that we can continue to steer our ships with positivity.